Friday, February 22, 2013

Malloy, Blumenthal, Murphy and Esty Play Leapfrog


Two days before the arrival in Connecticut of Vice President Joe Biden, due to stump in Danbury in favor of President Barrack Obama’s gun restrictions, the Journal Inquirer reported that Governor Dannel Malloy had gotten fed up with   dilatory probes into the Sandy Hook massacre.

There are three probes in process: a criminal investigation, a legislative investigation and an investigation impaneled by the governor. The criminal investigation, already two months old, we are told may be completed sometime in the summer.  The nearly completed legislative probe has been moved from the back burner to the front burner, and the governor’s probe is approaching completion.

The day before Biden’s arrival, Mr. Malloy leapfrogged all three investigations and announced his own proposals concerning gun violence. Unsurprisingly, they fit the proposals emanating from the White House pretty much in the way a political key fits a political lock.

The loud and suffocating cloud of rhetoric surrounding the Sandy Hook massacre, much of it coming from Democrats who joined Mr. Biden in Danbury – Governor Malloy, U.S. Senators Dick Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, and U.S. Representative Elizabeth Esty – has as its end point the prevention of future Sandy Hooks anywhere in the United States.

Addressing the legislative and criminal investigations panel members at the beginning of their probes, Mr. Malloy assured those working assiduously to prevent further school shootings in Connecticut that their careful deliberations were essential to the production of effective legislative remedies. Not to worry if critics should jump on their backs and holler in their ears that time was a’wasting, that the urgency of the moment demanded an immediate resolution; Mr. Malloy’s shoulders were wide, his back strong, the governor had counseled, and he would support them against the lashes of their critics. Connecticut and the nation needed legislation that was efficacious -- that really DID prevent future horrors such as the mass murder of 20 innocent angels and 6 of their wards at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

To judge from his actions, Mr. Malloy apparently began to have second thoughts concerning efficacious legislative remedies when he arrived at the Journal Inquirer for an interview, two days before Mr. Biden was due to speak at WestConn.

There Mr. Malloy expressed his dismay at a complex and needlessly slow process. And two days later, Mr. Malloy and Mr. Murphy, a rather large National Rife Association (NRA) chip poised on his shoulder, the camera shy Mr. Blumenthal and Ms. Esty, Connecticut’s newest addition to the state’s all Democratic Congressional delegation, all found themselves basking in the glow of Mr. Biden’s charisma, every one of them leapfrogging investigations they earlier thought were essential to the production of effective legislation. It was clear from their remarks that -- they had had enough.

This stunning rhetorical shift, the equivalent of political whiplash, naturally excited the curiosity of Connecticut’s media. Following his presentation, Mr. Malloy aggressively was plied with insistent questions.



Most of the gun regulations proposed by Mr. Malloy are political palliatives that affect only the use of weapons by non-criminals. The Bushmaster rifle used by Mr. Lanza would not have been rendered less lethal had its military pistol grip been removed. One early story indicated that Mr. Lanza changed his 30 round magazines after shooting 15 rounds; it takes only a few seconds to change magazines. Mr. Lanza also was armed with two automatic pistols and a shotgun that at least one politician, Mr. Biden, considers sufficiently lethal to discourage home invasions by criminals armed perhaps with the weapons Mr. Malloy and Mr. Biden wish to prohibit. And, of course, none of the measures proposed by Mr. Malloy would thwart the illegal acquisition of weapons. The internet is flush with videos showing how gun safes may easily be penetrated. The AR 15 Bushmaster, banned under Mr. Malloy’s redefinition of an “assault weapon,” is not the weapon of choice among enterprising urban criminals.

Improving response time – perhaps by decentralizing police centers – would have helped minimize the slaughter at Sandy Hook; a fire house that might have been used as a police outpost is about one minute distant from Sandy Hook Elementary School, and we know that a prompt response saves lives. Most if not all the scholarly studies on crime show that tightening gun permits flushes out straw gun purchasers, but the single most effective gun crime deterrent involves liberal conceal carry laws, not mentioned in any discussion in Connecticut’s General Assembly.

There was a note of urgency in Mr. Malloy’s voice when, possibly in an attempt to claim a moral high ground that might prove advantageous later when the inevitable rhetorical guns will be trained on more thoughtful and deliberative Republicans, the Democratic governor said that communities in the state “particularly in our largest cities, continue to suffer from the scourge of gun violence regularly. The time to act is now.”

Urgency is the snake oil of every shyster that has down the political pike in the last two centuries. But it takes an ace demagogue to move with such agility from “all deliberate speed” to “the urgency of now,” in the course of which laws carefully deliberated are sacrificed to the political advantage of the party in power, while the usually dependable tribunes of the people snooze in the hay.
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