What does it take to turn progressive mayors into police boosters? In the Big Apple, apparently it just takes firing off a few Roman candles under Hizzoner’s windows. Earlier today, Bill de Blasio took a moment out of this crisis in confidence in law enforcement to declare a massive undercover operation to spy on New Yorkers to stop illegal fireworks.
And get off his damn lawn, while you’re at it:
NEW: New York City cracks down on selling of illegal fireworks as complaints skyrocket.
— ABC News (@ABC) June 23, 2020
To be fair, de Blasio tried to ignore the fireworks issue for a few days. People fed up over the issue decided to protest de Blasio’s inaction where it might have the greatest effect. Looks like it worked!
Our message tonight was simple: Mr. Mayor, if we can’t sleep, you won’t sleep. pic.twitter.com/7UuWnLfyrg
— Councilman Deutsch (@ChaimDeutsch) June 23, 2020
And it’s not as if this isn’t a public-safety issue, either. Yossi Gestetner makes a valid point about the dangerous uses already in play:
VIDEO: Massive honking protest on the streets around Gracie Mansion. Since New Yorkers can not sleep due to the fireworks, the idea I guess is that the @NYCMayor should also not sleep. pic.twitter.com/GvowfK9EKp
— Yossi Gestetner (@YossiGestetner) June 23, 2020
It’s a problem, but what is the proper solution? It might be as simple as getting more officers on the streets to enforce the law. Unfortunately, de Blasio’s already committed to defunding the NYPD:
This morning we committed to move resources from the NYPD to youth and social services as part of our City’s budget.
Our young people need to be reached, not policed.
We can do this AND keep our city safe.
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) June 7, 2020
Okay, but can you do that and launch a 40-officer task force for undercover buys and a “huge sting operation”? What happened to being “reached, not policed”? Does “reach” include using police to spy on New Yorkers for the purpose of tracking down illegal fireworks — but not for, say, conspiring to riot and destroy historical landmarks? Why not just use “social services” to educate people on Safe & Sane Fireworks instead?
Because that won’t stop the interruptions to Hizzoner’s sleep, that’s why.
Perhaps this might serve as an example of why people feel that police have become more intrusive and oppressive. It’s not so much because policing has changed, but we keep demanding more and more interventions by police over the annoyances in our lives. The best way to “defund” police is to reduce the number of laws and regulations we expect them to enforce. Instead, de Blasio wants to use them as his personal moral squad while complaining that they’re doing too much. If de Blasio would pick one side or the other, that would at least be defensible, but announcing a “huge” sting operation while decrying too much policing would qualify as satire if it wasn’t already happening in NYC.