Wherever New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg goes, he is guarded at all times by a team of New York Police Department officers. He may be tucking in at some swank Manhattan restaurant, hobnobbing at a glitzy cocktail party on the Upper East Side, or slumming with the proles out in the wilderness beyond the bridges and tunnels, but anywhere he goes within the five boroughs or beyond, somewhere nearby are two or more cops in plain clothes ready to stand between the mayor and anyone who might seek to harm or even annoy him.
And those same cops of course accompany Mr. Bloomberg as he flits about Manhattan making his many appearances at the media outlets that always seem to be courting his opinions on the evils of salt, trans fats, oversized soda containers, and all of the other Bad Things he would see proscribed in the fair land of Bloomtopia. A question then occurs: If Mr. Bloomberg spends so much time in the company of police officers, has he ever had a conversation with any of them?
I ask this in response to the latest (as of this writing) of the mayor’s curious pronouncements on his puzzlement that things as they are do not conform with the way he would have them be, specifically as to gun control. Appearing on CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight program, Mr. Bloomberg and the host were discussing the recent atrocity in Aurora, Colo. “Why do so many Americans,” asked Mr. Morgan (about whom more later), “not feel angry enough to demand further gun control?”
“Well,” said the mayor, “I would take it one step further. I don’t understand why the police officers across this country don’t stand up collectively and say, we’re going to go on strike. We’re not going to protect you. Unless you, the public, through your legislature, do what’s required to keep us safe.”
Set forth in the black and white of the transcript, Mr. Bloomberg’s advice to the nation’s police officers comes across as lordly enough, but to really appreciate the man’s superciliousness you must hear the comments as he spoke them. The clip is available on YouTube here, and if you listen closely, perhaps you can hear the mayor’s bodyguards snickering somewhere off camera.
Mr. Bloomberg went on to explain. “After all,” he said, “police officers want to go home to their families. And we’re doing everything we can to make their job more difficult but, more importantly, more dangerous, by leaving guns in the hands of people who shouldn’t have them, and letting people who have those guns buy things like armor-piercing bullets.”
Well, where does one begin? First of all, the notion that police officers look to legislators to keep them safe is laughable. To suggest that they should do so to the extent that they would refuse to work unless some given bill is enacted is so ridiculous as to be insulting to the very people Mr. Bloomberg purported to speak for.
The mayor walked the comments back a bit the following day, and NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly gave him cover by suggesting that Mr. Bloomberg had spoken out of frustration. But it’s hard to believe that the mayor didn’t anticipate that the topic would be raised in the interview and mull over some potential responses as he was chauffeured over to the CNN studio. And this is what he decided to go with? Perhaps he should have run it by one of his bodyguards before he made a fool of himself on national television.
The debate over gun control is one worth having, but if Mayor Bloomberg had consulted with his hired guns he might have learned that most cops recognize the folly of relying on gun control to keep weapons out of the hands of people like the man accused in the Aurora shooting, and they resent being used as props in his wishful thinking. The number of laws the shooter broke would probably number in the dozens. That Mr. Bloomberg thinks the addition of more laws would have prevented the murderous rampage is only evidence of the mayor’s utopian fantasies: If only the right laws were passed, all undesirable outcomes – heart disease, obesity, murder, or what have you – would be avoided.
And Mr. Bloomberg could have found no more of an agreeable interlocutor than Piers Morgan, the effete Brit who, like Mr. Bloomberg himself, observes America and finds so many things not to his liking. Leading up to his question to Mr. Bloomberg about guns, Mr. Morgan lamented the benighted state of the American electorate. “Every time one of these [shootings] happens,” he said, “Gabrielle Giffords last year, this shooting here, there’s an outrage and then very quickly it dissipates. The American people quite quickly go back to their normal lives and they don’t demand action in a way that I would expect them to.”
So we colonials don’t behave in a way Piers Morgan expects us to. He’s no doubt equally baffled as to why Sean Hannity has two to three times his audience every night.
And Mayor Bloomberg is baffled as to why cops don’t demand more gun control. The reason is simple: cops deal with real life and the real consequences of people’s bad decisions. Even if the Aurora shooter had somehow been denied access to the firearms he used, the booby traps he left in his apartment are evidence that he did not need to rely on guns to hurt people. Evil people, especially those as intelligent as the Aurora shooter apparently is, will find a way to commit their crimes no matter what legal obstacles are placed in their way.
What Mayor Bloomberg does not and apparently cannot grasp is that every police officer in America, far from wanting to be “protected” by the addition of a few more pages in the penal code, wishes he were at that movie theater that night so he could have taken action against the shooter. That’s how you deal with homicidal maniacs, Mr. Mayor. You shoot them before they can shoot you. Your bodyguards would have told you that if you had bothered to ask.