Tuesday, June 08, 2021

God's Choice?

Unfortunately, one of the leading candidates for the Democratic nomination for mayor of New York City, has a self-esteem problem.

Former NYPD captain Eric Adams has an excess of self-esteem.  A month ago, The New York Times reported

During an Easter Sunday visit to the Church of God of East Flatbush, Mr. Adams cited a biblical passage that describes a test of courage under duress.

“I believe in all my heart that this is an Esther 4:14 moment,” Mr. Adams, 60, told the parishioners. “God made me for such a time as this.”

Uh, no, God didn't. Or at least Mr. Adams has no evidence that God has determined that he should be the next mayor of the city of New York, which the winner of the Democratic primary on June 22 will almost surely become. If Adams knows that God has made him for this moment, he should be pressed for the evidence.

We've had enough of this in politics. A President a few years ago looked skyward and boasted "I am the Chosen One." Fortunately, God did not choose him for a second term and he will spend most, if not all, of his remaining years on planet Earth dodging or fighting legal charges.

But it is unfortunate that Adams has determined that he and he alone has obtained God's endorsement. As (bad) luck would have it, he is the candidate who dares to say what must be said about stop and frisk, probably the most controversial policy of the city in the past decade.

As part of its series on the mayoral candidates, CBS News in NYC presented in late February a segment on Mr. Adams.  In her interview with the candidate, Marcia Kramer (referring first to the viewers, then to the candidate) stated

In fact, you may not realize it but "stop and frisk" is still being used to get guns off the street. NYPD stops increased 22% last year. When you walk down the streeet as a police officer and you saw somebody with gun or with a bulge in their pocket, what was your reaction?

Adams responded

That's what the stop and frisk tools allowed you to do. It allowed you to speak to that person and you was (sic) able to touch that area, not search unless you felt and it escalated to another level.

So Kramer explained "the policy got out of hand, Adams said, when cops started arresting kids and making them empty their pockets and if they found marijuana, charging them with illegal possession."

There also was a constitutional issue, in which police were credibly accused of stopping and frisking a disproportionate number of minorities.  The procedure was ruled unconstitutional but later resumed, at a much lower frequency.

But the problem of ethnic inequity is one which could be successfully addressed, were there an actual commitment in the USA to reducing the proliferation of illegal firearms.  In any one neighborhood- one in which the possession of handguns is a serious problem- individuals can be searched in a manner which isn't discriminatory. Every individual in a short period of time can be stopped and, rather relying upon the subjective impression of whether there is a bulge, each could be searched. By contrast, randomness is subject to ethnic bias.

Adams and Kramer are correct. Police often used stop and frisk as an excuse to have the individual empty his pockets, then arrest him for possession of marijuana, which possession was legal under New York law if kept out of view. That undermined the stated, and vital, purpose- to get firearms off the street of stop and frisk.

If only Eric Adams didn't mistake himself for Jesus Christ, or believe that he and he alone has been tapped by the Almighty to lead the nation's largest city, New York City might have a seriously good option for mayor.


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