An endless series of hobgoblins…

I’m trying to think of a term, maybe you can help me because I’m drawing a blank.

During the morning walkie/sniffathon, I was listening to a podcast discussing myths related to the latest gungrabber hobgoblin, “ghost guns.” And while waiting for Tobie to finish reading peemail I tried to construct a mental list of all the labels I can recall that have been used at one time or another for the purpose of keeping the populace clamorous to be led to safety through helplessness. This list is certainly not complete, my memory being what it is lately…

Saturday Night Specials
Semiautomatic pistols
Deadly sniper rifles
Concealable guns
Machine guns
High capacity magazines
Assault weapons
Weapons of war
And now, of course, ‘ghost guns.’

And where I hit a mental roadblock was trying to recall the blanket term for this sort of rhetorical device. I’m sure there’s a phrase for it, but I’m hitting a total blank. Anybody help me out?

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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30 Responses to An endless series of hobgoblins…

  1. I have a saturday night special on my nightstand … you have an “assault rifle” … Ian has some machine guns and high cap. mags … hunters and target shooters have very accurate rifles … when up at my rural land concealed carry is wise … lets call them non-felony guns!

  2. Anonymous says:

    stalking horse

  3. paulb says:

    Stalking horse has my memory addled vote.

  4. Retired Cop says:

    Don’t forget “cop killer bullets”!

  5. Malatrope says:


  6. Anonymous says:

    scary black guns

  7. Joel says:

    Don’t forget “cop killer bullets”!

    Aargh! That was a big one. I also forgot “gun show loophole.”

  8. Terrapod says:

    Army Rifle 15

  9. VietVet says:

    Black swan

  10. Tennessee Budd says:

    The original term was “niggertown Saturday night special”, before it was bowdlerized. I’m told it was cop slang for those shitty sidearms, as dangerous to the shooter as to the person they were aimed at.
    I have one, a “Clerke 1st”-brand .32 revolver my Dad bought at a bar sometime in the ’70s. I keep it to show folks whom I know well what an actual “Saturday night special” really was, and I wouldn’t squeeze that trigger on a bet. Just picking it up, you can feel how shitty the steel(?) is.

  11. Mike says:

    Gone Guns.

  12. jed says:

    “Stalking horse” doesn’t feel right. It has its roots in deception, but wasn’t designed to scare or frighten the target at all, in fact, quite the opposite.

    Possibly, the right term briefly flitted into my head, but got replaced by “stalking horse”. Alas! Bugaboo?

  13. Bob says:

    Don’t forget, “pocket rocket.”

  14. I always thought of a saturday night special as a basic revolver…mine is a 5 shot 38 special … I have fired it lots of times ( at targets ) …it is fairly accurate at 50 ‘ and is not made of cheap steel… never had a problem with it ! The thought of a gun made so poorly that it could injure its’ user is scary… I’m not a gun collector so I have never seen anything like that…might be a good article for Ian , Patrick

  15. jabrwok says:


  16. Kentucky says:

    These days “clickbait” sorta applies.

  17. Phssthpok says:

    I initially (and almost immediately) thought of Deodand, but given that a Deodand is ‘surrendered/sacrificed’ to an ‘authority’ after the fact, Bane seems to be a more accurate word

  18. Tsgt Joe says:

    straw man argument?

  19. Klaus says:

    No one needs Military grade weapons. And the stock thing that goes up.

  20. Joel says:

    And the stock thing that goes up.

    I think they call those “barrel shrouds.”

  21. mattexian says:

    I thought it was a “shoulder thingy that goes up”? Except the way they described it, it sounded more like a flip-up grenade launcher sight, not a folding stock.

    Don’t forget the bayonet lug, and the sooper scary chainsaw bayonet! Another gun-grabbers’ boogeyman.

  22. Greg says:


  23. makerofgames says:

    A similar term from the tech industry is FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt).

  24. Jeff Allen says:

    sound like dogwhistles to me… I was going to say “package deal” but that usually implies at least one non-pejorative item in the set and these are all loaded terms (yes it’s a pun).

  25. Goober says:

    demagoguery? Demagogue?

  26. Anonymous says:


  27. Anonymous says:

    Y’all forgot ” plastic guns”. remember you could just go through a metal detector with a Glock…..

To the stake with the heretic!