Can it be only a coincidence that the mob attacks on women during the Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York City took place only a week or so after the controversy about the National Rifle Association’s plan to open a cafe in Times Square? It’s definitely not a coincidence that virtually no one has commented on the obvious connection between them. Indeed, it’s further evidence that most people today miss what ought to be the obvious link between private firearms and public safety. The NRA, in one of its perennial campaigns to spruce up its image, wants to open a cafe in Times Square, where you could buy NRA-brand sportswear, sip coffee and tea and play video games that simulate real gunfire. There would be no real guns, of course, because real guns are illegal in the Big Apple, which no doubt explains why the city is so pleasantly law-abiding.
Times Square, for decades, was the site of the most degrading and offensive pornography and live sex shows the human imagination could concoct. Anyone who objected to it was denounced as a bigot, a bluenose or a fascist who hated free speech and having fun.
Most of that filth is now cleaned up, I’m told, but there are still folks who object to what’s going on there — namely, citizens like gun gestapo guru Sen. Charles Schumer, who moans about the NRA plan as threatening to push the city back toward “Dodge City.” Mayor Rudolph Giuliani just says, “I don’t think it’s going to happen.” The City Council also thumped its chest and passed a resolution saying the cafe and its theme of guns should not be permitted to “take root.” The same authorities that for decades tolerated the sewer that Times Square had become now vow to ban a perfectly legal, harmless and indeed wholesome business.
Of course, what all the eminent citizens object to is the legitimacy of firearms that the NRA’s cafe would suggest. No one in the city’s political establishment wants to believe or wants others to believe that guns can be legitimate and even useful for protecting New Yorkers against the animals that the same authorities refuse to scrape out of its streets and parks. If the citizens started getting the idea that guns are legitimate, they might also start demanding to legalize guns inside the city.
Indeed, if guns were legal inside the city, it’s likely the mob attacks during the parade would never have happened. The Puerto Rican “youths” who thought it the height of good fun to spit on women, hit them, yell lewd insults at them, throw water on them and rip their clothes off would have found healthier and safer amusements. But then, of course, you have the police department to prevent that sort of thing, don’t you.
But of course, again, the whole point is that you don’t have the police department. The real scandal of the most recent “wildings” in New York is not that gangs of savages can roam the streets assaulting women at their leisure but that the cops — even when informed about it — will do absolutely nothing to stop or control it. One jogger in Central Park witnessed some of the attacks on women and alerted a contingent of some 40 police officers to them, but the cops “never budged.”
This, of course, yet again, is why the Framers of the Second Amendment knew private ownership of firearms was important enough to be included among the most fundamental rights of citizens. The police, in cities like New York, cannot and will not protect you. The Framers knew that neither the police nor the armies of their day could protect Americans in the pursuit of their fundamental rights and therefore that only Americans themselves could protect themselves.
To be fair, the Framers probably did not anticipate that cities like New York would hire, train and deploy police forces larger than most European armies of the time and that such forces would still be useless in protecting women from mob attacks in broad daylight. You have to be pretty far gone to imagine that kind of thing happening, but that’s where we’ve arrived today.
If the NRA ever builds its cafe in Times Square, it won’t stop any future attacks on women by mobs or criminals or even the local political leaders, but it might start reminding New Yorkers of what many other Americans outside the city have always known — that you can’t rely on government at any level to take care of you and defend you, that you ultimately have to be responsible for that yourself, and that you can do that only when the right to keep and bear arms is a lot more secure than it is in New York today.