In this particular tale of media hit job turned embarrassment, we have what might be one of the best public displays of gun ignorance presented as fact I’ve ever seen. The only things missing are a barrel shroud and a couple rounds of rubber bullets.

Gizmodo reporter Wes Siler thought he’d pegged Republican Presidential Candidate Senator Ted Cruz as a gun safety hypocrite.

Last weekend, the Junior Senator from the Lone Star State went pheasant hunting. Note the unloaded, break-action shotgun resting on Cruz’s shoulder.

And yet, Siler ran with:

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But it gets better. Or worse, depending on how you view these things. Siler then proceeded to explain how Sen. Cruz was violating two rules of gun safety.

WARNING: Swallow your drink before reading, lest your belly laughing cause you to muck up your screen:

Staunch gun rights advocate Ted Cruz is here seen holding a shotgun while being interviewed by CNN. Can you see what he’s doing wrong? That’s right, he’s violating the first two rules of gun safety.

Then, Siler recited the cardinal rules of gun safety, though we’re not entirely sure what they have to do with applying for hunting licenses:

When you learn to shoot, apply for a hunting or carry license and any time you’re at a gun range, there’s four basic rules of gun safety that — and this is impressed on you very strongly — must be observed at all times:

1. Treat all guns as if they are loaded.
2. Never point a firearm at something you’re not willing to destroy.
3. Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.
4. Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.

“You don’t say…” — Everyone who’s grown up with firearms. Mind you, we’re still not sure what Cruz has done wrong here.

But Siler is about to tell us. To illustrate the proper way to cary a shotgun, Siler posted this pic of himself turkey hunting:

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And then continued:

With an unknown number of people in front and presumably to his sides, the best way to carry his gun in this particular case would be to hold it sideways, low and pointed down.

Oooooorrrrrr, just spitballing here, the shotgun is obviously not loaded, clearly not cocked, there’s literally no way for it to fire at anything, nor is Cruz’s hand anywhere close to the trigger. So maybe, just maybe, Cruz is not in fact violating the Sacred Gun Code.

So what’s the point? As such an outspoken gun rights advocate, Cruz should also consider himself an ambassador for gun safety, particularly when choosing to make a national TV appearance while carrying one.

“He’s either a poser who doesn’t really hunt, or just a blindingly dangerous nincompoop,” concludes Scott. “He’s got moves like Cheney.”

“Cheney-esque nincompoop.” I believe this is what we call “projection.”

I almost feel bad for Siler, except that rule number one of writing things on the Internet is (or should be): Under no circumstances should you ever take on a subject in which you are ill informed. But rules be damned.

The silver lining here? At least Ryan Reilly and his rubber bullets are now in good company.

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