Yesterday, the Baltimore police tried to make a big deal out of a “rocket launcher” turned in during the city’s gun buyback program. It turns out it was all essentially a lie.
First of all, the item is not a “rocket launcher.” It is actually a grenade launcher. So, there’s that.
Secondly, it isn’t really a “launcher” of anything. At least, nothing that could cause fear in Baltimore.
The story is pure puffery. These so-called “rocket launchers” the Baltimore Police recovered wasn’t a danger to anyone.
It turns out it was a one-use, AT-4 grenade launcher used by the U.S. Army in anti-tank operations. It can never be reloaded and was not meant to be reloaded.
Yes, they are grenade launchers (not really “rocket” launchers proper) but these tubes are pre-packaged weapons that can be fired only one time and cannot be reloaded. They are one-shot only weapons. So, yes, that means the tube the police had was completely and permanently harmless.
But even more absurdly, many of these are training devices and never fired a grenade and never could have. They are devices used only for showing young soldiers what such a weapon looks like. They are a hands-on training tool that is 100% inert, un-fireable, safe as a plastic kid’s toy gun.
As Paul Szoldra explains, “It is, quite literally, a long, green fiberglass tube that does nothing.”
Further, these hunks of plastic can be bought at many military surplus stores and have even turned up on ebay in the past.
What we really have here is the Baltimore Police making a big story out of nothing and a gaggle of let-media lapdogs lapping up the fake story because they haven’t a clue about the topic.
Instead of the media giving us scary stories of rocket launchers infesting the streets of Baltimore, this story should have been reported as the Police trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the citizenry and the media alike.
Worse, the Baltimore police gave someone $500 for this prop weapon!
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.