Yesterday, the liberal blog Gawker published a picture taken from Redditt, the forum-based website and self-proclaimed “front page of the Internet,” with a headline promising that it was an image of the “most terrifying thing on the Internet.”
The picture was of an AR-15 rifle with an engraving of Reddit’s alien logo. Gawker’s full headline read: “‘Reddit Assault Rifle’ Is The Most Terrifying Thing On The Internet and It’s For Sale on Reddit Right Now.”
The “most terrifying thing on the Internet.”
To be fair — despite Gawker’s alarmist headline — it is unlikely that Adrian Chen, the man responsible for the post, wet his pants when he saw the picture. Nor is it likely that Chen really believes a photo of an inanimate object is more terrifying than the searchable famine, carnage, abuse and depravity at the fingertips of most any Internet user in the United States. What’s more likely and is demonstrated further down the page in Chen’s post is that he is among the shrieking left — most members of which have probably never been in the same room with a gun that wasn’t in a cop’s holster — that see guns as killing machines that belong only in the hands of government officials.
Reddit’s logo is engraved on the rifle receiver.
From the post:
Reddit’s gun-swapping board, /r/Gunsforsale, is a little-known section of Reddit which nonetheless boasts over 3,000 subscribers and a daily rotation of firearms listsings. Unsurprisingly, the libertarian-leaning Reddit has a strong gun culture, anchored by the /r/guns subreddit, with over 100,000 subscribers. This has earned the ire of some anti-gun Redditors, who have appealed to administrators to ban gun sales on Reddit in the wake of the Newtown massacre. This hasn’t happened, yet. We know how Reddit administrators feel about the 1st amendment; we may soon learn their thoughts on the 2nd.
Chen is decrying the fact that the Reddit section, which allows for private, legal transfer of a good between citizens, is exemplary of the much-ballyhooed gun show loophole because it allows for a gun to be sold or bought without a background check. Libertarian-leaning Reddit has made very clear in the past that the site values freedom of speech. But it remains to be seen whether the site will give in to the same pressure that many other organizations have and distance itself from guns at all costs.