Keeping It Cool
Despite being targeted by what police say were a pair of ricin-laced letters decrying his fight against illegal guns, Mayor Michael Bloomberg remained cool as a cucumber last night, saying he didn’t feel threatened or angered by the alleged attacks.
“Well, there was a letter that threatened us, but let me tell you, we are–number one–I have enormous confidence in the NYPD and the FBI and their procedures,” he told reporters outside the Museum at Eldridge Street Synagogue’s spring celebration gala at Gotham Hall, according to a transcript of the remarks.
Over the weekend Mayor Michael Bloomberg unveiled a $12 million ad campaign dedicated to pushing senators to back legislation that would expand background checks against gun buyers. This ad blitz was the latest salvo in the expensive attack on illegal guns the billionaire mayor has focused on in recent months and it prompted National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre to accuse him of trying to “buy America.” At a press conference this afternoon where he was announcing a new program to help connect low-income city residents with job opportunities, many of the questions Mayor Bloomberg fielded from reporters were about his war of words with the NRA. Mayor Bloomberg first addressed the response he’s received after announcing the ad campaign and said an “enormous number” of people have thanked him for the commercials.
“Nobody’s going to walk up to me and say bad things, so I’m not so sure that I can actually represent, but I’ve just had lots and lots of phone calls, text messages, emails, people in the street … that are just so thankful that somebody’s willing to stand up and to counter the NRA,” he said.
Earlier today, National Rifle Association President David Keene went on Fred Dicker’s radio show to tout yesterday’s pro-gun rally in Albany. As they are both wont to do, Mr. Dicker and Mr. Keene took a number of shots at Governor Andrew Cuomo and the gun control legislation he passed earlier this year. At one interesting moment in the conversation, however, Mr. Keene went further by saying another unnamed Democratic governor shared some of their anti-Cuomo views.
“You know Fred, I was out in the West recently and had to meet with a Democratic governor because a lot of the state legislatures are considering all kinds of different laws and legislation on firearms,” Mr. Keene said. “As I went into his office, I said, ‘Governor, before we get started, I have to tell you that the press has been asking me why I’m meeting with you.’ He said, ‘What did you tell them?’ I said, ‘I’m meeting with you because you’re not Andrew Cuomo. And you should take that as a compliment.’ He looked at me and he said, ‘Believe me, I do.’”
In his interview on the Brooklyn GOP Radio podcast this evening, NRA President David Keene was asked about the controversial articles on Gawker and in the Journal News that contained lists of gun owners. Mr. Keene blamed the stories on cultural differences that he said exist between “elite media” and the rest of American society.
“The whole battle over the Second Amendment has little to do with crime or any of these things” Mr. Keene said. “It has to do with culture and the view that different people have about what kind of a country this ought to be.”
Mr. Keene explained that he believes the media has adopted an anti-gun perspective because liberal reporters see gun ownership as antithetical to their values.
National Rifle Association President David Keene gave a rare post-Newtown interview on the Brooklyn GOP Radio podcast this evening in which he responded to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s vow to bring New York some of the “toughest” gun control laws in the country. Mr. Keene began by taking issue with Governor Cuomo’s prediction that other states would follow New York’s example and pass similar laws.
“I was amazed that he said other states will follow New York,” Mr. Keene said. “They haven’t done that in the past, there’s no reason to believe that they will in the future.”
Mr. Keene continued by noting “New York already has very tough gun laws” and predicting Governor Cuomo’s gun control plan would not “make any difference one way or the other in terms of violence of any kind in the state.”
Last Friday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, frustrated with the current state of contract negotiations with the city’s teachers union, caused a political dust-up when he compared the leadership of the influential United Federation of Teachers to the National Rifle Association. Now, other New York City politicians are demanding an apology.
“Teachers want to work with the best, and most of them are not in sympathy with the union,” Mr. Bloomberg had said before pivoting to one of his preferred talking points when he pushes for tougher federal gun laws. “The N.R.A’s another place where the membership, if you do the polling, doesn’t agree with the leadership.”
Michael Mulgrew, the President of the U.F.T., said he was so infuriated by this comment that he organized today’s press conference on the topic.
In an announcement surprising many political observers, National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre came out swinging against both the media and a host of other entities in the wake of the recent elementary school massacre in Connecticut. In today’s extensive address, Mr. LaPierre further proposed immediately putting an armed security guard in every single school in order to guard students against future shootings. Needless to say, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has become one of the nation’s chief voices against the NRA’s lobbying efforts, was unimpressed.
“The NRA’s Washington leadership has long been out of step with its members, and never has that been so apparent as this morning,” Mr. Bloomberg said in a statement. “Their press conference was a shameful evasion of the crisis facing our country. Instead of offering solutions to a problem they have helped create, they offered a paranoid, dystopian vision of a more dangerous and violent America where everyone is armed and no place is safe. Leadership is about taking responsibility, especially in times of crisis. Today the NRA’s lobbyists blamed everyone but themselves for the crisis of gun violence. While they promote armed guards, they continue to oppose the most basic and common sense steps we can take to save lives – not only in schools, but in our movie theaters, malls, and streets. Enough. As a country, we must rise above special interest politics.”
Earlier today, National Rifle Association C.E.O. Wayne LaPierre and other leaders from the gun group held a much-anticipated press conference to react to the ongoing controversy surrounding the shootings at a Sandy Hook elementary school one week ago. For those hoping for a grand speech, Mr. LaPierre certainly didn’t disappoint. In the address, Mr. LaPierre pushed back hard against those calling for additional gun control measures while accusing the media of being “silent enablers, if not complicit co-conspirators” in the violence. He also seemed to hold a host of other entities and events responsible, such as Hurricane Sandy.
“Violent crime is increasing again for the first time in 19 years,” Mr. LaPierre said. “Add another hurricane, terrorist attack or some other natural or man-made disaster, and you’ve got a recipe for a national nightmare of violence and victimization. And here’s another dirty little truth that the media try their best to conceal. There exists in this country, sadly, a callous, corrupt and corrupting shadow industry that sells and stows violence against its own people. Through vicious, violent video games with names like ‘Bulletstorm,’ ‘Grand Theft Auto,’ ‘Mortal Kombat,’ and ‘Splatterhouse.’…A thousand music videos, and you all know this, portray life as a joke and portray murder, portray murder, as a way of life. And then they all have the nerve to call it ‘entertainment.’ But is that what it really is? Isn’t fantasizing about killing people as a way to get your kicks really the filthiest form of pornography?”
After this morning’s shooting at a Connecticut elementary school, the National Rifle Association cancelled a planned Twitter promotion with country music rapper Colt Ford. A live “Tweet & Greet” with Mr. Ford was scheduled for 1 p.m. (Central Time) this afternoon on the “NRA Country” account. However, shortly after the event’s planned start time, an announcement was posted on the NRA Country Twitter account that it would be rescheduled.
“Apologies for the inconvenience, but the @ColtFord Tweet & Greet will be rescheduled. Please check back for more info!” the announcement said.
Early on a Friday morning last month, a deranged shooter walked into a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., and sprayed enough bullets to injure 58 people and murder 12. A few hours later, Mayor Mike Bloomberg was set to go on his weekly radio hour with 710 AM radio host John Gambling.
No sooner had the host, who has met with the mayor nearly every week at the same hour for the last decade, said “Good morning,” than Mr. Bloomberg, his voice trembling with anger, slammed the nation’s political culture for sitting by while the bodies piled up.
“You know, soothing words are nice, but maybe it’s time that the two people who want to be President of the United States stand up and tell us what they are going to do about it, because this is obviously a problem across the country,” he inveighed.