When the name Michael Bloomberg is mentioned it is sure to stir all kinds of emotions from all kinds of people who come from all walks of life. If you’ve been under a rock lately, the honorable mayor of New York City has been the man out front leading the charge on the possible passage of stricter gun control laws, his voice has only become louder since the tragic mass shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown Connecticut last December.
Bloomberg made an appearance on “Meet The Press” this past Sunday to once again talk about the need for sensible gun control, and made a promise that Congress will have a vote on an assault weapons ban. “We’ve been fighting since 2007 to get a vote. We are going to have a vote for sure on assault weapons and we’re going to have a vote on background checks, If we were to get background checks only, it wouldn’t be as good as if we got both, but look, we demanded a plan and then we demanded a vote. We’ve got the plan, we’re going to get the vote.”
In terms of his battle on guns Bloomberg has two things going for him. One is that when your opponent is Wayne LaPierre the executive vice president of the National Rifle Association and a man who has done and said the most ridiculous and infuriating things a human being possibly could, including recently making robo calls to citizens of Newtown to pressure elected officials to reject any new gun laws, garnering public support is made much easier.
The other thing is America is undoubtedly weary of the mass violence caused by firearms over the last two decades. Columbine, Aurora, Oak Creek, and countless incidents of random violence in Chicago, Los Angeles, and Bloomberg’s own New York have tilted the scales in favor of stricter gun control amongst the American public.
Bloomberg’s advocacy for gun control is the equivalent of a blind squirrel finding a nut when you take into account his entire reign as New York’s top diplomat though.
At the same time he is trying to negate the NRA’s power and influence Bloomberg was also in the middle of what has been described by some as sodagate, A law in NYC that would limit the size of a soft drink that an individual could purchase.
Bloomberg claimed that this was him doing his part to counteract America and New York’s overwhelming problem with obesity which is fine by me, until you get to the part where the ban would only apply to small convenient stores, hurting and then possibly driving them out of business, while excluding large chain stores like 7-Eleven and supermarkets, which is the epitome of a politician looking out for giant corporations who contribute to his campaign coffers.
Bloomberg is the man who has now made the phrase “Stop and Frisk” a household name. Stop and Frisk is the name for a controversial practice used by the NYPD to stop individuals who they think have committed, are in the process of committing or about to commit a crime. There is absolutely no surprise that these stops are routinely operated on young black and brown men, a countless number of whom because of possession of small amounts of marijuana are placed into the criminal justice system.
The Mayor has been anything but defensive on Stop and Frisk saying last summer that “I understand why some people have called for stops to be eliminated entirely, but there is no denying that stops take guns off the street and save lives…I believe the practice needs to be mended, not ended, to ensure that stops are conducted appropriately, with as much courtesy as possible.
This despite the fact that a high ranking police officer was heard on surveillance telling other officers that a certain number of stops needed to be made to fulfill the self imposed quota that the Department had going, during a federal trial over the merits of the program last week.
Of about the five million stops made over the past decade only about 10% of those individuals were arrested and very few weapons were confiscated. When you take into account the comments by the Mayor and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly though, the program is a long way from being stopped.
A businessman who believes in free trade, is pro business and has a penchant for balancing a budget. A supporter of strict drug laws, who doesn’t think marijuana should be decriminalized. Mandatory minimum jail terms, no problem, mayoral control over public schools, yes please. Thank god this guy never decided to run for the top job.
If I’ve learned anything it’s that in order to see Michael Bloomberg in the most positive light possible I’ll have to think of Wayne LaPierre.
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