Monday, March 23, 2009

Rest In Peace

Over the last few years, from my work on a Neighborhood Crime Prevention Council, I've gotten to know a number of Oakland cops. They're solid professionals: intelligent, polite, competent, dedicated. I'm absolutely appalled at the events of this weekend, in which two police officers died in a hail of bullets from a young man they pulled over on a routine traffic stop, and two more died later when he shot at them from a closet with an AK-47. I have several comments on this:

To the members of the Oakland Police Department: my heart breaks for you. You have my deepest sympathy and my unqualified support.

To the people who feel the police are rude to them when they pull them over for a traffic violation: if they seem a little harsh, they're wondering whether you might possibly be another Lovelle Mixon. These aren't the first police officers to be killed during a routine traffic stop, and they won't (unfortunately) be the last. If you get pulled over, be polite to the officer, and the officer will
(probably) be polite to you. And yes, I do know about D.W.B. (driving while black) - but I firmly believe that's a minority of officers.

To the NRA: You've had your Supreme Court decision. You definitely have the right to own guns and keep them in your house. Can we now have a conversation about what weapons you can own? There's probably nothing we can do about the semi-automatic pistol that killed the two traffic officers; but the SWAT team died in a hail of bullets from an AK-47. An AK-47 - that's a military weapon. Why can civilians even buy this damn thing? What are you going to do with it - hunt deer? You'd cut the deer in half. At one point, in this country, civilians couldn't buy these weapons, then we elected the neocons and that was repealed; can we please discuss, again, restricting civilian access to guns normally used on the battlefield? Two good officers are dead because a civilian - no, a paroled felon - had access to a military assault rifle. Frankly, members of the NRA, I hold you at least partially responsible because of your mindless insistence that anybody, anywhere, any time, should be able to own any weapon.


  1. Machine guns are illegal in California:

    AK-47s (including semi-automatic ones) have been illegal in California
    since the Roberti-Roos Assault Weapons Control Act Of 1989:

  2. So they are. And because the ban is local, not national, all an enterprising arms dealer has to do is drive over to Nevada (which doesn't, AFAIK, ban anything), and come back with a truckful of illegal-in-California weapons that he (it's almost always he) can sell on the black market for well over his expenses. We need to take the issue of military assault weapons much more seriously than we do.

  3. K:

    You know very well that arguing with NRA nuts is a waste of your time.

    Their stance has nothing to do with safety or common sense.

    They take their extreme position as a matter of principle, without reference to application. This is called being unreasonable.

    The NRA would rather we have dead kids and dead cops than admit that the weapons are the reason it happens. They really would. In fact, they'll tell you that people having weapons actually REDUCES the risk and likelihood of one's being injured or killed.

    We need a national referendum on this, and maybe Obama's got the political capital to do it.

    Nah. Not a chance.

  4. Anonymous9:24 AM

    They want the AKs so they can protect themselves from the government of course! Every pro-gun (and we have A LOT of them in my part of MO) person I know says the same thing.

    To them the intent of the 2nd amendment is to allow citizens to protect themselves from a suppressive, aggressive government. So with that logic it is only fair that they have military grade weapons.

    Does any one else find that a little nuts?


  5. Isn't the consitutional language something like "a well ordered militia"....

    "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

    This doesn't sound at all like an endorsement of an individual right to any weapon. Rather it sounds a lot like a "regulated" (as the constitution says) right.

    The idea is that the people regulate each other so that the result is a "well regulated militia".