16:28 GMT17 February 2020
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    The New York Times has published its own investigation claiming that the weapons used in the biggest mass shootings over the past decade had been purchased via credit cards. Sputnik has discussed the report with Jon Stokes, a deputy editor at ThePrepared.com, and a contributing editor to TheFirearmblog.com.

    Sputnik: What do you make of giant media outlet like the New York Times targeting banks and payment networks on regulating the sale if legal goods and services? 

    Jon Stokes: We’re at a point in the evolution of digital media where the classic 80/20, winner-takes-most dynamic is setting in. People can only afford to subscribe to a few outlets, so they maximize their value by picking a few big ones, which means there are a few large publications, like the NYT, WaPo and a handful of others that are taking most of the subscription money out there. This leaves the media more dangerously centralized, as a few big outlets grow and many smaller and local outlets go out of business.

    Sputnik: So for one of these large, central media players to insist that a financial system that’s even further down the road to centralization begin eliminating lawful commerce that it doesn’t like — it’s really ugly.

    Jon Stokes: I’d feel differently about it if this were 20 years ago and the NYT had less relative clout, even on Wall Street. But it’s 2018 and so many outlets that aren’t pro-surveillance and pro-Big Finance and who don’t share this view have gone under.

    Sputnik: In your view, can calling on the financial system to regulate this lead to a wider surveillance system?

    Jon Stokes: It’s not just my view that this would lead to wider surveillance, it’s explicitly what the article is calling for. He’s asking for more surveillance of lawful commerce, ostensibly in the name of fighting “terrorism” but really it’s an assault on a whole culture — the culture of armed citizens — that he doesn’t like.

    READ MORE: US Fails to Take Care of PTSD-Stricken Veterans Amid 'Epidemic' of Mass Shooting

    He’s smart enough not to fool himself that this stuff will have any impact on the already statistically insignificant number of active shooter deaths. He just wants to make it harder and more risky to be a gun owner, under the assumption that this will somehow magically cut down on the number of guns that are used illegally.

    Sputnik: You noted that the author of the article wants to treat gun owners and gun buyers like terrorists. What consequences can statements like that have on lawful gun owners?

    Jon Stokes: This is just part of an effort to stigmatize gun ownership that has been going on for a very long time. Gun owners are used to being called terrorists and having the main pro-gun rights org, the NRA, called a “terrorist organization.” That’s nothing new, and in the richer, more diverse media environments of years gone by we’ve been able to push back on this smear campaign effectively.

    My worry, though, is that with the media as centralized and geographically concentrated on the coasts as it is, and with the massive loss of local outlets in different cities with different values and voices, it’s going to be a lot harder to get outside of the story out there to combat these smear tactics.

    The views and opinions expressed by the speaker do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

     

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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