On Tuesday, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg launched a passionate, but ridiculous, defense of the under fire New York City Police Department in which he equated the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) with the National Rifle Association (NRA), a comparison he also made back in 2012.
The police department has come in for heavy, and justified, criticism for its targeting of minorities through its racist and ineffective stop and frisk policy, and spying on Muslims. Bloomberg was attacking a bill which would make it "make it easier for stop-and-frisk victims to sue the police and one that would appoint an Inspector General to oversee the NYPD’s counterterrorism operations and penalize officers for using racial profiling."
Arguing that stop and frisk is an essential part of his campaign for responsible gun laws, Bloomberg criticised both the NYCLU and the NRA, equating them as "extremist" organisations of the left and right respectively. He compared the lack of courage of some elected officials in Washington to stand up to the NRA and "pass common sense gun laws," to some in New York City who don't have the courage to stand up to the NYCLU and "support common sense policing tactics like stop and frisk." Here is the video of the Bloomberg speaking on Tuesday.
And here is what he had to say on the subject in 2012: "Let’s be clear: the NYCLU’s priority is not protecting our safety. It is protecting their ideology, And in that regard, they are no better than the NRA. One group views the Second Amendment in absolutist terms; the other group views the Fourth Amendment in absolutist terms. Both groups, I think, are dangerously wrong on the Constitution."
Comparing a civil rights advocacy group that opposes a racist and ineffective policy with what is essentially a bunch of crazy, yet powerful, people blinded by their love of guns who oppose sensible gun control is so ridiculous that its almost laughable, or would be if it wasn't the mayor talking.
Criticizing the prospect of increased scrutiny of the NYPD, Bloomberg yesterday urged proponents of the bills to "stop playing politics with public safety," arguing that passing "legislation that undermines our counterterrorism capabilities would be the height of irresponsibility. God forbid terrorists succeed in striking our city because of a politically driven law that undermines the NYPD’s intelligence gathering efforts."
Yet by invoking the tired, scary logic that if you criticize the NYPD then the terrorists will win, it is Bloomberg himself who is playing politics with public safety and civil liberties.