Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Bloomberg's Striking Solution

The recent shooting in Aurora, CO has been on the forefront of the minds of Americans during the past week. Despite the protests of some, many in the media have used the issue to reignite debate over gun control in the United States. A good debate over anything is always welcome and a sound bite from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg specifically caught my attention.

Bloomberg, desiring more civilian gun control, insinuated on CNN’s Piers Morgan that the police should strike until Americans concede to more restrictions on guns. To what extent the strike would go was not discussed (surely, if a police strike was held over assault weapons, they could also be held over hand guns, rifles and every kind of gun). The usual suspects went into attack mode and Bloomberg himself has retreated slightly from his original comment. Bloomberg’s proposition certainly sounds crazy but he might be onto something with his police strike idea, as it would achieve the exact opposite of what he assumes.

Bloomberg’s non-solution is built on the false premise that the populace would fall to their knees and concede to every demand of the State for police protection if the cops were to go on strike. I am not convinced this would happen. In fact, gun sales have actually been on the rise in Colorado since the Aurora shooting. Coloradans are clearly not relying solely on the cops to provide security and are actually looking to arm themselves for protection.

The issue is bigger than Colorado: gun ownership has been trending up nationwide since the CO shooting (and prior to that, including my very own Oakdale). Although cops may perform their duties well from day to day, Americans are beginning to realize that they cannot depend on the police to protect them everywhere all of the time. As Mike Adams points out: “The massacre in Aurora took only two minutes to carry out. The average response time of police is, at minimum, six minutes.”

Horrible events like the one seen in Aurora last week cannot be prevented with a single piece of legislation; people do not kill simply because they have guns, there are multiple factors (like this, this and this) that play into why someone would commit a terrible act of violence. Some motives will never be known.

But one thing is clear: a police strike would not achieve the ends that Mayor Bloomberg originally thought it could regarding violence and gun control. However, if the cops were to go on strike, violence committed by police officers would disappear and people would only have more incentive to be personally armed. Suddenly, Bloomberg’s solution does not sound like such a bad idea after all.

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