“Mike will get it done” is the concluding message of Mike Bloomberg’s 60-second anti-gun Super Bowl commercial. Get what done? The commercial, which cost Bloomberg $11 million, is about a young aspiring football player who was shot to death. But if Bloomberg has a plan to stop people from being shot to death, I’d like to hear it. Here’s the spot.
I think Bloomberg was a decent mayor, fairly fiscally prudent and pro-business, albeit with silly nanny-state tendencies, most of which didn’t amount to much. I don’t have much of a stake in the gun issue one way or the other; I’m indifferent about, whether, say, we should reinstate the so-called assault-weapons ban. I don’t think such a ban (or extending background checks to the tiny minority of private gun sales, or anything else anyone has proposed) would make any difference with respect to gun violence. Gun-control proposals seem to me to amount to a kind of taste signaling: “Vote for me, I hate the same stuff you hate.”
It’s fatuous for Bloomberg or anyone else to essentially take the position that he should be elected based on a passionate hostility to guns rather than any specific policy proposal. Guns are an emotional issue, and Bloomberg is exploiting emotions here, not making a rational case for this or that regulation. (The ad also falsely states that 2,900 children die from gun violence every year; the shooting victim described in the spot, while young, was not a child, and the actual number is about half of that.)
As far as I can tell, Bloomberg’s gun-control policies wouldn’t have made a difference in the case of the subject of the advertisement, George Kemp. Kemp, 20, of the Houston area, was slain in 2013 in a gang-related shooting involving two handguns. How would Bloomberg have saved his life had he been president in 2013? Kemp’s mother, Calandrian Simpson Kemp, seen in the commercial, belongs to a group called Moms Demand Action; their motto is “Together, we will end gun violence.” How?