The Guns of Villaraigosa

Just because you might be expecting something doesn’t mean you can’t be disappointed when it happens.

Following December’s massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, we have witnessed the spectacle of politicians at every level of government tripping over each other to race before the cameras and proclaim their outrage, not at the perpetrator of the atrocity, but rather at the many law-abiding Americans who are employed in the making of firearms and the many, many more who use them recreationally.  Something must be done, they tell us, “for the children.”  That the “something” might be wholly ineffectual or even counterproductive in the fight against crime is of little significance when the real goal is to see one’s name in the headlines and one’s face on television.

To the surprise of no one who has followed the man’s career, joining President Obama, Vice President Biden, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, and so many others in this farcical display is Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, a lifelong politician who, facing the end of his term in office, seeks to hold aloft his profile -- and his prospects for some future position at the public trough -- by means of the type of shameless pandering for which he is well known.  Mr. Villaraigosa has called on the managers for the city’s three pension funds to divest from any holdings in companies that manufacture so-called assault weapons.  “It’s a moral and financial imperative to end our relationship with these companies,” said Mr.Villaraigosa, quoted in the Los Angeles Times, whose story added that it was unclear how much city pension money was invested in companies that make firearms.  “I don’t want to make a quarter, not a penny, not a dime off of companies that make those weapons of war,” he said.

Put aside for the moment the fact that “assault weapon” is a term devoid of meaning other than to describe rifles whose appearance is in some quarters considered sinister.  There is a further, even deeper incongruity in the mayor’s demand.  The city of Los Angeles, more specifically its police department, is a customer for some of the very companies whose products he finds so distasteful.  In the LAPD arsenal are weapons from Glock, Colt, Beretta, and Heckler & Koch, among others.  And thank heavens for them, for among the department’s 10,000 officers are those who have defended their own and others’ lives with just these weapons.