Do Democrats Really Oppose Gun Violence?
That didn’t take long. Right after Orlando, President Obama promised he would “spare no effort to determine what—if any—inspiration or association” had sent Omar Mateen on his murderous spree.Bottom line: when stopping violence collides with political correctness, Democrats will opt for political correctness.
Now, just one week later, his attorney general, Loretta Lynch, tried to have the Islamist “inspirations” and “associations” Mateen invoked scrubbed from the transcripts of the 911 calls released to the public—before being forced to back down on Monday. No one should be surprised. The impulse to edit out anything that confirms acts of terror are acts of war is fully consistent with standard operating procedure these past eight years.
And if Hillary Clinton is elected in November, it will be the same for the next four.
Like the president, Mrs. Clinton has used Orlando to relaunch the liberal offensive on the “gun lobby.” She promises “to do everything” to take “weapons of war off our streets.” She further calls for an “intelligence surge.”
Tough stuff, right? Unfortunately, the moment any of these efforts run up against political correctness, they will almost certainly collapse under liberal pressure. How do we know? There is no better example than the post-9/11 experience of New York under Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.
Mr. Kelly began his second stint as New York’s top cop on Jan. 1, 2002, when the city was still clearing debris from the Twin Towers. His charge looked impossible: Prevent another terror attack, and maintain the progress against gun violence begun under Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.
Over the next 12 years the finest police force in America did just that. In so doing, Mr. Kelly pulled off what President Obama and Hillary Clinton now claim are their post-Orlando priorities—a full-fledged assault on gun violence, and “smarter” policies to identify terrorists before they strike.
Here’s the rub. The secret to New York’s success wasn’t just Mr. Kelly. It was also Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Mr. Bloomberg was a liberal rarity, a pol who would not throw his cops under the bus when successful policies produced politically inconvenient results.
Start with guns. Under Mr. Kelly, police expanded a tactic known as stop-and-frisk. Here’s a better way to think about it: gun control for bad guys.
Cops would be proactive. When they spotted someone behaving suspiciously, he would be stopped, questioned and sometimes frisked. Often police found an illegal weapon.
The gun control was not limited to the thousands of guns taken off the streets this way. Because the bad guys knew they might be frisked, they started leaving their guns at home. New York became America’s safest big city.
How was this success greeted? The cops found themselves denounced as racists, because the stops of black men were disproportionate to their percentage of the general population (but not disproportionate to suspect descriptions). The activists sued; an anti-cop federal judge egged them on; and Bill de Blasio made “racial profiling” by police a key campaign point in his successful run for mayor in 2013.
Never mind that as a result of the NYPD’s approach, thousands of young black and Hispanic lives were saved.
Alas, it’s the same sad story for the cause of better intelligence. Under Mr. Kelly, police set up a demographics unit. The Associated Press would win a Pulitzer for a sensationalist series of stories falsely implying it was about blanket spying on Muslims. In fact, the unit was about getting smart—learning where, for example, terrorists such as the Tsarnaev brothers might look for shelter had they made it to New York (as they’d planned) after bombing the Boston marathon.
Or what about the 2007 NYPD report called “Radicalization in the West: The Homegrown Threat”? Here’s a sentence from the first paragraph of the executive summary: “Rather than being directed from al-Qaeda abroad, these plots have been conceptualized and planned by ‘unremarkable’ local residents/citizens who sought to attack their country of residence, utilizing al-Qaeda as their inspiration and ideological reference point.”
Substitute “ISIS” for “al-Qaeda” and these words today look prophetic.
So how did the liberal world react to this effort to smarten up? In January, the de Blasio administration agreed to pull the report from the NYPD website as part of a settlement with Muslim groups who had sued. Two years earlier the NYPD had disbanded the demographics unit, also after much litigation and pressure.
Indeed, the entire liberal push for gun control is the result of cultural bias. Liberals stereotype “gun nuts” as middle aged white males, living in rural areas, listening to country music, driving pickup trucks and voting Republican. Those are the gun owners least likely to actually shoot a person, but they are “the other” in the minds of the secular urban liberal elites.
On issues like this, liberals will sacrifice the welfare of ordinary black people to pursue an ideological agenda. They don’t like prisons, but their campaign against “mass incarceration” is a campaign to put on the street criminals who will mostly victimize black people. Likewise, their campaign against discipline in the nation’s schools inflicts little harm on kids in affluent suburbs.
This is the sort of thing that happens when the cultural biases of a group, and not sober policy analysis, drives their politics.