Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 22 July 2014

At least Piers Morgan was never afraid to give US gun lobby both barrels Firing line: Piers Morgan

Piers Morgan whose prime time talk show on US TV network CNN is set to end

Piers Morgan's CNN chat show has, to use the verb of choice in most media reports, been axed. Should that not more correctly be "gunned down"? Formerly of Fleet Street, Morgan made his name and his mark on America as that Brit guy calling for gun control.

Love him or hate him (according to one commentator there are only two opinions on Morgan in the UK: "Some people despise him. And the rest really despise him"), you have to concede that taking on the powerful US gun lobby was both brave and principled. If a little foolhardy.

Morgan may well have felt he had right on his side (a conviction that would surely have been bolstered every time another horrific mass shooting hit the headlines) but he must also have known that his stance was not exactly endearing him to a very large and very influential section of American society.

The US devotion to the "right to bear arms" may seem baffling, grotesque even, in European eyes. But, to use that phrase we bandy about so much in this part of the world, it's part of their culture. Change, you imagine, is more likely to come from within American society. Nobody wants an outsider lecturing them on what they should be doing.

And Morgan is a particularly gobby outsider. An Englishman who talks (and tweets) cricket and what the Americans know as soccer. An Englishman who isn't behind the door at pointing out the horrendous price America pays annually for its continuing romance with heavy grade weaponry in a domestic setting.

It's doubtful he has actually changed many minds in that respect during his CNN residency. But he has, at least, been bold enough to hold up a mirror to the Western world's most tooled-up nation regarding the terrible damage its crazy gun laws have (self-) inflicted upon the American people.

And for a measure of the craziness, you need look no further than the recently-launched, snappily-named, Radically Invasive Projectile. Or as it is affectionately known by its US manufacturers G2 Research – the R.I.P. Bullet.

The RIP is being aimed (if that's the right word) at female gun owners. And, no, it isn't pink ...

The sales pitch is that a woman home alone facing an intruder might, using a lesser projectile, be forced to fire off several rounds before she takes out her would-be assailant. Her trusty firearm loaded with RIPs, however, she need only hit once.

A video of the damage the RIP can inflict demonstrates how the bullet's "trocar" edges are strong enough to cut through even sheet metal.

One review describes the bullet's performance as "devastating" (they mean that in a good sense). The reviewer comments enthusiastically: "With one shot from the RIP Ammo a melon literally disintegrated, blowing pieces as far away as 40ft from the point of impact. The piece that was blown furthest away landed behind the shooter. The force of this bullet is explosive to say the least."

He argues: "It is difficult to imagine a scenario in which firing this bullet will not save women's lives when they come under attack by predators seeking easy prey."

You're also tempted to add – look out, the milkman! For what if a genuine mistake is made? More pertinently what about when (not if) this stuff gets into the hands of the next deranged youth targeting children in the local school? And the RIP, remember, is just one weapons option available in the US in a store near you ...

Piers Morgan isn't a saint. He has many faults (not least arrogance) and he's certainly in no immediate danger of being filed under national treasure either over there or back here. Twitter is currently wall-to-wall with tittering at his fall from prime time.

But where a cannier TV import hoping to ingratiate himself with the US viewing public might have sucked-up to, or at least been less vocal in castigating the mighty gun lobby, Morgan deserves credit for figuratively giving them both barrels.

His enemies may gloat that in the end he has not exactly gone out with all guns blazing.

They miss the point. That actually is his triumph.

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