Since it happened roughly six blocks from my house, I feel more compelled to say something about the killing of the three police officers than I might otherwise. Except there really isn’t much to say beyond what has been said. It was truly a senseless killing. One co-worker (I did my second job yesterday) remarked that Poplawski’s life is over, while someone else suggested he would get the death penalty. I think if he doesn’t get the death penalty, it will be life in prison and I would hope he would never be paroled.
A couple of thoughts do occur to me that I would like to remark on. First, Poplawski’s back story reads like the poster child for tougher gun control. Dropping out of high school, joining the marines and then being dishonorably discharged during basic training (apparently to chase a girl), having protection from abuse orders in his past history; this is a person that should never have been allowed to buy an AK-47 or a concealable handgun. I remember last summer, during the debate about the election, how gun enthusiasts commenting on the Burgh Report were claiming that gun control makes countries less safe, and linking to web sites that used statistics purporting to prove that. Now, the shooting yesterday is just one anecdote, but, when I think about it, the gun crimes I hear about are a series of anecdotes where guns are almost never used by innocent parties to successfully defend themselves against criminals. Instead it is drug gang violence, or some drunk carrying a pistol into a bar, pulling it out over some random argument and shooting several people, or just recently three senseless bouts of shootings including the Poplawski affair.
At the very least, I hope and also suspect Congressional Democrats will bring back the assault weapon ban. I believe they will get it passed too; there is talk about using an obscure rule/tactic in the Senate that I have not looked into yet (but I believe is called reconciliation) that nullifies the need for the 60 vote super majority. I can see that being used here because the assault weapon ban is actually popular among Americans. Not that I believe one party rule is good for us, and I strongly suspect the Democrats will soon collapse under their own weight, and find a way to fritter away their majority. Frankly, House Democrats seem determined to do just that as soon as possible.
Anyway, back to the topic of this post; the last thought that occurred to me was that this issue might show up in the Mayoral race. Obviously the Mayor would have nothing bad to say about the police department. It’s hard for me to think of any local ordinances that could have even the remotest chance of preventing or minimizing an incident like this in the future. Since I believe that’s true, I hope Pat Dowd does nothing more than join the Mayor in offering condolences to the families of the slain police officers. The debate tomorrow will undoubtedly be colored by this tragedy.