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The April 18, 2013 episode of The Daily Show focused on gun control with the first part of a series with John Oliver and the CIA with Mark Mazzetti.
The episode opened with Jon Stewart discussing the recent tragic events such as the bombing in Boston. He said that while all these events are tragic, it is reassuring to see the stories of heroes that come out of them.
Then he showed clips about the Senate failing to pass gun legislation and his response was that, oh, he forgot, it was killing his soul. The Senate has failed to pass just about any legislation. They did not pass a ban on assault weapons, a restriction on magazine size or require background checks for gun shows or online purchases. The only thing they managed to pass was a ban on publishing where gun owners live. The argument against background checks is that passing it would put the United States on a path towards some scary future level of gun registration. This argument leads to a very good Stewart rant, which I recommend everyone check out.
The second segment is the first part in a three part series with John Oliver. He started the segment talking to Philip Van Cleave from the Virginia Citizens Defense League about gun control. Van Cleave is adamantly against all forms of gun control. The other side of the argument is discussed with the former Prime Minister of Australia, The Honorable John Howard. When Howard was prime minister (he was conservative), his government passed sweeping gun control laws after a massacre. Since these laws were in place, there have been zero gun massacres and gun fatalities, both homicides and suicides, have dropped dramatically. Van Cleave’s response to the massacre data was “whoop-di-do”. He was trying to argue that there is no point in gun regulation because it cannot work, despite Olver giving him an example where it clearly did. Van Cleave tries to use the example of people getting drugs to show that if someone wants it someone will get it. Oliver’s response is to ask if, since people get drugs anyway, we should not regulate drugs. That makes Van Cleave pause.
The guest for this episode was Mark Mazzetti promoting his new book, The Way of the Knife: The CIA, a Secret Army, and a War at the Ends of the Earth.
The interview focused on how Mazzetti got the information for the book and some of the information in the book. It was a pretty interesting interview, but the best part of the episode was by far Oliver’s report. I am really looking forward to the second and third parts.