Bloomberg's Condescension to Cops

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.