Vs. The Editor
American Handgunner readers are tolerant of opinionated writers even when they don’t agree with their opinions. J.T. and Duke had a spirited debate over the merits of the .44 Special cartridge and though there was plenty of controversy not too many subscriptions were canceled! What firearms enthusiasts demand, though, is technical accuracy. I remember long ago watching the original Terminator on TV with my wife Simone. I was full of scorn about the parking garage scene where the Terminator fires multiple shots from a stolen LAPD Ithaca 37 without reloading.
“Standard magazine tube, 4-shot capacity, he’s fired at least ten shots and he started with an empty chamber.” I said, “You don’t understand. It’s just not realistic.”
“Help me understand.” Simone said, “You’re okay with cyborgs, time travel, and renegade computers starting a nuclear war. But if Arnold doesn’t reload often enough it wrecks the show.” “Hey, you do understand.”
Prospective gunwriters had better understand too. If you make a statement it darn well better be accurate, because there are real experts out there, and they love nothing better than catching you in a mistake. I know because I’m the same way.
You know it’s true. You’re going online to check: When was the Terminator released? Did LAPD issue the Ithaca 37 at the time? Did Arnold use an Ithaca 37? Did it have a standard magazine tube? (1984, yes, yes and yes. And you’re still going to replay the scene to count the shots. And yes, I know you have the video.)
Writers depend on editors to catch errors they might have missed. I got away with one a while ago when I wrote “S&W began assigning model numbers in 1955.” I knew at the time it was actually 1957. It was a stupid mistake. But Roy should have caught it. Thank goodness no one wrote to criticize. Or maybe they did and Roy didn’t forward the message because he knew it was his fault — too.
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