Coming from anyone else, it would sound crazy. Actually, it sounds crazy coming from quintessential nanny state Mayor Michael Bloomberg, but at least it’s of a piece with his past statements and legislative initiatives.
According to The Observer, on Monday Bloomie held a press conference in Midtown Manhattan during which he offered up his prescription for averting future Boston Marathon bombings: “Have more cameras and that kind of stuff.”
Acknowledging that people “worried about privacy have a legitimate worry” about such invasive recommendations, he observed:
[W]e live in a complex word where you’re going to have to have a level of security greater than you did back in the olden days, if you will.
And if you won’t? Never mind that. It won’t be your choice. In order to make the transition toward an all-seeing government eye nice and kosher, Bloomie explained, “Our laws and our interpretation of the Constitution, I think, have to change.”
If Muhammad won’t come to the mountain… He continued:
Look, we live in a very dangerous world. We know there are people who want to take away our freedoms. New Yorkers probably know that as much if not more than anybody else…
Those in disbelief over the seemingly frank admission in that last sentence should note that the phrase replaced by the ellipsis is “after the terrible tragedy of 9/11.”
Tying his comments to the gun debate (an argument he has already waded into, ponying up $12 million of his own money for an ad blitz demanding tougher gun laws), the mayor went on:
Clearly the Supreme Court has recognized that you have to have different interpretations of the Second Amendment and what it applies to and reasonable gun laws … Here we’re going to have to live with reasonable levels of security.
It really says something bad about us that we have to do it. But our obligation first and foremost is to keep our kids safe in the schools; first and foremost, to keep you safe if you go to a sporting event; first and foremost is to keep you safe if you walk down the streets or go into our parks. We cannot let the terrorists put us in a situation where we can’t do those things.
It’s worth pointing out that his concern over letting “terrorists put us in a situation where we” can’t “go to a sporting event” stops short of the stadium concession stand, where — if he had his druthers — New Yorkers would be unable to buy a soda larger than 16 ounces. In other words, he doesn’t want terrorists running our lives mainly because it would infringe on the rightful province of government.
And what of the idea of cracking down on fanatical religious fringe groups who have demonstrated repeatedly their intention to do us grievous harm? Bloomberg had an answer for that, too:
What we can’t do is let the protection get in the way of us enjoying our freedoms. You still want to let people practice their religion, no matter what that religion is. And I think one of the great dangers here is going and categorizing anybody from one religion as a terrorist. That’s not true … That would let the terrorists win. That’s what they want us to do.
In short, it’s not all of the Constitution Bloomberg wants to revamp. He’s perfectly OK retaining the portion of the First Amendment that protects a citizen’s (or non-citizen’s) right to blow up another citizen in the name of religious freedom. But when it comes to exercising personal liberties, whether it is eating food not approved by the state, bottle-feeding your baby, or even donating food to homeless shelters, fuhgeddaboutit.
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