US Republicans endorse arming toddlers on Sacha Baron Cohen show

One of the Republican politicians on the comedy series, ‘Who is America?’, later said he was against arming of children.

Sacha Baron Cohen and Philip Van Cleave
Sacha Baron Cohen asked gun-ownership rights activist Philip Van Cleave, left, to help create a training video for toddlers featuring 'gunimals' [Showtime]

Republican politicians in the US have endorsed a gun programme where four-year-olds are trained to use military-grade weaponry on Sacha Baron Cohen’s new comedy series ‘Who is America?’.

In Sunday’s premiere, British actor Baron Cohen played the role of Israeli anti-terrorist expert Col Erran Morad and successfully convinced former congressman Joe Walsh, former Senator Trent Lott, California congressman Dana Rohrabacher and South Carolina Congressman Joe Wilson to endorse “kinder-guardians”.

“In America, there’s this big problem of shootings in schools,” Baron Cohen said.

“The NRA want to arm the teachers. This is crazy! You should be arming the children.”

All four politicians bought into Baron Cohen’s idea with Joe Walsh saying the programme: “introduces specially selected children, from 12 to four years old, to pistols, rifles, semi-automatics, and a rudimentary knowledge of mortars.”

“In less than a month, a first-grader can become a first grenade-er.”

Walsh in a tweet said that Baron Cohen “fooled” him, but said he was against arming of kindergarteners.

‘Do I believe kindergarteners should be armed? Hell no,” he tweeted.

Walsh also told CNN that Baron Cohen duped him by telling him that he was “getting an award from some Israeli TV station because I’m a great supporter of Israel”.

“They [had me read off of a teleprompter] about this four-year-old child in Israel who, when a terrorist entered his classroom, somehow he grabbed the terrorist’s gun and held the terrorist at bay.”

He said as he read it, he thought “Well, this is kind of crazy, but it is Israel and Israel is strong on defence.” Later, “we found out this whole thing was made up.”

Toddlers are pure, uncorrupted by fake news or homosexuality. They don't care if it's politically correct to shoot a mentally deranged gunman. They'll just do it.

by Larry Pratt, Executive director of Gun Owners of America

‘Head, shoulders, not the toes, not the toes’

Dana Rohrabacher, a Republican legislator from California, said training school children how to shoot “might actually make us safer”.

Joe Wilson of South Carolina also chimed in, saying: “A three-year-old cannot defend itself from an assault rifle by throwing a Hello Kitty pencil case at it,” adding that “our founding fathers do not put an age limit on the Second Amendment”.

Gun-ownership rights activist Philip Van Cleave was also asked to help create a training video for the toddlers featuring “gunimals”.

“I think it would be a good idea,” he told Baron Cohen.

“I’ve been pushing something along this line for years but really haven’t got any traction.

“We were thinking seventh or eighth grade – you’ve gone much younger than that.”

Van Cleave then held a gun wrapped in a children’s toy dog and said: “Just remember to point Puppy Pistol’s mouth at the middle of the bad man.”

Holding the “Puppy Pistol”, he added: “If he has a big fat tummy, point at that.”

Later, in a twist on a popular children’s song ‘Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes’, Van Cleave sang: “Aim at the head, shoulders, not the toes, not the toes.

Philip Van Cleave's instructional video aimed to show children how to fire guns and an RPG [Showtime]
Philip Van Cleave’s instructional video aimed to show children how to fire guns and an RPG [Showtime]

‘Children don’t care about political correctness’

Larry Pratt, the executive director of Gun Owners of America said “toddlers are pure, uncorrupted by fake news or homosexuality. They don’t care if it’s politically correct to shoot a mentally deranged gunman. They’ll just do it.”

Pratt, who once served in the Virginia House of Delegates, said, “The science behind this programme is proven.”

He added that children can process images quicker than adults, “meaning that, essentially like owls, they can see in slow motion”.

Nearly six years after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, where a gunman killed 20 children and six adults, the US continues to suffer from a gun-violence epidemic.

Authorities have failed to pass any legislation to prevent a similar massacre, and according to gun control advocacy group Newtown, about 300 school shootings have taken place since 2013.

While major attacks have generated fresh national soul-searching, they have dissipated shortly after, with the NRA, the nation’s largest gun lobby, running aggressive lobbying tactics.

Since taking office, President Donald Trump has raised the issue of gun ownership only obliquely at his rallies, and has instead suggested that teachers be armed instead of proposing gun control reforms.

Fred Guttenberg, whose 14-year-old daughter was killed during the Parkland school shooting, praised the series on Twitter for highlighting “the insanity” required to think “arming kids in kindergarten” was a good idea.

“Holy Crap!!!!! WATCH THIS AND RETWEET THIS EVERY DAY,” he wrote alongside a clip from the show.

“Thank you Sacha Baron Cohen for highlighting what people think. They are talking about arming kids in kindergarten to stop someone with a gun. This is the insanity that I oppose and why we must vote.”

Cameron Kasky, a student who survived the shooting, also shared the same clip, writing: “Never stop retweeting this.”

Baron Cohen, who ridiculed Kazakhstan and the US in Borat, satirised the fashion industry in Bruno, and scored an interview with the future US president, Donald Trump, in the Da Ali G Show, is heading back to television for the first time in a decade with his new comedy series.

He also takes aim at disgraced US Senate candidate Roy Moore, former Vice President Dick Cheney and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.

Source: Al Jazeera