So, I wrote a piece of completely deadpan satire at Mediaite Sunday morning to the effect that maybe a temporary ban on "these people" isn't such a bad idea. It was similar to the one I wrote after the San Bernardino shooting, except this time, I embedded the punchline only in the links, which make clear I'm talking about Radical Gun Ownership.
I did it that way because satirical misdirection completely loses its effectiveness when you hang a lantern on it. The punchline isn't in the piece, it's in the dipshit conservatives retweeting and agreeing with me when I say we should temporarily ban all gun ownership until we can figure out how to reduce gun violence.
The joke went over better than I thought it would. Everybody bought it, including liberals who denounced me as a racist, and longtime colleagues who were somehow convinced that I'd completely reversed myself in the course of one morning.
Their reactions are the other punchline, one which I think demonstrates the power of fear. People who know better, and who can surely click links, are able to be convinced that one terrorist attack could change my mind, because that's terrorism's power. Of course it can't, but they believed it could. I don't actually fault them for that.
So, if I'm critiquing a ban on Muslims, then I must necessarily be critiquing a ban on gun ownership, right? Well, not exactly. Guns kill orders of magnitude more Americans than Islamist terrorism, yet millions of people are ready to ban Muslim people, and hardly anyone is suggesting we ban gun ownership. It is that asymmetry that I'm trying to reveal, and in the straightforward moments in that post, the weakness of the political gun control movement's opening bid. We shouldn't try and get all gun ownership banned, but we should be doing more than nibbling at the corners, and failing even at that.
Here's a little more on the intent of that piece, and the reaction.