Analysis: The Frustration of Police Commissioner Kelly

Eight police officers have been shot in four months. Kelly says he's "tired of this."

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    In the last four months, eight police officers have been shot in New York City.

    Understandably, Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Kelly are frustrated and angry.

    New York has tough gun control laws. But the ease with which guns are made and sold in other states and imported into the city jeopardizes the safety of all New Yorkers. There’s a stream of guns, old and new, flowing into New York and stopping that traffic seems an insoluble task.

    Police Commissioner Kelly told Mike Lupica at the Daily News: “These are the guns that are turning our city into a shooting gallery. We had three cops shot last year. This year we’ve had eight shot already, and it’s only Easter."

    "I’m tired of this,” he told the paper.

    He has every reason to be. We live in a gun-happy country.

    And the gun advocates can rant that the right to bear arms is enshrined in the Second Amendment to the Constitution but they won’t convince the mothers and fathers of children mowed down in the name of that Constitution.

    Or the many who have lost loved ones in hails of bullets authorized, the gun lobbyists say, in the name of law and order.

    In many European countries, guns are scarce because the laws are firmer. The availability of guns in this country is an outrage.

    It’s hard to believe that we tolerate guns -- and thereby justify the widespread use of weapons in our society.

    Someday Americans will come to their senses and take guns off the streets. But that day can’t come soon enough and, based on the record, the high school shootings and the street massacres that have taken place across the country, it would seem that day is still a long way off. 

    I spoke to Commissioner Kelly and he expressed regret that in black and Hispanic communities, leaders were not talking about the preponderance of crime committed by black and Hispanic young men against people of the same backgrounds.

    He said that black men ages 16 to 34 were 12 times more likely to have crimes committed against them than white young men.

    Instead of speaking out about this problem, Kelly said, community leaders complain about the stop-and-frisk campaign against illegal guns.

    “I hear little about the crime problem,” he said.

    The mayor and Kelly are on a lonely crusade.

    Most politicians of both parties are afraid to tackle the gun lobby. They fear the political consequences of passing and enforcing  laws that restrict the availability of guns in our country.

    Bloomberg and Kelly -- and other mayors -- keep trying but only a national outcry against the menace of guns can change the picture. And that doesn’t seem likely to happen soon.