Apple decided to replace the pistol emoji with a colorful plastic squirt gun in iOS 10. For that change, Apple has taken plenty of heat from those who want their rights protected but don’t care about the rights of others.
Hear me out, because this is an important issue, and regardless of which side you find yourself, it’s always easier to vote with your feet than to endanger lives with heated nonsense.
Here in the Midwest we love our guns. Chicago’s homicide rate and the national attention it receives should be a strong indication that guns are much loved but perhaps too often used. Nearly every male in our family– both sides– is a gun owner; not used often, but owned. Having witnessed plenty of news about mass shootings and murders over the past few years it’s easy to determine there is a gun problem running amok.
What does this have to do with Apple? Bear with me a moment.
Is the problem guns or is it people? Actually, it’s both, although one could argue it’s easier to control the former than the latter. Apple, that hippie technology company from gun control-land California recently removed the six shooter emoji in iOS 10– still in beta– and replaced it with a plastic squirt gun. Since then the company has come under fire, so to speak, for seemingly advocating gun control, although I’m at a loss as to how a squirt gun icon should or could cause such an uproar, but it has.
Among the many opinions left and right of Apple’s actions there is a growing call for Apple to get out of such political issues and stick to what it does best, technology gadgets for masses.
Those who advocate against gun control and had their hair catch on fire with Apple’s squirt gun emoji seem to have forgotten that the Supreme Court thinks ‘corporations are people, too‘ so this is as much if not more of a free speech issue as anything. If I remember correctly, free speech guarantees are in the First Amendment while gun rights remains in the Second Amendment, so there’s that.
Many states have enacted constitutionally protected gun control laws. Yet, people in those states can still buy and own guns, so I don’t buy the argument that government leaders want to take away everyone’s guns. Amending the Constitution is no mean feat. Likewise, even free speech has limits to government controls, but free speech otherwise carries with it possible reprisals and repercussions, and that free speech is not protected by the government. Slander and libel come to mind.
I can understand why people get upset over a squirt gun emoji vs. a six shooter, but get over it. It’s Apple’s squirt gun. It’s Apple’s right (corporations are people, too) to express itself in such a way thanks to, you know, free speech. It’s also the right of people to grumble and complain and castigate but that’s where it needs to end. Rights are rights. Apple has theirs and exercised them accordingly. Customers have their rights, too, and they need to be exercised in a civil way; state a position and move on. If the squirt gun emoji bothers you so much, there’s always Samsung.
It’s not in the Bill of Rights or anywhere else in the Constitution, but Apple iPhone owners are free to buy a Samsung Galaxy Note 7 and drool all over the screen if they so choose, even if its reprisal for the squirt gun emoji.