I didn’t want my very first blog post ever to be about guns or politics. I knew I would be writing about politics from time to time; I have opinions—strong ones—and a yearning to exercise my over-educated legal brain in a way that isn’t usually met in the space between laundry and cooking dinner. But, really, I expected most of this blog to be about the ups and downs of full-time Stay-at-Home Mom-ing; cleaning tips I found useful, and discussions of interesting vegetables I found at the Public Market and how I cooked them; crafty moments; and, of course, comedic stories of Pintrest disasters.
But, as it turns out, that all of that is going to have to wait a while because at the beginning of this week a Very Scary Thing happened in the State of New York. On Monday a bill that had been written behind closed doors was brought before a late-night session of the Senate and the voted on with the Senators never having had a chance to properly read the bill. It was then slammed through the Assembly and our presidential-hopeful Governor signed into law sometime on Tuesday. Yes, it was a gun control bill. And, no, I don’t like it. But we’ll do the Second Amendment thing another time, okay?
Because right now I want to talk about Why This is Scary.
Our elected representatives voted for something THEY HADN’T READ. Does this seem like a good idea to you? Normally a bill has to be on the Senators’ desks for three days before it can be voted on, but this time… Um… no… we sort of skipped that part. (And if you didn’t just read that in the mistily confused voice of Buttercup from the Princess Bride; well, go back and try again.) Sure, they had been told what is said… but this was a 60-something page bill. And it’s not like politicians ever lie, right?
In all fairness, the Governor can issue a Message of Necessity wherein the three-day let-the-Senators-read-the-bill and let-the-public-comment part is bypassed. That whole Message of Necessity sounds like a really good thing to have in your back pocket if, say, a hurricane wipes out some really important bits of your state and you need to get them some aid fast (wait, they didn’t do that???), but if you’re just trying to slip something through, maybe avoid having to find out how the public really feels… that sounds underhanded to me. Sneaky, deceitful, and dishonest also come to mind. Oh, and also, unethical and possibly illegal.
So, anyway, why was this bill so fabulously urgent? Governor Cuomo is purported to have said, “Some weapons are so dangerous, and some ammunition devices so lethal, that New York State must act without delay…” If you say so, Governor… but they didn’t arrive all of a sudden in the hands of New Yorkers on Sunday afternoon, and New Yorkers have a year to add these Scary Guns to a currently non-existent registry and to sell the “lethal ammunition devices” to Pennsylvania residents.
I call bullshit.
The Governor also expressed concern that there would be a “mad rush” on the Scary Guns. Um… good luck. What with Obama threatening his own ban on “assault-style weapons,” anyone who wanted one of those Scary Guns already had it, has gone out and bought it, or couldn’t find one to buy. (And it’s not as though you can currently find ammunition to fit them, either.) So I call bullshit on that one, too.
Ahhh… but now we get to at least one of the points of the whole rush-rush. President Obama was going to—and, in fact, has—announced his own gun control legislation and it was very, very important to our esteemed Governor that New York be the FIRST to pass this new “most aggressive” gun control legislation. Because that will be all sparkly on his I-want-to-be-your-President campaign platform. It wouldn’t be as pretty if he had been the second or—gasp and shudder—the third or fourth to be seen as “doing something.” To our Governor, the best interests of New Yorkers—or even their opinions—are less important than a feather in his political cap. And as for our Senators and Assemblypeople… we will never know what promises and threats we made behind closed doors, or why they allowed our interests to be unheard.
We aren’t supposed to notice.
We aren’t supposed to mind.
We aren’t supposed to think this is Scary.
But it is Scary.
And maybe you don’t care about this law at all. Maybe you aren’t a “gun person” or maybe you don’t really care if a gun can hold ten bullets or only seven; maybe you even think guns should be outlawed altogether. Whatever. The thing is, if they can pass one law in the middle of the night, they can pass any other law in the middle of the night. What if it was to repeal the Marriage Equality Act, or to make it almost impossible to get an abortion? What if it was to outlaw all Pitbull dogs in the State of New York? They could. Lots of people think Pitbulls are scary, too.
So, yes, I’m scared. Actually I’m terrified. You should be, too.