Disarm the iPhone

08/10/15 11:33 AM | by

It seems the silliness of gun control comes in waves.  Earlier this year, we were treated to the call to wear orange on the 2nd of June.  But the latest is reminiscent of Tipper Gore’s push to regulate music.  New Yorkers Against Gun Violence has joined interns from Bartle Bogle Hegarty, an advertising firm with an office in New York City, in a campaign to #DisarmTheiPhone.

When I saw this on Twitter, my first thought was that it was yet another oddity that becomes a trend for a while and disappears, but it turns out that social media is once again an endless source of topics for this column.

I’m old enough to feel nostalgic about the rotary telephone.  Ma Bell delivered it in black—something like Ford’s Model T—and it did its one job well.  It didn’t need software updates, and it wasn’t ever cute.

Or perhaps I’m putting a polish on the Golden Age that is always in the past.  These days, people are moving more and more to cell phones and giving up their landlines entirely.  And the habit of text messaging, a second coming of the telegram, we have emoji.  These symbols originated in the work of the Japanese mobile phone company, NTT DoCoMo in the late 90s, and given the nature of Japanese writing, which includes many logograms adopted from Chinese called kanji, the popularity of symbols to express thoughts and emotions in short form seems a logical step.

This all sounds mostly harmless, to borrow a phrase from Douglas Adams.  Who knew the world of emoji was so fraught with controversy?  Clorox got into trouble for asking “Where’s the bleach?” since some people thought that was a reference to the arrival of racial diversity in the available faces.  But now, gun control advocates want the revolver symbol deleted from iPhone.

As usual, gun control advocates not only attack our rights, but go after the wrong target.  Emoji are now created and maintained by the Unicode Consortium, a 501(c)(3) organization that is “devoted to developing, maintaining, and promoting software internationalization standards and data, particularly the Unicode Standard, which specifies the representation of text in all modern software products and standards “  But who wants to go after a non-profit that doesn’t get the media attention Apple receives?

And that’s the point here.  It’s all about attention.  The open letter that New Yorkers Against Gun Violence sent to Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, admits that this is a symbolic gesture.  The hope expressed there is that demanding the removal of an emoji will show that Americans who own guns and those who don’t together support universal background checks.  There is even the shocking revelation that all of us with iPhones are carrying that wicked symbol without having been checked.

Beyond putting forehead-shaped dents in our desks, what can we do?  The activists have provided us an easy means of offering our opinion on this campaign, the #DisarmTheiPhone page.  Dear readers, if you have a Twitter account, use it.  You’ll have to rewrite the suggested text.  But we can use this hashtag to get the message across that Americans in fact support gun rights, not gun control.

The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the position of Guns.com.

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