The trial of Kermit Gosnell, the Pennsylvania abortionist charged with the murder of one woman and seven infants who had been born alive in his clinic, commenced in March to subdued media coverage. “A medical assistant told a jury Tuesday that she snipped the spines of at least 10 babies during unorthodox abortions at a Philadelphia clinic,” the Associated Press reported. These abortions, including one in which Gosnell’s employee plunged scissors into the neck of a newborn delivered in a toilet, were outside the ordinary, explained the AP, because “abortions are typically performed in utero.” A New York Times report on page A17 carefully identified Gosnell’s victims as “seven viable fetuses.” When a prosecutor asked the medical assistant, who has pled guilty to third-degree murder, whether she knew that what she was doing was wrong, she replied, “At first I didn’t.” Perhaps she thought she was merely performing an unorthodox procedure on a viable fetus.
After rushing to passage a highly restrictive new gun law in closed-door negotiations following the Sandy Hook massacre, New York governor Andrew Cuomo now protests that the obvious flaws in the bill are the result of the fact that “it was rushed to a vote in the legislature after closed-door negotiations.” Going off half-cocked, in other words. The main immediate problem is the law’s ban on magazines holding more than seven rounds: Nobody thought to tell the geniuses in Albany that practically nobody makes magazines that hold seven rounds or fewer, meaning that the law amounts to a ban on all firearms with detachable magazines, or about 90 percent of handguns and rifles, and therefore is probably unconstitutional. Governor Cuomo’s response was the sort of thing satirists spend a lifetime trying to dream up: Ten-round magazines will now be acceptable, he proclaims, but residents will be required to keep no more than seven bullets in them. We like to imagine a Bronx gangster preparing for a Saturday night, carefully thumbing 9mm rounds into his Glock and conscientiously stopping at number seven in deference to Governor Cuomo and his delicate sensibilities.
New Jersey father Shawn Moore received a surprise visit in March from four police officers in SWAT gear and two representatives of the state’s child-welfare agency. The raiding party demanded Moore present any weapons in the house, citing potential child endangerment. The source of their worry? A Facebook photo of Moore’s eleven-year-old son holding a .22-caliber rifle made to look like an “assault weapon.” Never mind that Moore is a certified firearms and hunting instructor, or that the boy had passed a hunter-safety test and frequently accompanied his father on deer trails, or that the rifle — a birthday present — is quite literally small-bore, widely available, and common for youths and beginners, or that the boy is smiling from ear to ear in the photo in question. Moore by all accounts handled himself admirably in dealing with the police. Remind us again who the “gun nuts” are?
Michael Bloomberg has been, in many ways, a problematic mayor of New York, bullying, nattering, invested in crackpot or feel-good causes (bike lanes, gun bans). The one thing he has done right has been the most important thing: He has kept crime down. This has saved thousands of lives, made New York livable, and boosted the economy in a dozen ways. This fall he will be succeeded by the reign of the tiny hacks — New York City Democrats, which is to say union shills, race hustlers, and professional gays. City Council president Christine Quinn, the largest of the dwarfs, backs a bill to place an inspector general alongside the police department, and Bloomberg rightly blasts it. “[We do not] need two competing police commissioners.” Cops down the line would feel second-guessed, and would retreat to the natural inertia of minimal work and minimal crime-fighting. “We cannot afford to play election-year politics with the safety of our city.” True — yet New York is doing just that (Quinn has vowed to pass an inspector-general bill over Bloomberg’s veto). We can’t stand him while he is here, but how we will miss him when he is gone.