In the media, and to a lesser extent in the country at large, the AR-15 rifle serves as a totem and a fetish. It is the gun whose name everybody knows; the stuff of nightmares and of fantasies; perhaps the most loved and most hated object in a country of plenty. And, all told, that’s really quite silly.
So sure were the horrified darlings of the gun-control salon that an AR-15 had played a part in the abomination at Navy Yard that many felt compelled to insert one into the story, front and center. At various points in the cycle, we were told that Aaron Alexis: took an AR-15 to the Navy Yard as his primary weapon; didn’t take one to the Navy Yard but stole one from a cop once inside; or didn’t use one at all, but tried to buy one in Virginia and was rebuffed by the law.