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HuffPo reporter mistakes foam earplugs in Ferguson, MO, for rubber bullets

HuffPo reporter mistakes foam earplugs in Ferguson, MO, for rubber bullets

It happens to all of us. Well, maybe not all of us.

In today’s edition of “He Can’t Possibly Be Serious,” we present Ryan J. Reilly, Justice Reporter for the Huffington Post, in a random act of serious journalism (h/t Instapundit):

[image added]

Stop it.

Those, of course, are not rubber bullets. Those are (assault!) earplugs, which have both the consistency and lethality of a marshmallow.

To be fair to Reilly, he’s done some decent reporting both for HuffPo and on Twitter on the race riots in Ferguson, Missouri. Reilly, along with several other reporters, was arrested after police officers made the call to close an area McDonald’s due to the rampant street violence.


When he didn’t leave quickly enough, Reilly said, he was roughed up by an officer and subsequently arrested.

“You know you always see cops yelling, ‘stop resisting, stop resisting,’ and that’s something that happened here — but I wasn’t resisting,” Reilly said. “This is just something that these cops yelled no matter what you were doing. I let my arms go limp … wasn’t trying to resist anything.”

Fortunately for Reilly, the internet quickly alerted him to the fact that there’s no such thing as an assault earplug, and he responded in kind:

Whether he meant to or not, Reilly showed with his ill-informed tweet just how easy it is for a member of the mainstream media to make a critical error while reporting in the moment.

This was, of course, a stupid mistake, but what if it hadn’t been? What if he had mistweeted about the actions of a police officer, or about what weapons were or were not being used in the streets?

Which brings us to one of our favorite Branco cartoons:


Using Twitter to live tweet seriously dangerous situations—like what’s happening to the people in Ferguson right now—is both useful and risky. We follow journalists on Twitter knowing to trust but verify, but in the heat of the moment, an error like the one Reilly made could have serious consequences.

We would all do well to remember that.


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As I remember from photographs of the police at the site, they have a powerful sonic weapon designed for crowd control that can be very dangerous to an innocent bystander’s hearing. Anybody at the site (not just rioters) would be smart to carry a half-dozen or so of these earplugs in case the police get a little indiscriminate with their toys.

BannedbytheGuardian | August 17, 2014 at 9:01 pm

Load load up load up , Rubber Bullets …(. 10cc) .

Sorry I don’t know any songs about foam ear plugs .

    MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to BannedbytheGuardian. | August 17, 2014 at 9:31 pm

    Hey I posted a link on TCTH to a youtube video of Rubber Bullets.
    Favorite part ( done in a sort of falsetto ):
    “I love to hear those convicts squeal
    It’s a shame these slugs ain’t real”

I replied telling him they were condoms for reporters.
got no reply…

    you beat me to the line about the condoms, because I was going to make a remark that they look more like condoms for Leprechauns than rubber bullets.

      PersonFromPorlock in reply to Aussie. | August 18, 2014 at 9:39 am

      I suggested condoms for pixies: apparently low minds wallow in the same ditch.

      But – to tell the truth, I didn’t know what rubber bullets look like, either, until I used Google Image. Lazy work on the reporter’s part, but his ignorance wasn’t entirely risible.

They send completely uninformed “journalists” to “report” the “news,” and wonder why we hold their “reporting” in contempt.

–Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

    Ragspierre in reply to Andrew Branca. | August 17, 2014 at 9:29 pm

    Oh, hell, Andrew, they KNOW why we hold their “reporting” in contempt, and blithering ignorance is kinda down the list from the BIGGIES…!!!

    What’s funny to me is that this know-nothing went to the “cloud” for information, when he coulda used a search engine and avoided broadcast this level of stupid to everyone on the planet.

    Anchovy in reply to Andrew Branca. | August 17, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    Well they obviously are large caliber, high power, automatic assault earplugs.

      Ragspierre in reply to Anchovy. | August 17, 2014 at 9:33 pm

      …militarized…(spoken in the mode of Lisa Simpson explaining the velvet rope to Homer).

      m11_9 in reply to Anchovy. | August 17, 2014 at 9:36 pm

      I think it would be painful to get shot by a 12 gauge shell loaded with earplugs. Should qualify as non-lethal force.

        MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to m11_9. | August 17, 2014 at 9:59 pm

        Would that be the same as being shot with Silly Putty ( a nonnewtonian fluid )?

        I saw a youtube video that stuff is nasty.

          Phillep Harding in reply to MouseTheLuckyDog. | August 18, 2014 at 12:37 pm

          Considering Silly Putty hardens under impact, I’d much rather get hit with ear plugs, such as those hanging from my neck right now.

          Gremlin1974 in reply to MouseTheLuckyDog. | August 18, 2014 at 11:31 pm

          The one that looked like it would hurt the worst to me of the…..”non-conventional non-lethal shotgun loads”…Yea that works was the wax loads, freaking ouch.

      walls in reply to Anchovy. | August 17, 2014 at 10:32 pm

      Any laws against having more than 10 earplugs to the magazine cartridge, er, box?

    MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to Andrew Branca. | August 17, 2014 at 10:01 pm

    While you are here, I think many people would like an opinion on the admissibility of the person caught describing the incident to someone else on that video.

      Ragspierre in reply to MouseTheLuckyDog. | August 17, 2014 at 10:09 pm

      Not to short-stop Andrew, but that would come in as a present sense impression, almost surely. It’s an exception to hearsay.

        I thought that hearsay was supposed to be when the evidence is second hand. The comments from the person in the background to me, do not sound like they fit the category of hearsay. I await your comment Rags on my understanding of the subject (which is certainly not from someone with a legal background)

          Ragspierre in reply to Aussie. | August 17, 2014 at 10:43 pm

          The hearsay rule varies a little from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but generally runs something like…

          An out of court statement introduced to prove the truth of the matter asserted.

          And those may not be all the magic words, but that is the gist.

          So, LOTS of things can be hearsay, including recordings one attempts to admit as evidence without laying the proper predicate (where someone, usually an expert but sometimes a fact witnesses sponsors the exhibit).

          But there are several exceptions to the hearsay rule, one being the one I mentioned. Another one I commonly use is the business records exception, which includes things like checks.

          thank you Rags because this helps us to understand why some things are “hearsay”…..

        Insufficiently Sensitive in reply to Ragspierre. | August 17, 2014 at 10:46 pm

        The comments from the person in the background to me, do not sound like they fit the category of hearsay.

        Except when he’s describing what he sees before him (and we can see in the video), he’s talking about what someone else said to him about the shooting – which appears to be classic hearsay to me.

        If testimony is needed, find the guy who said the words the video voice is describing.

    PersonFromPorlock in reply to Andrew Branca. | August 18, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    To be fair, the only firearm fact literary types are required to know is that the difference between a .44 Magnum and a tac nuke can be overcome by handloading.

    Gremlin1974 in reply to Andrew Branca. | August 18, 2014 at 11:29 pm

    I will say this, at least he was asking a question. If it had been the same ones that “modified” the Zimmerman 911 tape, they would have just airbrushed in a bunch of rubber shot.

He should at least be able to spell “Ferguson”.

This guy needs to get out. I mean, it’s one thing to not know what a rubber bullet looks like, but had he ever been to a show?

MouseTheLuckyDog | August 17, 2014 at 10:35 pm

Well it looks like Chief Metermaid’s reign is running true to form tonight. The employees at a McDonald’s have locked themselves in a store room to protect themselves from rioters. Shots fired at the QT.

MouseTheLuckyDog | August 17, 2014 at 10:53 pm

They must really hate pizza over there. Two nights ago the roof of a Domino’s was set on fire, now they are looting a PapJohns.

the thing that struck me about this is that it shows the level of knowledge that many prog drones have with respect to firarms, which is to say they don’t know fuck-all about them. yet they squeel like little pansy bitches and want to take mine away from me?

Since I have to wear hearing protection on a regular basis, I want to state for the record that that particular style is, for me, the most comfortable to wear for extended periods.

I had to contain hysterical laughter when I saw them identified as rubber bullets.

MouseTheLuckyDog | August 17, 2014 at 11:57 pm

From Reddit Live Feed:
Also a second 3 vehicle accident involving a bus in the area, with occupants of the bus now fighting.

    Sanddog in reply to Ragspierre. | August 18, 2014 at 1:41 am

    pandering to the crowd only reinforces their behavior.

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Ragspierre. | August 18, 2014 at 1:47 am

    He should have been fired on the spot. He’s not wearing a uniform, he’s wearing his skin color. His speech and conduct have been outrageous. He’s just another race-baiting whore and the people of MO are being forced to pay his salary.

So, the NYT says it took at least six non rubber bullets to drop our Goon of the Month, the last of which was the head shot that cancelled his act.

So yeah, this raging barbarian was no danger at all, not even a smidgen!

I thought the police were headed back to heavier caliber handguns for precisely this reason–the 9mm/.40 cals just don’t have the stopping power, any more than our ridiculous .223 pop guns could do the job in Iraq.

Can’t wait for lil Mike’s tox screen–even with the kinder, gentler lead loads, to take that much punishment and keep coming he was probably more hopped up than the Moros that inspired John Browning to invent the 1911 in the first place.

    Sanddog in reply to bildung. | August 18, 2014 at 1:40 am

    Contrary to popular belief, a .45 is not a “man stopper”. With his body mass and the fact that either the cop was shooting left or Brown was leading with his right side, none of the body shots were incapacitating. Had his shot placement been better, the head shots might not have been necessary. I doubt the results would have been any different if he’d been shooting .45. My personal preference is .357 sig or 9mm.

      JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Sanddog. | August 18, 2014 at 1:59 am

      It would take repetitive fire power to bring that thing down unless the first shot is very well placed or very lucky.

      If the choice is 9mm or .357, .357 is the way to go.

        I suppose if you were firing a .357 revolver you would have been breathing a VERY HEAVY sigh of relief after that sixth shot dropped him. I, on the other hand, would have 10 rounds to go in my trusty Beretta 9mm.

    Gremlin1974 in reply to bildung. | August 18, 2014 at 11:38 pm

    Actually, .40 cal stopping power is very dependent upon ammunition. Heck even today with good self defense loads 9mm’s are extremely lethal shot for shot, but you have to be willing to either hand load or pay for the good loads. My 3 carry guns (I rotate) are a .380, a .40, and a .45 and I have complete confidence that even that little .380 will do the job with little worry.

PS: no shots to the back either, as stated by the lying co-felon.

Which means the rest of this Johnson fellow’s account is a lie too–you know, the part about hands up and stop shooting and all that.

My son sent me this in response to my facebook posting of the earplugs. Didn’t take long for a photoshop of a fully automatic earplug weapon to appear.

They might be hollow-point armor-piercing rubber bullets.

Fired from a high magazine clip automatic weapon with a shoulder thing that goes up.

You never know. Well, not if you’re an ignorant pants-wetting hoplophobic liberal you don’t.

I was kind of hoping Andrew might have some insight into the shot-placement from the autopsy.

They suggest to me poor but consistent trigger control OR the guy was presenting himself quartering-on. Hard to know yet.

    Walker Evans in reply to Ragspierre. | August 19, 2014 at 1:50 am

    Shot placement suggests to me that he was “death-gripping” with the right hand, which tends to pull the muzzle to the left if the trigger is jerked. It’s a common reaction in the person who does not spend much time on the range.

    As far as the number of shots fired is concerned I firmly believe in the ( off the record) advise given to by a LEO years ago: “You don’t shoot a perp until you think he’s dead – you shoot him until HE thinks he’s dead!”

If Obama had a son………!

I remember watching CNN’s Wolf Blitzer narrating video from the US air attack against Iraq, announcing that the current scene of a jet plane going down the runway at night showed it was “coming in for a landing”. The only problem with that? The plane’s afterburners were lit.

Reporters seem to feel they have not only the right but the obligation to report and give opinions with the appearance of absolute knowledge on subjects of which they are entirely ignorant. I suppose Reilly should be commended for at least asking about something he suspected that he didn’t know. But it certainly illustrates the disconnect between our self-appointed intellectual betters and their knowledge of the real world. One gets the impression that Reilly and his ilk have never in their lives driven a pickup truck and are mystified by the practical applications of a screwdriver.

No, dummy, they go in your ears so your brains don’t ooze out.

Whoops, too late.