Good health is a balance between the things that would kill you and the things working to keep you alive. Freedom is a balance between the things that would enslave you and the things that protect your individual rights. Specifically, the Constitution of the United States and the judicial system that upholds its tenets. Without the Constitution and the courts, the jackboot of governmental authority would have ground our freedoms to dust a long time ago. For our own safety and protection, obviously. The odd thing: both sides of the political spectrum are willing to sacrifice our God-given, hard-won liberty for the sake of expediency. Their rallying cry: something must be done! For example . . .
The killing of Zurana Horton. A gang banger inadvertently mowed down Ms. Horton as she picked up her kids from school. The NY Post reacted with the usual outraged righteous indignation. Today, they have an answer: throw our Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure onto the bonfire of the inanities.
The mindless murder of a Brooklyn mother on a Brownsville street last Friday should teach a little humility to critics of the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk effort to cleanse the city of illegal guns.
But it won’t — even though stop-and-frisk saves lives, and even though no other practical anti-gun policy exists.
This is what I’ve come to call the “carpets and curtains” argument, in honor of my ex-wife. When she wanted to fit carpets and curtains into a home we’d renovated, she offered me the choice: nothing at all or a bill that set my hair on fire. We must have carpets and curtains! Something must be done! All or nothing.
BTW: the home already had carpets and curtains, just as New York City already has gun laws. Sometimes you just have to live with what you’ve got—and that’s the way it is. Tragic loss of life through violence is part of the price we must pay to live in a free society. Or any society, for that matter.
What’s to be done?
Not a lot can be done.
Calls for tougher national gun laws amount to hot air. Besides, the streets are already saturated with illegal handguns.
That leaves aggressive street-crime policing — by no means a perfect solution, but a proven tool for reducing gun violence.
Stop-and-frisk is an integral part of it. Some 8,085 weapons, including 814 firearms, were taken off the streets last year by stop-and-frisk cops.
Think of that, potentially, as 814 fewer murders — even if those whose lives the program saved will never know it, and thus never will be able to testify on behalf of the program.
More aggressive policing NEEDS stop-and-frisk, apparently. You can’t have it without it, it seems. In fact, The Post sees only one problem: the charge that stop-and-frisk is racist; most of the friskees are minorities. The fact that people of color protesting the Horton shooting are against stop-and-frisk barely gives the paper pause.
Firebrand City Councilman Charles Barron over the weekend demanded that guns be kept out of minority neighborhoods — but he repeatedly slams the only effective means of doing that: stop-and-frisk.
“The police need to get a brand-new assignment, rather than harassing young black and Latino males,” he said last month.
Meanwhile, on the very day Horton was shot, protesters, including leftist Professor Cornel West, were rallying in Harlem against stop-and-frisk. West railed against “arbitrary police power.”
No doubt, Zurana Horton and her now-motherless 12 kids would have wished for a bit more of that “arbitrary police power.”
No doubt they shouldn’t get it. But what they should get is the right to keep and bear arms to defend themselves and deter crime in their neighborhood—when they achieve the age of majority. Until that day, and beyond, eternal vigilance remains the price of freedom.