What was written for Daily Show host Trevor Noah as a snarky flaying of a reactionary bigot posting a "Muslims Get Out" sign outside of his Minnesota ice cream shop turned into an accidental takedown of gun free zones on last night's show. This was almost certainly not Noah's intent, of course, but his logic applies nearly perfectly, for reasons that we'll outsource to The Federalist's Sean Davis in a moment. But first, here's the clip and a partial transcript:
You know what’s also strange is this man genuinely thought people who go around blowing people up would be stopped by a sign? You realize you’re talking to terrorists, not vampires. They don’t need to be invited in, alright? Or maybe he’s onto something, because if you think about it, we’ve never tried that. We’ve never actually tried to repel terrorists with signs. Yeah, maybe that’s all the airports need is a sign that says “No Terrorists,” yes? Yeah, and then guys are going to be walking going, “Oh, I was going to blow up the airport, but the rules are rules and they said I can’t come in. They said I can’t. They said I can’t come in.”
Take it away, Sean. Swing and a drive:
Does that argument sound familiar? Noah probably doesn’t know it, but he just accidentally made an airtight case against gun-free zones in particular and gun control in general. He is 100 percent correct: people hell-bent on murdering as many people as possible don’t really care about silly signs or laws that tell them not to murder people. A sign that says “No Guns” will no more keep a violent jihadi from gunning down a bunch of innocent people than will a sign that says “Muslims Get Out.” And how do we know that gun-free zones, nearly always marked with signs designating them as such, don’t deter murderous psychopaths? Because mass shootings, rather than happening at gun ranges or in gun stores, keep happening in gun-free zones. Contrary to Trevor Noah’s snarky assertion that “we’ve never tried to repel terrorists with signs,” our country has fecklessly tried for years to “repel terrorists with signs.” ... While Noah clearly doesn’t grasp the logical implications of his argument, his particular insight — that evil people who want to do evil things will find ways to carry out their schemes regardless of what signs you post or laws you pass — forms the foundation of the entire argument against gun control. Bad people who want to murder you don’t care about your stupid signs and stupid laws.
Click through for Davis' partial list of mass shootings and firearm-perpetrated terrorist attacks that were committed in gun free zones, including Sandy Hook, Fort Hood and Orlando's Pulse nightclub. Parting quotation: "The entire premise of gun control is that words on a piece of paper somewhere will prevent a terrorist from killing people. What is a law if not a sign that says what you’re allowed and not allowed to do?" Preventing terrorism may not be the entire premise of gun control laws, but the broader point is well taken. Laws exist both for deterrence and punishment. The frightening but self-evidently true reality is that people who are bent on inflicting death and destruction will not be deterred by the existence of signs or laws. As Trevor Noah says, "you realize you’re talking to terrorists, not vampires," right?