The ‘Drop Dead’ line is by now a classic, after the New York Daily News was miffed in 1975 about President Gerald Ford telling New York City that it would not be bailed out – again – from the results of its profligate fiscal mismanagement. (In actuality, he did eventually sign authorization for federal loans to the city.) The headline spawned a series of like captions through the years, but none have come so close to the mark, or actually struck it, than Mayor Bloomberg’s comments on CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight last evening.
"We're not going to protect you."
To set the explanation, let me set the stage: Piers immediately starts the interview by registering how aghast he is, in reference to the shootings in Aurora, Colorado:
Every time one of these things happens – 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.
Why do so many Americans not feel angry enough to demand further gun control?
Here he pulls a classic bait-and-switch: initially, there is outrage – (1) by the public about the act itself, and (2) by some politicians about the act and also the fact that more gun control hasn’t already been enacted despite the Second Amendment to the Constitution. Here the politicians see an opportunity to push for more gun control while the emotions are high, in the same manner that so many of the Left use for whatever they perceive as a problem: proclaim that it is a ‘crisis’ and react accordingly, push through a bill and demand quick action, without the bother of actually reading it or considering the consequences, unintended or otherwise. There is no poetic license in that statement – bills are literally voted upon by legislators who literally have no idea about the content, and that certainly applies to the public at large, thus Nancy Pelosi’s statement about how Congress will have to pass ObamaCare before the public “can find out what is in it”. (Yet another of Obama’s 2008 campaign promises broken.) This is yet another iteration of the legal maxim that big cases make bad law.
These politicians and the Commentariat (particularly Mr Morgan) are perplexed that the hoi polloi are not in lock-step accordance with their Anointed viewpoints. And yes, the public outrage does continue, but it exists rather in the direction of demanding more attention to criminals and the mentally unstable walking our streets, instead of trying to eliminate guns from the American public, rendering us even more vulnerable to these crimes at the hands of those who would ignore a gun ban, just as they ignore any other law that gets in their way.
The kernel of the story is Mayor Bloomberg’s stupefying reply to Morgan’s proffered complaint about the American people:
Well, 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.
What an absurd and dangerous statement. It is bad enough that the mayor banned salt in restaurants (the government will tell you how to eat) and Big Gulps in all sources (though he simultaneously extolled doughnuts), but now he reaches heights that even Aristophanes would reject. He literally called on police officers to abandon their moral responsibility to protect the public until the people knuckle under and surrender their weapons. (It is only a moral responsibility, because the "police have no duty to protect individuals".) The criminals, being criminals, will simply continue to use guns, but now with a more target-rich environment, since the public will have no protection. Without police protection, this is a literal call for the public to rise up in their self-defense, a levée en masse.
Remember, the police only show up after a crime is committed. Even in the case of the Aurora shootings which resulted in this ludicrous exchange, the police, who were already on the scene when the shootings began, did not respond to the shooter until after he had exhausted his ammunition (his rifle apparently having jammed) and he had retired to his car outside, possibly to re-load.
The Left has strongly criticized the Right when it can glean what it insists is violent or “eliminationist” comments when they were clearly metaphorical. Here the mayor literally says “We’re not going to protect you.” But the following morning, Hizzoner tried to walk back the comments: “I didn’t mean literally go on strike. In fact, in New York, they can’t go on strike. There’s a law against it.” He went on to say that he is only thinking of protecting the police, “Because they get killed, and they have families.” Well, wouldn’t you think that the same reasoning would apply to the public as well?
Bloomberg also complained about lack of help from the candidates for President, and the federal government as a whole as it pertains to protecting the citizenry: “We’re not getting any help from Washington.”
Really? I expect that Governor Rick Perry will be seeking Mayor Bloomberg’s comments about protecting the border then.
I previously have made known my fondness for some of the poetry of Bertolt Brecht, but here it seems that Bloomberg and others are echoing, only in an actually serious vein, his short 1953 “The Solution”, an ironic criticism of the morally corrupt East German government:
After the uprising of the 17th JuneThe Secretary of the Writers UnionHad leaflets distributed in the StalinalleeStating that the peopleHad forfeited the confidence of the governmentAnd could win it back onlyBy redoubled efforts. Would it not be easierIn that case for the governmentTo dissolve the peopleAnd elect another?