In the wake of a shooting tragedy, it is only because of the dedicated work of gun control supporters that the implement used in the tragedy even gets mentioned. The President in his remarks this morning on the incident in Aurora, Colorado, referred to a “gunman” but not the guns he used. It’s proper and I suppose respectful to give words of contrition and sympathy as the head of state. But I wish that someday, we’d hear something in the wake of yet another tragedy like this more akin to what Michael Bloomberg had to say:
Mayor Bloomberg: You know, soothing words are nice, but maybe it’s time that the two people who want to be President of the United States stand up and tell us what they are going to do about it, because this is obviously a problem across the country. And everybody always says, ‘Isn’t it tragic,’ and you know, we look for was the guy, as you said, maybe trying to recreate Batman. I mean, there are so many murders with guns every day, it’s just got to stop. And instead of the two people – President Obama and Governor Romney – talking in broad things about they want to make the world a better place, okay, tell us how. And this is a real problem. No matter where you stand on the Second Amendment, no matter where you stand on guns, we have a right to hear from both of them concretely, not just in generalities – specifically what are they going to do about guns? I can tell you what we do here in New York. The State Legislature passed the toughest gun laws – some states may say no. That’s okay, what do you want to do? And maybe every Governor should stand up. But in the end, it is really the leadership at a national level, which is whoever is going to be President of the United States starting next January 1st – what are they going to do about guns?
John Gambling: The reality is you know that will not happen.
Mayor Bloomberg: Well, it’ll happen, John, if it was one of your kids yesterday in Aurora, maybe you’d stand up and say I’m not going to take this anymore.
This was part of Bloomberg’s weekly radio show and not prepared remarks, yet he saw fit to have his office send them around to reporters.
I generally think that Bloomberg is a mayor of the 1%, and his police force has become more like something out of the panopticon. He’s not exactly my top choice in the public policy arena. But because he has more money than the Almighty, he’s not as beholden to the usual political cautiousness on a few key issues, and one of them is gun control. Perhaps no other mayor in the country has done more to try to get illegal guns out of the hands of criminals, and to raise awareness of the issue.
Bloomberg added in his remarks that “I don’t think there’s any other developed country in the world that has remotely the problem we have. There’s no other place that allows- we have more guns than people in this country.” The NRA has so sanitized the debate over all this that you never hear this perspective. You instead hear these psychological debates about whether the gunman was a left-wing nut or a right-wing nut or whether he committed an attack on Christianity, and whether gun control laws are the problem and more people need to be armed to stop attacks like this, because what you want in a dark movie theater are a dozen people with concealed carry licenses popping up to turn the place into the OK Corral.
We have a completely screwed up criminal justice system in this country, associated with the completely screwy set of gun laws. And we need someone, anyone, to talk about that, and not just after a tragedy.