Every once in a while, politicians provide examples of cluelessness so compelling that it’s incumbent on us to point it out. Last night, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg went on CNN’s Piers Morgan show to discuss the need for expanded gun control in the wake of the massacre in Aurora, Colorado last week. Bloomberg suggested that police across the country go on strike to demand greater gun control legislation (via NewsAlert):
“I don’t understand why 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,’’ he told CNN’s Piers Morgan.
“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.’’
Where to start with this nonsensical idea? First, we have laws in most jurisdictions that prevent first responders such as police and fire agencies from going on strike at all, because of the public safety consequences. Bloomberg is literally calling for anarchy in the streets as a way to extort unconstitutional infringements on liberty — by the police.
Perhaps Bloomberg missed a couple of civics lessons in school (which would explain more than a few of his initiatives), but police don’t get to write their own laws and impose them by force on the populace. Neither do they get to decide whether and when they will enforce the law or let criminals run rampant in order to terrorize our communities into complying with their idea of what the law should be. In America, the people create the law, and the police uphold and enforce it. If individual police officers don’t like the law, they can work through the democratic process to change those laws, or they can find another line of work.
Finally, though, Bloomberg’s proposal would only reinforce the truth that citizens have to defend themselves from crime. Only in rare cases do police directly “protect” a citizen or keep a crime from occurring. They respond to crimes in progress or crimes already committed in order to investigate and arrest those suspected of committing crimes. One key reason for the Second Amendment is to prevent the need for the kind of police state necessary to protect people who refuse to defend themselves properly. The founders understood that the local constabulary could hardly be expected to prevent thugs, ruffians, thieves, and murderers from committing crimes in the very moment, and knew that an armed citizen would at least have the ability to defend himself. If police around the nation walked out on strike, that truth would suddenly become acutely apparent — and people would demand access to firearms to properly defend themselves, and not just during the strike, either.
We’ve seen a lot of foolish commentary in the wake of the Aurora shooting, but this may be the most irresponsible yet — and from an official in high office, no less.