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Opinion Sacha Baron Cohen’s ‘Who Is America?’ isn’t the only farce in Washington

Sacha Baron Cohen in his new Showtime series “Who Is America?”
Sacha Baron Cohen in his new Showtime series “Who Is America?” (Gavin Bond/Showtime)

FOR HIS new “Who is America?” series, Sacha Baron Cohen disguised himself as an Israeli anti-terrorist expert to promote a new program to teach and arm children as young as 3 years old to use firearms to stop school shootings. “The only thing that stop a bad man with a gun is a good boy with a gun,” deadpanned the comedian-as-commando Erran Morad. It was an obvious spoof. There are no “kinderguardians.” Who in their right mind would want a toddler to have a gun?

Turns out, in gun-obsessed America, Mr. Cohen had no problem at all finding a bunch of people (including two members of Congress) not only to believe there was actually a program in existence that gave guns to preschoolers but also — unbelievably — to go on camera and give it a ringing endorsement.

“It’s something we should think about, America. About putting guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens — good guys — whether they be teachers, or whether they actually be talented children or highly trained preschoolers,” said former Senate majority leader Trent Lott. “A 3-year-old cannot defend itself from an assault rifle by throwing a Hello Kitty pencil case at it,” said Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.). “A first- grader can become a first grenadier,” said former Illinois Republican congressman and conservative radio host Joe Walsh. Also backing the idea — yes, let’s name names — were Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), Gun Owners of America executive director emeritus Larry Pratt and Philip Van Cleave of the Virginia Citizens Defense League. Mr. Van Cleave starred in a particularly cringeworthy segment that peddled “puppy pistols,” handguns with little stuffed animals affixed to them, and used a popular children’s song to remind children to aim at “the head, shoulders, not the toes, not the toes.”

Sunday’s airing of the Showtime series resulted in complaints that Mr. Cohen had “duped” or “set up” people. Mr. Cohen is certainly known for his pranks, and his sometimes questionable antics have ensnared the unsuspecting, but that can’t explain or excuse the inanity of supposedly reasonable adults backing the arming of nursery school toddlers. We now know the answer to the question: Is there any limit to the lengths politicians will go to in the name of gun rights? None. So suggest, as Mr. Cohen/Morad did, that preschoolers should be armed and hear Mr. Wilson point out, “Our Founding Fathers did not put an age limit on the Second Amendment.” The television series may be a farce, but it turns out not to be the biggest one in town.

Read more:

Erik Wemple: Sacha Baron Cohen teaches the right what fake news really is

The Post’s View: The ground is shifting on gun control. Vermont is a sign.

Leah Libresco: I used to think gun control was the answer. My research told me otherwise.

Michael McBride: The young voices we aren’t hearing in the gun-control debate

Eugene Robinson: The issue is not mental health. The issue is the guns.