This is called a pacifier:
This is an inaccurate moniker. It should be called a silencer. It is used to silence babies and small children. They do not become pacified. Their mouths become occupied, but their heart rates do not necessarily slow. Actually it allows them to more acutely focus on the perceived danger. Awareness increases.
This is called, colloquially, a silencer:
It should be called a pacifier. Its function is to make a gunshot sound like something other than a gunshot. It is used to pacify people who would otherwise be made aware of and react to danger by convincing them the danger may not be as immediate or significant. It certainly does not make the gunshot silent.
When asked about the use of the silencer in the recent Virginia Beach shootings, a retired FBI agent said that a silencer “does not alter the lethality of the weapon at all. All it does is . . . make it more comfortable to shoot because it’s not so loud.” A survivor of the shooting offered a different perspective, saying the noise sounded more akin to a nail gun, a weapon possessing decidedly less lethality than a .45 caliber semiautomatic handgun with an extended magazine. Accordingly she was unable to appropriately react because the perceived danger was less immediate and significant than the actual danger. She was effectively pacified.
It seems there is a debate going on now about whether or not these devices could have contributed to the killer’s ability to kill, at least according to the plethora of copycat headlines mimicking the Washington Post’s. This is a stupid debate to get drawn into. It acknowledges another possible interpretation of the events, when there isn’t one. Equally worth debating: did the bullets kill all the victims, or did they all happen to suffer sudden and spontaneous heart failure at the moment the bullets entered their bodies?
Oh but my ears hurt sometimes after I shoot off my gun-guns! I want my dangerous hobbytime to be less dangerous, shut up.
Also for some reason my kids exhibit significant traumatic responses when I take them to the gun range, and I want to make it less scary for them! I want to make them less afraid of these tools for the efficient and painful removal of their god-given freewill to possess working heart muscles, to breathe their own breaths.
Shut up, shut up, shut up.
Actually, here, look, I planted a tree for you.
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