Cuomo Puts On An Emergency Gun Show

No need to let your thoughts meander back to the nursing home dead or accusations of sexual assault against Cuomo when there are real assaults, shootings and murders to capture all eight seconds of your attention span. And New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has you covered. Finally, something a governor can make a stink about that won’t splash back on him. Or will it?

On Tuesday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo declared a new state of emergency around gun violence and committed almost $139 million to reverse the trend of rising shootings and murders across the state.

The emergency disaster declaration, which the governor said was the first by a state to address gun violence, would allow New York officials to quickly coordinate resources and provide funding for community-led efforts to prevent and respond to shootings.

The nuts and bolts weren’t entirely clear from Gov. Cuomo’s twitter announcement.

Murders are bad. So what could be wrong with this “first in the nation” initiative?

The governor called gun violence a civil rights injustice that overwhelmingly affects poor, Black and Latino communities, whose youth are three to 10 times as likely as whites to be victims of gun violence, he said. But the governor said the issue is urgent for all New Yorkers because the state cannot rebound from the pandemic without addressing it.

It’s easy to count the number of people who are shot and/or killed by gun violence, and so there’s little dispute as to who the victims are. But then, who are the perpetrators? Who’s doing the shooting that makes “poor, Black and Latino” youth disproportionate the victims of gun violence? Victims don’t gives rise to shootings. Shooters do.

In New York City, where he spoke, the police recorded more than 1,500 shootings in 2020, nearly almost twice as many as 2019, and the violence so far this year is at its highest level since the early 2000s. Some 886 people have been shot in 765 incidents this year through July 4, according to police statistics. The violence appeared to ease in June, which saw shootings decrease 20 percent from June 2020 — though remaining still well above 2019 levels.

Why this is happening remains a mystery. There is no lack of theories, uttered in absolute earnest but completely unproven, And there is no shame in seizing the opportunity to use these numbers to push one agenda or another, because believers want to believe even if dead bodies pile up in the streets. They just grasp for another excuse as to why their fix is fabulous and it’s someone else’s fault that people shoot other people.

So what’s the “emergency” plan to deal with this situation, which may be a problem, may be the ordinary ebb and flow of crime, or may even be a direct product of progressive empowerment?

More than half of the money in Mr. Cuomo’s plan, about $76 million, will go toward creating some 21,000 jobs and other activities for young people considered at risk for being victims or perpetrators of gun violence.

In a news release, the governor’s office tied the spike in gun violence to the “destabilizing impact” of disruptions to school and work caused by the pandemic, and cited unspecified research that said summer jobs programs decreased the likelihood that youth would be involved in violence by 45 percent.

Jobs are good, even if they’re only to be divvied up by race. Whether the problem is that kids are choosing to go out and kill other people for lack of a minimum wage job is doubtful, and whether this plan can be executed within the next five years is a mystery, but jobs are good.

The governor’s seven-point plan requires the state’s Division of Criminal Justice Services to collect data on firearms offenses from local police departments weekly instead of monthly. The agency will then report the information to an office of gun violence prevention to be set up within the state Heahlth Department to direct resources to areas where shootings are rising.

On the one hand, we know where this is happening because that’s where all the cop cars are and where the ambulances pick up the bodies. On the other hand, creating some sort of official “science” way to direct resources the day after someone was shot to death could certainly create the appearance of effectiveness if there are no murders on the block the next day when it’s covered in cops.

But what’s Andy talking about when he says gun violence needs to be treated as a public health crisis, aside from the obvious piece about getting shot and/or killed being notably bad for one’s health?

Mr. Cuomo also said he wants to expand across the state a hospital-based intervention model in the Bronx, where conflict mediators try to talk shooting victims and their friends and family out of retaliating.

Whether it worked so well in the Bronx is a bit of a mystery, but talking shooting victims out of retaliating doesn’t do much for the public health crisis of shooting the victims in the first place. But Cuomo isn’t just ginning up pop rhetoric. He’s got a secret weapon he’s about to deploy.

To combat the flow of illegal guns onto New York streets, the State will create a new Gun Trafficking Interdiction Unit within the New York State Police.

So state troopers will now be stopping cars and trucks to prevent illegal guns from being brought into New York? How will they identify which cars to stop? They’re not likely to have signs on the side saying “illegal guns in the trunk.” But it won’t be anything like “stop & frisk” because that would be wrong, unconstitutional and require racist profiling.

Getting shot, getting killed, is very much a serious problem, but this is a remarkably unserious response, much like Cuomo’s signing a law to permits suits against gun manufacturers which is  federally pre-empted by the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. Whether this is the syllogism* at work or the invocation of wokey catchphrase solutions that save no one is unclear, but one thing is certain. No Democratic politician called for Cuomo to resign yesterday, so it wasn’t a complete waste of time.

*The syllogism:

Something must be done
This is something
This must be done

21 thoughts on “Cuomo Puts On An Emergency Gun Show

  1. Hunting Guy

    Robert Heinlein.

    “ There are no dangerous weapons; there are only dangerous men.”

  2. Hal

    Scott,

    I don’t know anything about the program in the Bronx, but community intervention programs in Chicago, and Richmond, CA appear to have markedly (maybe even” dramatically”) reduced the “tit for tat” nature of gang violence in those cities. (IIUC, roughly half of all gun murders in the U.S. are gang related.) So, while funding such measures wouldn’t, as you said, prevent the original murder it could still prove effective in reducing the violence,

    AFAICT, there’s little or no correlation between the rates of homicide and other violent crimes and either the rates of gun ownership w/in a given jurisdiction, or the severity/ laxity of gun laws. (Suicide, OTOH, correlates fairly closely w/ rates of gun ownership.) To me this suggests that “gun control” is unlikely to lead to the less violence.

    I’m distinctly uneasy about Biden, Cuomo, and others characterizing violent crime as an “epidemic” or a “public health crisis”. While there are doubtless things that those who study gun violence can learn from epidemiologists, “public safety” is not synonymous with “public health”. I don’t know where they’re going w/ this, what the end point is, but I fear treating criminal violence as an illness/ medical issue rather a legal one may lead to subverting people’s legal/ civil rights.

    At one point in the USSR, criticizing the state was considered a sign of mental illness and one could be confined to an asylum, w/o due process, for speaking out against the regime. I don’t mean to be alarmist, but there are certainly some “gun control” advocates who would see collecting firearms,, or owning an “assault weapon” as evidence of mental illness/ diminished capacity and would likely support confiscation/ confinement. I’d like to believe that our legal system is robust enough to prevent this sort of end run around due process and other civil rights, but…

    1. SHG Post author

      My issue isn’t with crisis intervention programs, per se, though I’m unaware of them having made a dent in the Bronx and don’t know what impact, or how one even determines the efficacy, of such programs elsewhere. My point is that it’s not a “public health solution” and Cuomo’s using the phrase to claim that’s what he’s doing is nonsensical.

  3. Hunting Guy

    One more bite at the cake.

    LawDog.

    Q. “ Will you continue a reasonable discussion towards an end that might lead somewhere or is this an exercise in futility?”

    A. “Since what you consider to be reasonable isn’t even in the same plane of reality with what I consider reasonable, probably not.

    Allow me to explain.

    I hear a lot about “compromise” from your camp … except, it’s not compromise.

    Let’s say I have this cake. It is a very nice cake, with “GUN RIGHTS” written across the top in lovely floral icing. Along you come and say, “Give me that cake.”

    I say, “No, it’s my cake.”

    You say, “Let’s compromise. Give me half.” I respond by asking what I get out of this compromise, and you reply that I get to keep half of my cake.

    Okay, we compromise. Let us call this compromise The National Firearms Act of 1934.

    There I am with my half of the cake, and you walk back up and say, “Give me that cake.”

    I say, “No, it’s my cake.”

    You say, “Let’s compromise.” What do I get out of this compromise? Why, I get to keep half of what’s left of the cake I already own.

    So, we have your compromise — let us call this one the Gun Control Act of 1968 — and I’m left holding what is now just a quarter of my cake.

    And I’m sitting in the corner with my quarter piece of cake, and here you come again. You want my cake. Again.

    This time you take several bites — we’ll call this compromise the Clinton Executive Orders — and I’m left with about a tenth of what has always been MY DAMN CAKE and you’ve got nine-tenths of it.

    Then we compromised with the Lautenberg Act (nibble, nibble), the HUD/Smith and Wesson agreement (nibble, nibble), the Brady Law (NOM NOM NOM), the School Safety and Law Enforcement Improvement Act (sweet tap-dancing Freyja, my finger!)

    I’m left holding crumbs of what was once a large and satisfying cake, and you’re standing there with most of MY CAKE, making anime eyes and whining about being “reasonable”, and wondering “why we won’t compromise”.

    I’m done with being reasonable, and I’m done with compromise. Nothing about gun control in this country has ever been “reasonable” nor a genuine “compromise”.

      1. L. Phillips

        Yes, Admiral, you do have a camp. In laymen’s terms, it’s the “stop acting like a self-absorbed idiot and while you are at it get off my lawn” camp. I’ve been interested to note how much your camp looks like mine, save only the absence of gun turrets. We need to work on that.

          1. Guitardave

            You do know that one too many pretentious grill badges can cause overheating issues.

      2. Vincent Morrone

        The question isn’t whether you have a camp.
        The question is do you have any cake?
        I like cake.
        However, I don’t know if I want a slice of a cake that’s been sitting around since 1934.

    1. jvb

      This is a wonderful explanation. Thank you.

      I agree with the Admiral’s position that this is not a “public health” issue, but a crime problem. Turning everything into a “public health” crisis or initiative merely expands govern reach into matters that should be left to local communities to resolve.

      I also agree with Hunting Guy’s example because it mirrors my thoughts of what “progressives” do: Progressives never stop after attaining a certain goal because the goal always changes. Reaching one goal merely becomes a stepping stone to the next goal, until all liberty is curtailed. Example: Cigarettes. In the early 1970s, everyone realized smoking cigarettes was bad for your health so warnings were printed on the packs, along with public service announcements declaring the risks. Some people stopped. Then, age restrictions were imposed. You had to be over 18 years of age to buy them. Well, that kept some kids from smoking. Next, smoking in restaurants was determined to be a nuisance and a health risk, so restaurants were forced to designate smoking sections (which Kelley’s Country Cooking did but putting it right up front and you had to walk through a wall of smoke to get to the non-smoking section). Everyone thought that was reasonable and adapted to it. But, it turned out that a smoking section was not good enough, so restaurants had to prohibit smoking indoors all together, designating sections outside to smoke. Well, annoying but people adapted. Then, it was determined that smoking anywhere a building was a nuisance so people had to go down the block to smoke.

      jvb

  4. Pedantic Grammar Police

    “new Gun Trafficking Interdiction Unit”

    Maybe they should call it the plainclothes anti-crime unit. Or something catchy like “filling in the hole that we just dug.”

  5. rxc

    I was thinking about driving up to NY from Florida in September, but now I don’t think it would be a good idea to drive a car with Florida plates around NJ and NY…

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