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Vester Flanagan (courtesy

“Had [TV news killer Vester] Flanagan lived in New York State, the story would likely have been very different,”‘s Robert J. Spitzer writes. “I know this first-hand, because I applied for a state pistol permit two years ago. Had Flanagan been required to do what I had to do, it is highly unlikely that he could have legally obtained a permit, and therefore a gun.” Highly unlikely. Legally. Two qualifiers which tell the tale. Truth be told, criminals and crazies have no problem obtaining a gun illegally, which renders Spitzer’s argument moot. But let’s see how he came to that irrelevant conclusion . . .

To begin with, the permit license application asks, among other things, if the applicant has ever been terminated or discharged from any employment for cause (former employers must also be listed), undergone treatment for alcohol or drug use, suffered from any mental illness, been subject to a family court proceeding or has ever had any vehicle or traffic offenses.

Flannagan hadn’t undergone treatment for alcohol or drug use. As far as we know, he wasn’t treated for mental illness. He wasn’t subject to family court proceedings. He may or may not have received a speeding ticket or other vehicular offense. As for being terminated from employment for cause, yup, true. He was terminated by two employers. So have I. So have a lot of people.

Once submitted, the application, along with fingerprints, is passed to the city police, county sheriff’s department, the state police, probation department, county district attorney, the state Department of Criminal Justice and Office of Mental Health, not to mention the FBI’s Criminal History Record database.

None of those agencies had Flanagan on their radar.

That’s not all. Applicants also submit the names of four character references — who separately must submit detailed, notarized information explaining their relationship to the applicant; whether they had known the person to engage in any illegal activities, have any psychological problems, demonstrate any erratic behavior or commit any act of violence; and state whether or not they feel the applicant is a person of good moral character.

Could Flanagan have provided those “sterling” references? We know that a former neighbor told the media that “He was a very personable man, very nice and respectful. I never saw this coming… I’ll never believe it, but it happened.” So most likely, yes.

The references also must describe the applicant’s “demeanor or behavior” and local reputation, and say whether they could think of any reason why the person should not be granted a permit. (I also had an in-person interview with the local police.)

Applicants select their references; they’re hardly likely to ask someone to write to the licensing board who’s going to say anything negative about them. As for a face-to-face interview, government gatekeepers aren’t the sharpest psychologists on the block. Lest we forget, Isla Vista shooter Eliott Rodger had a police interview after he’d been flagged as potentially suicidal and violent. He convinced Santa Barbara County Sheriffs that he was fine. I reckon Flanagan could have passed a police interview.

Here’s the big point: Because New York is a “may carry” state, the judge has discretion to deny the application if any red flags — not just a felony or obvious mental health condition — appear. Once local authorities got a whiff of a background like Flanagan’s, they would have had ample cause to seek more information, and recommend denial, which could have easily come from former employers or family members.

That assumes that the bureaucracy would have gotten a “whiff” of Flannagan’s potential for violence. That’s a big “if.” Truth be told, Spitzer knows that his faith in New York’s onerous gun control laws is fundamentally flawed.

Could Flanagan have gotten a gun on the black market if licensed gun dealers turned him away? Probably — but it would have been harder, and he would run the risk of arrest.

So the possibility of making it harder – but not impossible – for a deranged killer to legally obtain a firearms justifies making it harder – if not impossible – for millions of law-abiding citizens to exercise their natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. Gotcha.

Anyway, what then? If Flanagan had lived in The Empire State and failed to jump over the hurdles to legal firearms purchase, would he have abandoned his homicidal plans?

Many will respond as did Florida senator and presidential candidate Marco Rubio, who said after the shooting: “It’s not the guns, it’s the people who are committing these crimes. . . . What law in the world could have prevented him from killing them?”

Well, senator, yes: A person can kill another through many means, but no interpersonal tool is more effective than a gun. And unless you are fine with gun-toting crazed people, then shouldn’t the government do what it can to prevent them from getting access?

Because doing so prohibits people who have a Second Amendment-protected right to keep and bear arms from doing so. Why is that so hard to understand? Unless, of course, you don’t care. I wonder if Spitzer got his permit . . .

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      • Given the circumstances, the dirtbag could have killed that TV crew with a baseball bat, or a <$10 machete from Mart-Mart or HF. Pull your heads out and listen-up, you dumb-arse anti-gun/gun-controllers: the guns aren't the problem. It's the people, you stupid people.

        Seven years ago, just before the big oil rush kicked-off, the state of North Dakota went a WHOLE YEAR (2008) without a gun-related murder, despite having some kind of gun(s) in about 50 percent of the homes in the state. I'll say it again: ONE YEAR WITHOUT A GUN-RELATED MURDER IN THE ENTIRE STATE. There were a total of 3 murders that year; 2 with knives/cutting instruments, and one with hands/fists/feet, despite the state having a high density of firearms and very relaxed shall-issue handgun carry laws since 1986. Here's a link to the 2008 FBI Uniform Crime Report, table 20, which lists the number of murders by state, and what tools were used:

        Proof positive that GUNS, BY THEMSELVES, ARE NOT THE PROBLEM. Period.

        Next time someone uses that tired old "easy availability of guns" line, set them straight.

  1. >no interpersonal tool is more effective than a gun.
    “Do you have a license for all this fertilizer?”

    • Do you have a license for that big-ass rock? Seriously, people have been killing each other since Cain killed Abel. If they have a bone to pick with someone, there are many ways without a gun that have been used for thousands of years.

  2. Man, and I thought that buying a handgun in California was tough. Getting a permit in NY is like filling out the SF-86 when I went for a security clearance from the DOD.

    • Or the wringer the Sheriffs put you through to apply for a CCW in Southern California (some of which requirements are of highly questionable legality).

    • You know, something just clicked with me. I think I finally figured out why those who support gun control (the commoners, not the elites) don’t know what regulations are already in place. Anyone could look it up, certainly, but the restrictions in place are never advertised or touted.

      If everyone know how many laws were in place and then looked around at the crime rates they would know that it wasn’t working.

      • You’re assigning too much positive intentions. Gun grabbers just want to enslave you long enough for you too starve you so they can stack you tight in an oven or mass grave. They can say that’s not what they want, but what would they say if it was. Gun grabbers are just your stupid neighbors, and even if you employ then in government, it won’t change that.

        NYT Article is GRAPHIC proof of their epic stupidity though. Follow their argument all the way through. . .
        IF the perp couldn’t buy a gun in NY, due to the enforcement of gun laws, and couldn’t obtain one illegally otherwise, then why would they need to come after YOUR GUNS???


    • I have my permit in upstate NY. Here was my process.

      1.) Print application from the county clerk website (must be double sided printing, two copies).
      2.) Fill out all paperwork in duplicate. Including 4 non-relative references (name & info), and spouses information (if applicable). If you lived in the county for less than 3 years, then you will need 3 more references, that will have to sign the paperwork in front of a notary.
      3.) Take a day off work
      4.) Drive to county clerk, park in a parking garage
      5.) Sign the NYSAFE Act Opt-Out Form to keep my permit info private
      6.) Pay $14 to get my photos taken
      7.) Pay $126 for processing fees
      8.) Fill out my permit card, and apply shooting hand thumbprint to card (my county uses paper cards and a typewriter).
      9.) Walk over to sheriffs office
      10.) Get fingerprinted, and a receipt
      11.) Walk receipt back to clerks office and turn in
      12.) Get final receipt with permit number and information packet
      13.) Pay for parking ($12)
      14.) Wait for permit (6-12 months typical, I received mine in 7 because I called to reminded them of the 6 month law).
      15.) Grand total: $152, 4 hours of time, a day off of work, and a 7 month wait.

      • I just want to point out that he could have had his permit before being fired. People are good until they act bad.

        • Class requirements are county to county. Monroe county doesn’t require a class, (Rochester area) but Orleans county does (which is the middle of nowhere). Haven’t quite figured that out.

      • Wow. I have 2 concealed carry permits (I don’t need a permit to buy or own): WA (resident) and OR (non-resident); here’s my process:
        1. Go to county sheriff’s office, free parking, in town
        2. Ask the friendly lady about getting a concealed carry permit
        3. Pay (in cash) $50.75; covers permit and finger-stamping
        4. Fill out a form, that the lady handed me, with the pen she handed me (or my own, if I wanted)
        5. Get my fingers stamped electronically (all of them, plus a whole-hand stamp)
        6. Wait 2 weeks (she said it’d be between 2 and 4 weeks) for it to arrive in the mail.
        Totals: lunch break, $50.75, 2 week wait
        1. Either have already done Hunter Safety in Oregon (or other recognized state) or take a (online, if you want) class ~ 2-4 hours – in my case I did both, because I didn’t realize that the hunter safety I took as a kid would be enough
        2. Make an appointment with the Sheriff of the neighboring county; this part is the longest part; 3 months
        3. Fill out forms
        4. Write a letter explaining why I want it (OR is may issue to non-residents)
        5. Go to the sheriffs office, free parking, but 45 mins away
        6. Wait for my appointment
        7. Get my fingers stamped (same style as in WA), by a very friendly lady
        8. Let the lady photocopy my hunter’s ed license and my certificate of completion for the class
        9. Pay $65; covers the whole process, once again
        9. Wait 1 week (she said it’d be about 3-6 weeks, I think)
        Totals: half-day off work, total of about 3 months and a week wait, $65, plus, say, 3 gallons of gas

        All in all, I got 2 CPLs, that cover probably 60-70% of the country, in far less time (both actual used time and wait time) and for a bit less money than that one NY permit. Note: both WA and OR are “blue” states as well; perhaps slave state is not the right term, but there is a distinct disparity here that is not simply down to party lines.

  3. Who gives a shit if he couldn’t have obtained a pistol had he been living in New York. Did these liberal clowns not see the same video that I did? He stood behind his victims for a good long time, raising and aiming his weapon at them without being noticed. I suppose it would be less of a tragidy or gruesome or whatever the hell to these liberal filth if he used a knife.

    • Yeah ‘he stood behind them for a good long time’.

      Hell, almost long enough for someone to call the cops right?



  4. How about the deadly gun show loophole? Could he have not bought a gun from the same type of people who sell other criminals guns?

  5. The answer is very simple………….
    If we make guns illegal, then nobody will get shot anymore.
    That’s how we stopped everybody from doing drugs.

    • Worked great with booze during Prohibition also. And making prostitution illegal has also made that go away. Or has it ? Lawyers and Politicians seem to think that making laws is the same as preventing the actions those laws prohibit. We all know that is not true but they keep on feeding us that line. What is odd is that anyone still believes those fairy tales. And that any of these clowns get re-elected.

      • China banned weapons longer ago than that and the farmers developed deadly hand to hand combat and techniques for fighting using farm implements.

        History has too many examples and weapons grabbers always (in a more littered eventuality) turned out to be the ones that were (and needed to be) eradicated.

  6. There is nothing special to do in New York state to get a shotgun. Even the city you can get one without too much work, just takes them forever to process it. (Oh, but I guess a shotgun wouldn’t work.)

    • For that matter, the guy could have gotten a muzzle loader without so much as filling out a 4473, even in NY.

  7. I will go ahead and concede his argument is reality based and has merit for the sake of the following comment .
    If he was turned down to legally purchase a pistol but then went out on the street and got one black market
    ( illegally ) , and then came after his victim who unfortunately was also unable to be armed , the result would be the same , wood it not ?
    The only thing that would have actually had a chance to change the outcome would have been if both parties had been armed and the intended victim been more aware of her surroundings and shot the big fat liberal black gay dude before he shot her .

    • Or he could have just acquired a rather large knife and fillet himself some reporters but that would be alright to these people because at least he didn’t shoot them.

    • While we try to keep our brains from pouring out of our ears as we read and debunk their vitriolic garbage.

  8. Doesn’t matter. SEE: How criminals in Chicago get guns illegally. Warning-I agree with street-light garry mccarthy. A FIRST-another criminal will sell him one. Or a “reference” will do a straw purchase for his evil azz…obviuosly he was pretty persuasive to keep getting hired and get plenty of other jobs…even more odd Garry McCarthy didn’t call for banning all guns today-he called for much greater punishment. But he’s still an idiot because most gun crimes can be federally charged.

  9. If he had been in NY, or he could have just decided to do it this way in VA, he could have purchased a “hunting” rifle and done the same crime. Maybe close up, maybe from a distance. And if he had done it from a distance and then gotten away, I believe he would have become another serial killer sniper like back in 2002. He had (stolen) license plates, disguises, and a second handgun in his car, so he was planning something. I am surprised he was not a fan boy of John Allen Muhammed — only spree killer he did not mention in his rants.

    • Or depending on county a pump action and cut the barrel down, as lets face it being on the up and up wasn’t a huge concern for the guy who was planning murders. Still up close and personal and would have created an even more disturbing GoPro.

    • If it’s recent, you’ll have to explain it, and they may decide that since you aren’t responsible enough to obey traffic laws, then you aren’t responsible enough to own a pistol. I had a speeding ticket conviction about 10 years before I applied for my permit, but it never showed up on the driver’s license abstract I had to order from the DMV as part of the permit application process.

      Depending on the county, they’ll make you log in to Facebook and let them snoop around. It’s absolutely ridiculous.

      • Facebook login: I’m astounded. Glad I signed up with a pseudonym before FB began enforcing their real name policy and why I strongly recommend folks use a VPN to mask their IP address.

        Am not a tinhat, but well understand how technology can be abused.

        • If you’re concerned enough about your privacy to jump through those hoops, why not just skip Facebook altogether? I’ve never used FB, and as far as I can tell, my life is probably better for it.

          • Wish it were practical. In my case, FB became effectively mandated for timely group communication. Fortunately I know a number of FB engineers. They are as disturbed by it as well as we often discuss how to blindside big brother.

  10. Robert,
    “As for being terminated from employment for cause, yup, true. He was terminated by two employers. So have I. So have a lot of people”

    Are you conflating termination and termination for cause? I believe terminated for cause means misconduct. An employee is typically ineligible for unemployment when terminated for cause. Even if that’s the case, employers risk litigation if disclosed. My management marching orders were to always refer inquiries to HR and they would only disclose dates of employment, but nothing else. I’m unaware that Flanagan was actually terminated for cause rather than simply terminated.

    Most employers don’t want repercussions and prefer an amicable separation – particularly when a minority / protected class (e.g., > 45) employee is involved.

    The more interesting question is over-reaching. How is one’s employment history pertinent to firearms ownership?

    • This. As far as I’m aware, “Termination for cause” is basically for having committed a crime being the reason for being terminated from employment. If you got into a fistfight at work or stole from petty cash. I suspect you haven’t been let go from a job for those things. Being shown the door because of a “communication problem” or “because you weren’t a good fit” both euphemisms for some manager not liking you is not “Termination for cause”

      A good test for this is if you’re able to claim unemployment benefits after being shown the door.


  11. The shooter was allegedly homosexual correct? If so, he could have gotten a gun much more easily by saying he was afraid of being the victim of a hate crime. Think about it: he’s black and gay. Twofer! Hell, if he converted to Islam and was living in NY, he would have been applicable for a select fire, short barrel AR with 60 round magazine.

    • I’d happily show up in full drag if the Santa Clara County CA Sheriff would issue a CCW for that reason. Around Halloween, I might be mistaken for an employee – they’re a festive bunch. No permits pending the outcome of the Peruta case we’re told. Sadly, no priority for RuPaul lookalikes either.

  12. As a former NYer with a still valid N Y State pistol Permit that has no restrictions, doesn’t expire, and is good till revoked.
    I can say. If this person was willing to jump through all the right hoops. Lived in and applied for in the proper County, He would most certainly gotten a permit. Its easy enough to lie or give a mistruth during the 9-15 month process at some point. Just never say anything about wanting it for self defense and odds are he would have it. Most folks in NY just aren’t really willing to jump through all the hoops. And the State knows that. In the end the most important part of the process. Is the interview with the Sheriffs Dept, Get through that one. The Judge signs it. Any NY State judge can be the one who signs you, My original restricted License was signed by a Family Court judge. My unrestricted by a Superior Court Judge. Who signs it, is just whom ever gets your paperwork from the Sheriffs Dept. You never see a judge at all. At any part of the process.

    • The Safe Act made it so all NY pistol permits have to be renewed every 5 years, even though they were all valid until revoked before that. If your permit was issued before the Safe Act, I think you have until January 2018 to renew it. You better hope that they also don’t find out that you do not live in the state.

      Thanks for leaving. Another pro-gun voter bitches out, instead of staying and fighting for our rights.

      • I left NY in 1998. I did my part during the original assault weapons ban. I had spoken to the sheriff about it back in 2010. At that time nothing was mentioned about renewal.

  13. “Here’s the big point: Because New York is a “may carry” state, the judge has discretion to deny the application if any red flags — not just a felony or obvious mental health condition — appear. Once local authorities got a whiff of a background like Flanagan’s, they would have had ample cause to seek more information, and recommend denial, which could have easily come from former employers or family members.”

    So that’s why gun crime is so low in New York!

    • If there is any obvious “red flag” its dead in the water at that point. The paper work never gets to the next level.
      Anyone can tell a slight mistruth and get away with it at some point in a conversation. This is all written.
      In NY the only interview the permit applicant has is with the Sheriffs Dept. The last step before it goes to a Judge, any Judge. Who Im sure doesn’t read, it look at it or anything. Its been passed by all before him/her. Its just another form that gets a rubber stamp signature.

      • Jay, it’s different in every county, and sometimes different for towns in the same county. A friend of mine went for his in Colonie (part of Albany County). He was interviewed by the town PD, an officer went door to door in his neighborhood and asked about him, then he actually had to go before a judge and answer questions. He had a clean record, and no red flags. The whole process took from September 2013 to February 2015 (yes 17 months, just to be able to legally own a pistol in this state).

        • Ive been out of NY State for almost 20 years.
          My original permit was in Orange County last was in Ulster.
          Restricted in Orange, but a full carry just the same.
          The Ulster Sheriff didn’t believe in restrictions at that time. So mine was removed.
          My restriction was “while carrying large sums of money belonging to or part of my business”.
          I asked a judge I knew personally. What does that mean actually??
          His answer to me was simple. If it was my restriction. Id determine what a large sum is if and when. With a large wink. In Orange County only restricted permits were issued.
          Yes even back then. What county you lived in made a big difference.
          But other then time. If you have the patience you would get it in the area I had lived in.
          Im sure some has changed but not much in the Hudson Valley.

  14. Well obviously this well balanced fellow would of shrugged the rejection off and went on his merry way to a happy life filled with rainbows and unicorns. But no the guns and their evil ways took him in a different direction.

  15. Or instead of bothering with all that asinine stupidity in the first place, he could have simply driven to any street corner above 96th but better yet 110th and asked some homiez if he could get him a gat. Hell, he might even have had several to choose from, and most likely for about the same amount of money or less than what it would cost to buy the gun at a dealer plus the application and fingerprint fees. Fools, the whole lot of them.


  16. Yes he’d of been denied in NY along with every other law-abiding American citizen stripped of a Right. The difference is the lawful people would give up whereas the criminal will continue until they acquire.

    There is an obvious undeniable reality, the media people were not armed nor prepared to think about self-protection. They were not aware of their environment. Had they been they’d of taken notice of the guy and something other than a turkey shoot would have occurred. Very sad, it didn’t have to happen. Completely unprepared people doing a risky job.

  17. Getting a NY State pistol permit is like a freaking SF-86 form. I’ve got excellent references and my county still drags their feet. That said I know of less than legal ways to get a handgun in about 24hours but I will play by the rules. Long guns don’t need any permits, my background check for long guns clears almost instantly. I also have a Virginia carry permit, funny I got it before NY and my county could figure anything out….they are nothing like NY but they ask about mental illness too. Nothing would have stopped this guy.

  18. Slightly OT but timely-

    Say, a thought experiment- remember the OC Chipotle Tards in Texas, the goofy kids in cammies taking pics of themselves in low ready?

    Remember how MDA and Everytown Bloomturd Sock Puppets had a hi$$y fit ?

    Compare and contrast to this OC PantherTards in Texas latest demonstration:

    Just a “little” more aggro… so, ya think there might be anything, even a tiny hi$$y now on Moms Fakebook page?

    Uh…nope, nothing there yet.

    Wonder why? Maybe it doesnt fit The Narrative?

    The whole Lefty Gun Control Thang is falling in a shambles as the Left consumes itself, in hypocrisy and tribalism in-fighting one another for rapidly declining interest among the RealityBasedFolk.

    Meanwhile, wonder how those new gun owners stats are coming along…more women buyers, I bet…


    • Those “Panthers” are useful idiots. I mean, their work did wonders for California, right?

      Of course, they have to attack TX, a bastion of relative liberty as compared to other high-population states.

      The bulk of the population has to be brought under the hoplophobe tyranny.

  19. ZZZZ. More from the media- victim was one of ours, therefore never mind the facts, just emotion.
    LIke the rest of the news they have corrupted for the last thirty years, ends justifies the means for the Narrative.

    Too bad for them no one cares what the media thinks any more.
    Except Andy Parker, who will get his 15 minutes of ego gratification.

  20. I doubt that getting an illegal gun on the black market is harder (or more costly) than getting a legal gun in NY.

    It depends on who you know (in both cases).

  21. I don’t care if New York’s laws would have hindered the killer. They are inherently unconstitutional, and violate 5he basic civil rights of the law-abiding.

  22. The following is called a false dichotomy critical thinking/argumentation error:

    “Well, senator, yes: A person can kill another through many means, but no interpersonal tool is more effective than a gun. And unless you are fine with gun-toting crazed people, then shouldn’t the government do what it can to prevent them from getting access?”

    He provides an if/then “conclusion” with the “then” being the only conclusion possible.

    Fail. Try again Spitzer.

  23. That’s not correct for all of NYS. I have had my permit over 30 my wife as has one and our youngest just submitted her’s.

    Ours is done by the county Sheriff only not city pd ,state pd too .

    No listing of past employers , no interviews by a judge , the called her references and asked a couple questions ,heck there are too many errors for me to address as I’m late for the gym.

    She is on track to get it after 3 months of submitting ……

  24. “Shouldn’t the government do something” are words that make my skin crawl. I get the sense that people who say things like this really view the government as a parental figure, and that’s horrifying and dangerous.

  25. Sorry if I’m confused but is Sptizer confusing a carry permit with a purchase permit? Is the NY procedure that draconian for simple purchase?

    • Short answer: Yes.

      You cannot purchase a handgun in New York State without a handgun permit. In many counties “handgun permit” and “concealed carry permit” are interchangeable.

      According to state law, you cannot handle a handgun without a permit unless on a certified gun range with a certified instructor. This includes in a gun store. Nor can you buy common handgun ammunition.

    • In the state of New York, you cannot purchase, use, or even touch a handgun without a permit. Depending on the county, this process can take 2 to 18 months (or never, in the case of NYC).

  26. It occurs to me that if a gun shop were to have refused to sell to Flanagan he would have probably sued them for discriminating against homosexuals and blacks. Wonder how the uber-PC idiots who inhabit the various states’ “Human Rights Commissions” would have handled that?

    • Anti gun blacks and anti gun homosexuals would be glad to sue for discrimination just like the same people who are suing the confederate flag gun store.
      They will use any weapon they can to take guns away from law abiding people.

  27. Spitzer is an idiot. I couldn’t buy a gun from the John Jovino Gun Shop in Manhattan, but I know an area about a mile away where I can buy a gun and ammo along with some crystalline powders.

  28. You nailed it down in the last paragraph, Bob.

    They don’t care. Ox-goring is legitimized by political correctness, ya see.

  29. Should the government do something? No. They’ve proven time and again they’re inefficient and ineffective in such matters, and their involvement often makes a situation worse. The solution is to get out of the way of the people, and let the people sort things out on a case by case basis (or by DGU basis, if you prefer).

  30. The illegal New york system is as close to a ban on handguns as you can practically get without actually banning handguns. If this is the way one can exercise a Constitutional Right in the Empire State, one truly doesn’t have a right until you jump through all those hoops, time, money, etc. I wish liberals would just come out and say it, they know many working class folks to include many Blacks, Latinos are far too busy trying to make ends meet to go through all the trouble and expense to get a handgun “legally”. One, it “legally” keeps these class of people from handgun ownership. Two, the ones who don’t get them “legally” are then arrested and incarcerated creating job opportunities at taxpayer expense, i.e., lawyers, police, judges, correction staff, probation staff, etc. etc. etc.. I want to see them add all those hoops to voting, speech, practicing one’s religion, education opportunities. My God, it’s harder to get a handgun “legally” in NY then it is to get to NY illegally from Guatemala enroll your kids in school at taxpayer expense, feed them at taxpayer expense, house them at taxpayer expense, pay their medical. God bless NYer’s you deserve what you get…

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