Up to now, I have written little regarding politics, but recently comments have moved me to this post. Michael Bloomberg, mayor of New York City, and uber-millionaire, has made some comments about gun control. In case you missed it, here it is:
In brief (and I’m paraphrasing), he said that he just doesn’t understand why cops don’t go on strike until gun control laws are enacted, and guns taken away from, well, everybody.
First, it is completely reprehensible that Bloomberg, or anyone else, will politicize events like the Colorado theater shooting (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/21/james-holmes-colorado-shooting_n_1692381.html). Disgusting. Let it alone for a bit, let the victims’ families have some time, and get Holmes in jail in preparation for his execution. At least give it a couple of weeks, then if you must, bring politics into it. But no. About ten point five seconds after the last victim hit the ground, Bloomberg comes out with his crap.
A bit of background, here. I have been a career policeman for over thirty years, first in a small town, then as a cop in a larger city, and now I proudly serve as the Chief of Police at a small University in north western Pennsylvania. While with the City of Erie, PA, I served as a street patrolman and as a detective. I also was on the SWAT team and Honor Guard. In detectives, I was promoted to Detective Sergeant and founded the Homicide division, was co-head of the Burglary division, and ended up working white-collar crimes (forgeries, frauds, bad checks). I have worked with the FBI, with the U.S. Treasury, and with the Secret Service. I realize this is not New York City, but I have seen and done a lot. I have had friends die in the line of duty. I have had friends shot and their careers shortened by gunmen who I am ashamed to say lived to see prison. I have faced guns, knives, and angry women (just which is more deadly, I will not speculate). I have investigated homicides by guns, knives, strangulation. I have investigated sex crimes, child abuse, bank robberies, and granny’s lawnmower being taken from her garage. I have seen children murdered by their parents, teens shot by boyfriends, and kids hit by trains. And I have done what I can to help the families of those victims. I once held the sister of a boy killed by a train. Three young kids were on their way to their home in the projects when they decided to run across the tracks ahead of an oncoming train. She and their friend made it. Her brother did not, and she watched the train smack him and fling him to the side like so much tissue paper. She clung to me, and would not let me go for over an hour. In a hot, cramped little apartment I was her life-preserver, keeping her afloat.
I am a life-long hunter, from the earliest legal age, hunting small game, big game, whatever. I have held guns, I own guns, and I know how to use guns. Guns are pieces of steel and alloy engineered to accurately propel a small piece of metal for a distance. In that regard, they are not much different from a piece of steel engineered and formed to strike a small piece of metal and accurately drive it into wood. It is not the instrument that matters, it is the person wielding it, and what they do with it that makes the difference. If a person utilizes an instrument, any instrument, in an improper way, it becomes a tool for evil. It is not the instrument, it is the person using the instrument. The differences are that a gun is much less personal (in that it can harm or kill from a distance), and it can harm or kill multiple victims with very little effort.
So, would “banning” guns, or even eliminating them, prevent homicide? Clearly not, and I doubt that any thinking gun control advocate would say that. What they would say, I believe, is that it would make such actions more difficult, and require a different dynamic to accomplish such a crime. Perhaps that is a point. But assume the banning of all guns for a moment. Do you really think that will make it all that difficult to commit such an atrocity? Consider the same type of movie theater as the recent atrocity in Aurora, Colorado. People enjoying a movie, eating popcorn, relaxing. Suddenly, multiple bombs go off, killing or maiming dozens of people, with not one gunshot heard. Fantasy? Consider: while sitting here at my laptop, eating a sandwich, I timed myself. It took less than a minute and a half to find over a million websites on making pipe bombs, and over one-hundred thousand websites on homemade explosives. Guns? We ain’t got no guns. We don’t need no guns! I don’t have to show you any stinkin’ guns! I can make a bunch of pipe bombs with fuses of various burning times, filled with explosive substances, and every piece of this killing machine purchased at my local hardware store. So, should we ban household cleaners? Iron pipe? Nails? Because with just a bit of planning and time, I can make enough material to kill a multitude of people.
It is a problem of human will and evil intent, not one of “bad” objects. It is neutral objects being used for evil purposes, and it can be a ball bat, a car, a chainsaw, a knife, or a ball point pen. Or a gun.
However, it isn’t just gun control that cranked me up about Bloomberg. There are several things he said that made me want to vomit. First, his comments were disgusting just on the face. Cops on strike? I have been a cop for thirty years, and I have never seen an issue that I thought would justify a general strike by cops. When I pinned on the badge, I did so as a calling, with a sense of purpose. Strike? That is not even in my vocabulary. Second, even if cops did think an issue worth going on strike, it is illegal in most states for police to do so. I know this is so in Pennsylvania where I serve, and in New York where Bloomberg lives. So Bloomberg was kind of showing support for an illegal action.
But you know what really offends me about Bloomberg’s statements? It is something that as far as I know no one has touched on. His statement was that he doesn’t understand why cops don’t just go on strike until gun control laws are enacted to protect them. One of his problems is that the only cops he apparently knows are sycophants and libs who share his views. I would be willing to bet that most cops, in fact the vast majority of cops, are rather conservative and thoroughly not in favor of gun control. But this is not the offensive part. The offensive part is that essentially he is saying, “The issue of gun control is so obvious. Guns kill cops, and if we ban guns, cops won’t get killed. Why are they so stupid that they can’t see this or act on this?” And this ticks me off. This falls under what I would characterize as “typical liberal thought.” Now a disclaimer. I have several liberal friends with whom I have had multiple challenging and enjoyable conversations. With them there is mutual respect and room for disagreement, as well as passion and commitment. So when I am discussing “typical liberal thought,” please do not confuse my “debate partners” with my statements.
Bloomberg, I think, likely believes cops to be basically brain-dead thugs, without the capability of deep thought. Why, they can’t even understand simple issues like gun control! Clearly they are unlikely to understand more complex issues. And isn’t that what the liberal elite think of most of us? African-Americans, Israel, guns, wealth, taxes, the role of government, fill in the blank. I believe people like Bloomberg think most people simply too intellectually challenged to really understand what is best.
And I believe he shows that with his latest comments about cops.