Tag Archives: empire state building

The Cinch Review

“If someone pointed a gun at you …?” – Mayor Bloomberg’s interesting question

In a press conference this week, Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York was defending the actions of the police officers who shot the gunman outside of the Empire State Building last week, killing him but also wounding nine innocent bystanders.

Now, I don’t condemn the police for the wounding of those people, simply because I know how densely populated is that area with tourists/commuters/people-selling-things-to-tourists and you name it. Simply put, if you point a gun straight-away in any direction there and fire it the bullet is going to find someone’s body, whether within close-range or down the block. The choice of the gunman to point his gun at the police took away their option not to fire. Using semi-automatics, they fired 16 rounds between them. Yes, they should have been able to do the job with less, but it’s difficult to seriously fault them given the abrupt and terrifying circumstance. I’m assuming at that close-range that many of the bystanders who were hit were hit by bullets or fragments of bullets which had already passed through the killer’s body. The video doesn’t show the officers firing wildly all about. Again, given the density of human flesh in that neighborhood, injuries to bystanders were inevitable. Thank God no one else was killed.

But that’s not why I’m interested in what Mayor Mike Bloomberg said at this press conference. In response to some critical question about the actions of the police officers, the famously pro-gun-control mayor is quoted as saying the following: “Let me ask you this: If somebody pointed a gun at you, and you had a gun in your pocket, what would you do?” It’s a rhetorical question, of-course, meant to defend the actions of the police officers.

It is a funny question on more than one level, coming from him. Firstly, due to the strictness of New York City’s gun control regulations (which he would only be inclined to make stricter) it is almost impossible to conceive of a situation where that reporter would legally be able to have “a gun in [his] pocket.” Merely getting a permit to own a handgun and keep it locked up, unloaded, at home, is a matter of enormous difficulty in New York City, and the authorities are under no obligation to issue it to you at all, even if you jump through every hoop successfully. They can simply say, “Ah, we don’t like your face,” or, “We don’t feel like it today.” It is in their discretion.

And getting a permit to actually carry a loaded handgun on your person in the city is many times more difficult again, and the city actively discourages people from even attempting to do so. It’s long been a matter of contention among those who are interested that you pretty much need to be a Hollywood star, some other kind of super-celebrity or mega-wealthy character in order to be anointed with such a permit. No doubt there are exceptions, but the deck is heavily stacked against any Joe or Jane Schmo, and the Second Amendment be damned (as indeed it is in New York City).

So Mayor Bloomberg’s question —If somebody pointed a gun at you, and you had a gun in your pocket, what would you do?—is kind of ludicrous on the face of it. The answer is: “Mr. Mayor, I wouldn’t have a gun in my pocket, thanks to you and your ilk, so I guess what I would do in that situation is die.”

And indeed, many people have died and do die in this city and others like it for the want of being able to defend themselves against murdering thugs.

Mayor Bloomberg’s question is also funny because it presumes, you’ll notice, that there is a moral right to pull out a gun and defend yourself if someone is threatening your life with one. “If somebody pointed a gun at you, and you had a gun in your pocket, what would you do?” The question presumes not only that anyone would use their gun to defend themselves in that situation, but that it would also be the right thing to do. Continue reading “If someone pointed a gun at you …?” – Mayor Bloomberg’s interesting question

The Cinch Review

Empire State Building shooting

Update 10:45 a.m.: So, although reports continue to be somewhat contradictory, it does appear at this point to have been an isolated shooting, based on a personal motive, unconnected to terrorism. The picture will be clearer after a few hours, but I think it would be pointless for the likes of yours truly to continue updating at this point.

So, signing off, with a prayer for the recovery of those who are being treated for their injuries as a result of this morning’s events.

Update 10:28 a.m.: Local TV now interviewing people outside kvetching about not being able to get where they’re going.

Two are reported dead, counting the gunman. Eight others reported injured.

Suspect was reportedly fired from his job yesterday, according to local CBS News television. They also report that it was the manager of the business who was shot and killed by the gunman, at about 9 a.m. today.

Update 10:15 a.m.: NY Post says it was a “dispute between coworkers” which spilled out onto the street.

Update 10:09 a.m.: Shooter was “disgruntled employee” of a business located at the building, according to a report on NBC New York.

At least 10 people shot at the Empire State Building in New York City this morning, including reportedly the gunman. In addition to the total lock-down by the NYPD around 34th St. and 5th avenue, the FBI is on the scene. At this stage all the injured are said to have been taken to hospitals.

Based on watching the police activity on TV and laying down of markers, it appears that at least some of the shooting took place right in front of the building on 5th avenue between 33rd and 34th. Some victims reportedly found in the lobby.

The obvious remark is that no one would start shooting at that location unless they were fully prepared to lose their own life in the process. It is one of the iconic sites in Manhattan were there is always a police presence and an expectation of possible terrorism. If anything, at this point, it is surprising the gunman managed to shoot so many people. But at this point what we really know is nothing. Will update this post if it seems justified.