I’ve only been to New York City once in my life, on a family vacation when I was in my early teens during the notorious reign of Mayor David Dinkins. We stayed in a hotel on Times Square rising high above the debauchery below. After we arrived, I ventured off briefly on my own to see a smattering of strip clubs, peep shows, purveyors of adult materials and the like. There was virtually nothing I could legally enter. I finally caught sight of a video arcade, which seemed wholesome enough.
POP-POP-POP-POP-POP-POP-POP! I awoke as the shots rang outside my bedroom window in the wee hours on Saturday. By the time I emerged from my house, wearing a garish, plaid Sears robe with my trusty shotgun in hand, there was nobody to be seen save a lone security guard. He crept forward from Eiffel Society, a venue down the street, his pistol drawn and at the ready. The police arrived, shutting off the 2000 block of Prytania, but aside from collecting a few random shell casings there was ostensibly little investigation to be performed.
“These modern verandahs . . . afford a perfect shelter from the sun and weather, to passers by the front of the houses to which they are attached. In sultry climates, the necessity of shade from the sun, to health, and comfort, has universally introduced the custom of balconies or verandahs; which in this respect, are equally beneficial to the inmates of the houses, and to wayfarers.”
Long ago, the law respecting the idea of sanctuary was embedded in British common law. Fugitives would be immune from arrest in sacred places, such as places of worship. You’ve probably seen a movie where some neer-do-well runs into a church with police on his heels and yells “sanctuary,” as though he’s discovered some trump card against getting caught. However, sanctuary wasn’t quite the unequivocal boon to absconding felons as it would first appear. If he made it inside a church, the fugitive would then have 40 days to surrender to secular authorities or confess their crimes and be subject to forfeiture of their worldly possessions and permanent exile, i.e., “abjure the realm.”
This is the historical basis for the so-called “sanctuary city” movement, whereby local authorities are prohibited from inquiring about peoples’ immigration status, and are further restricted from assisting federal immigration agents.
Perhaps the most crucial skill a citizen can have when viewing the myriad policies proposed by politicians is knowing the difference between that which is substantive, and that which panders. The electorate should know when a politician is genuinely trying to make the world better, as opposed to merely looking like they’re trying to make the world better. Alas, New Orleanians were exposed to the latter this past Friday, when Mayor Mitch Landrieu, flanked by Councilmembers Jason Williams and James Gray, proposed a five-part ordinance “aimed at promoting gun safety in New Orleans.”
Landrieu announced the ordinance at a press conference in Bunny Friend Park, where a shootout last year injured 17 people. He explained that “[i]n some instances, people have a right to own a gun, something that I support, every gun owner … has to be thoughtful, and they have to make sure that they handle that weapon responsibly.”
As a public official, Mayor Landrieu also has a responsibility – a responsibility to follow state law.
It’s not uncommon for something to sound wonderful that is ultimately a bad idea — “freemium” games, bacon-wrapped pizza, going to Bourbon Street — the list is endless. It’s easy to get whipped into a frenzy by hype or sexiness and ignore practical realities. That’s the category to which the oft-debated commuter rail line between New Orleans and Baton Rouge belongs. Don’t tell Governor Edwards this, lest you rain on his parade. “I am going to do everything I can to partner with folks in Washington to make sure that as soon as possible we can pursue light rail,” Edwards told the New Orleans Chamber of Commerce last December.
It is often said that prefacing bad news with good news helps soften the blow. We have now cross the threshold into 2016, which seems to be giving New Orleans equal parts of each. Thus, at the risk of sounding trite, I have some good news, and some bad news. First, let us dispense with the obligatory schmaltzy, feel-good story. A Utah man by the name of Will Abby spent his 25th birthday in New Orleans.
New Orleans District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro has really thrown down the gauntlet vis-à-vis his support for gun control. Next year, he plans to lobby the Louisiana legislature to pass an unconstitutional anti-gun law. Not only that, he actually expects the NRA to aid him in his endeavors. This tale of professional overreach and disregard for the Louisiana Constitution began earlier this month. On December 3rd, Cannizzaro released a statement in which he clumsily attempted to call out the National Rifle Association (NRA) for their opposition to new gun control laws.
Whenever anybody engages me on the issue of self-defense, my mind always wanders to the case of Warren v. District of Columbia. That case began on the morning of March 16, 1975, when two men broke down the back door of a rooming house on Lamont Street in Washington, D.C. The intruders soon encountered Miriam Douglas, a woman who lived on the second floor with her four-year-old daughter. The men then seized Douglas, who was forced to perform oral sex on one of the men while the other raped her. On the third floor above, two roommates — Carolyn Warren and Joan Taliaferro – heard screams coming from below. Warren called the police to request immediate assistance.
“Citizens of New Orleans, as your mayor, I am mindful of the ever-increasing cost-of-living in our fair city. Wages are not keeping pace, and many of our most economically vulnerable workers feel that they can no longer afford to live here.”
“For too long, your elected leaders have not only ignored this problem, but abetted it. Today, I pledge to ensure that we do better by our citizens – that we make their lives easier, not more difficult.”
You can file the above under “Things Mayor Landrieu Will Never Say.” Under his watch, the cost of pretty much everything has skyrocketed. Taxes, water rates, fees – they’re all higher. If Landrieu has the slightest notion of how this has affected the lives of the people he serves, he hasn’t been inclined to show it.