New York Mayor Bloomberg went on national TV yesterday and made the following statement to CNN’s Piers Morgan:
“I don’t understand why police officers across this country don’t stand up collectively and say we’re going to go on strike, we’re not going to protect you unless you, the public, through your legislature, do what’s required to keep us safe.’’
Why would the mayor of the country’s largest city make such a reckless statement? Because he is a strong proponent of gun control and is seizing on the tragedy in Aurora to put forth his message. He apparently believes cops will shirk their obligation to society and turn their back on their oath of office (to uphold the Constitution) in order to force the passage of gun control laws.
Whether you support or oppose gun control, the idea that cops should go on strike until specific legislation is passed is beyond asinine and I’m at a loss for words as to why any responsible politician would even suggest such a thing. Perhaps the only reasonable conclusion that can be reached is that Mayor Bloomberg is not a responsible politician.
Gun control has long been a hot button issue, and I know that there are a lot of people on both sides of the issue. This is America and everyone has a right to take a position and work to make a change through legitimate legislative channels. But to even suggest that the process be usurped by having cops put public safety at risk is wrongheaded and downright foolish.
The basic duty of every law officer is to protect and serve. We’re called to do that despite potential risk. We’re expected to enforce laws that we may not personally agree with, including laws that control the public’s access to guns. Like it or not, we’re part of the overall system and we can’t simply usurp the process that our country has in place in order to pass or overturn laws—even if we might benefit. Cops go on the street every day knowing that there are both good and bad people out there with guns. That’s just the way it is.
A Better Solution?
Train, train and train again. Use your safety equipment (body armor!) and practice good officer safety practices, like contact and cover and remembering that complacency truly does kill. Your time is going to be better spent and you’ll be out there doing what the public pays you to do instead of sitting home like a little kid trying to get his way.
Even if there is a fundamental change in our gun laws, something that will likely take a very long time, we’re still going to face significant threats from those who won’t follow the laws. This is just common sense—something that Mayor Bloomberg seems to be in very short supply of.
The chance of any cop in this country taking the N.Y. mayor up on his suggestion is close to zero. They may not have his money or his power, but they do have common sense.