In a press conference last week New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg congratulated himself on having masterminded a sting operation wherein he sent undercover NYC agents to a gun show in Tucson, Arizona. These agents apparently bought guns at the show and Bloomberg intended the operation to illustrate the ease with which guns can be bought in Arizona. The fact that the gun show was officially sanctioned, that firearm ownership is legal in Arizona, and that the Second amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects private gun ownership apparently escaped the mayor’s notice. The concurrent fact, statistically proven, that relatively few Arizona gun show patrons travel to New York, in a given year, to commit felony offenses also merited no mayoral attention.
The voters of New York City elected Michael Bloomberg to the mayorship of the American metropolis in late 2001 and have re-elected him since. He won each of his mayoral races by healthy margins. Rather than playing Eliot Ness, the mayor could have concentrated his attention on problems such as the ruinous taxation forcing many upper middle class types to flee the NYC, the problems related to the Great Recession, which have hit New York as hard as most other American cities, even the rather mundane questions such as civic preparedness in areas such as snow removal. None of these issues have moved the mayor to action. Instead of tending to legitimate duties the Mayor of New York sent undercover investigators to a gun show in Arizona. What was the cost of this little escapade? A municipal government facing difficult financial decisions decides to run a BATF-like operation 2,500 miles from home. It is difficult to discern a legitimate purpose in Bloomberg’s deed. Did he merely intend to embarrass Arizona? Did he hope to feed the collective ego of his fan club, by making them feel superior to all of the armed yokels who populate places like Arizona and the rest of flyover country? No, this is standard operating procedure for a mayor who, like J. Edgar Hoover, loves favorable publicity.
A close look at the most recent Bloomberg initiatives reveals that the mayor aligns himself with the limousine-liberal set on all issues dear to their hearts. New York has an indoor smoking ban, one of the strictest in the country. Does this satisfy Mayor Michael Bloomberg? Why, of course not! Last week the Mayor urged his City Council to enact a new ban on smoking anywhere in the city, including public parks, outdoor bars & restaurants, on sidewalks and in streets. While this should come as no surprise to those familiar with the liberal two-step forward, one-step back approach to advancing their agenda, it should still outrage all freedom loving citizens, regardless of their smoking preference. It also exposes the lie that smoking bans are enacted to protect the health of the poor souls who are forced to labor in formerly smoky environments like pubs, casinos, and sporting venues. It does, however, appeal to Bloomberg, his acolytes, and their dictatorial-liberal instincts.
Mayor Bloomberg is also competing with First Lady Michelle Obama for the title as America’s Diet and Exercise czar. He has banned trans fats in New York City restaurants and had declared “war” on salt, not only in NYC, but also across the nation. Bloomberg would probably attempt to ban meat if he thought there were votes there.
Mayor Bloomberg also subscribes to all of the other tenets of the modern liberal faith such as the redefinition of marriage, the supremacy of multiculturalism, and an unconcealed contempt for those who hold opposing views. This is all wrapped up in a cult of personality, simply awaiting the official announcement of a “Bloomberg For President” campaign. Somehow, one doubts that the faithful will be swigging beer and smoking stogies at Bloomberg campaign HQ, even if they win on election night.
Let us return, now, to the initial point of this column. The Mayor of New York must not be allowed to run away from this issue that he has created. Does the NYC mayor control a private strike force? Can he lawfully order these Brownshirts to conduct a sting operation 2,500 miles from home? The New York City Council should demand a full accounting. They should ascertain that this operation was conducted for a legitimate public purpose. They should check all records to ensure that the operation proceeded in accordance with proper standards. Finally, the city should conduct a full financial audit to determine the cost of this frolic. Similarly, Arizona public officials, namely the governor and the attorney general, should investigate this affair to determine whether the New York snooping operation violated any applicable state laws. If the investigation confirms such violations the Arizona state government should sue New York for actual and punitive damages.
Some readers will denounce this proposed remedy as overly harsh. Others will be inclined to dismiss this whole affair as an unimportant sideshow. It is, however, quite important to show a headline-hungry mayor that reckless behavior often results in unhappy consequences.