There ought to be a law against The Daily Show going on hiatus just when the political sh– really starts hitting the fan. The series aired its last episode of 2012 on Dec. 13; Newtown’s horrific school shooting came the very next day, spearheading the gun-control debate that’s since grabbed hold of the national news media. It wasn’t until last night — his second episode of 2013 — that Stewart finally got to weigh in on the issue, devoting two thirds of his program’s run time to a segment called “Scapegoat Hunter” — which detailed gun proponents’ reluctance to even entertain the notion that the United States needs stricter gun laws.
NRA head honcho Wayne LaPierre was a frequent target of the segment, as was Fox News host Mike Huckabee. And while Stewart made plenty of joking suggestions for ways to help curb gun violence — replace cool shooting sounds with goofy, cartoonish boings; have Woody Allen star in the next Bourne movie — he also got serious as the show’s first commercial break drew near: “We can dance around the issue all we want,” he said. “We can blame movies, or video games, or the mentally ill, or God. And it’s a complex problem, and all solutions have to be on the table. But it is time we talk about guns.” The host’s hoarse voice — the result of a winter cold — only gave more urgency to his words.
The real reason it’s so hard to get gun advocates to consider stricter laws? Stewart thinks the answer lies in their certainty that the federal government is plotting to take away all of their constitutionally protected weapons. (Cue a clip of Alex Jones screaming at Piers Morgan.) In other words: “Their paranoid fear of a possible dystopic future prevents us from addressing our actual dystopic present. We can’t even begin to address 30,000 gun deaths that are actually, in reality, happening in this country every year — because a few of us must remain vigilant against the rise of Imaginary Hitler.”
Seriously, Jon: Never leave us again. Here’s the whole two-part segment: