Friday, February 1, 2013

Gun Control For Dummies Parts 1 & 2 (Or How Up Are You On The Bill of Rights and Gun History)

All the best,
Glenn B

My Firearms That Could Be Considered Assault Weapons

Dare I say that my firearms have been taken care of, disposed of so to speak, and are out of the purview of the state of NY? Lest I be seen as defenseless by thugs, assassins, muggers, robbers, rapists, arsonists, home invaders or scalawags, bear in mind, I just questioned whether I should speak of my so called assault weapons. I made no mention of any of my other arms. Rest assured, I am ready, willing and able to defend me and mine.

All the best,
Glenn  B

Ed Koch Gone - It's Like Losing A Dear Friend...

...even though I never met him, that is the kind of impression he made on New Yorkers, maybe even on the world. He passed away today. I am saddened greatly.

Ed Koch was born Edward Irving Koch on December 12, 1924 (13 days older than my mom). He worked in regular jobs (like deli clerk) and in 1943 he was drafted into the U.S. Army. He served with honor, in Europe, during WWII as an infantryman. He saw combat, earned two battle stars, but made it through the war wherein he had achieved the rank of sergeant. After that he attended City College of New York and NY University of Law. He practiced as a lawyer after that. He began a career in local NYC politics in 1963, then became a Congressman, then eventually back to the city where he became the 105th mayor of New York City on January 1, 1978. That was a year and about 10 months before I went in to the Border Patrol to start my federal career.
Ed Kock, giving thumbs up, standing amid commuters on the
walkway of the Brooklyn Bridge, urging them not to let the
striking NYC Transit Union keep them from work, in 1980.
In the time he was mayor, while I was still living in NYC, it became obvious to me that this guy was no ordinary democrat. He leaned right - sometimes far right - on some issues while remaining staunchly liberal on others and he was feisty. After a 4 year absence from NYC on my part, I returned to the city to find it much the same with the same mayor and he was as unpredictable and independent minded as ever. As I recall, I voted for him at least once. Yes - he ran as a democrat when I did that (he was the only democrat, as I can remember, for whom I ever voted), the election before that he had run as a Republican and Democrat - go figure - as best as I can tell he was more of a Libertarian than either a Democrat or Republican.
During his 3 terms in office he was a staunch patriot, he was a law and order kind of a guy but did not go overboard with it, he lifted the failed economy of the city and made it soar due to his major budget cutting, he supported Israel, he opposed the unions during a New York City Transit strike, he supported the lesbian and gay and bi community (there was nothing about being 'bi' in it back then), yet after the outbreak of AIDS he closed the gay bath houses, he supported the Jewish community in the face of racial unrest between that community and the African American but told it as he saw it  much to the dismay, back then, of the likes of Al Sharpton. Koch often asked "How am I doing?" but also often said he did not care about the replies. All the while that he was mayor he was a feisty guy who had a huge set of balls amount of chutzpah and he was honest always saying what he meant. As Sharpton eulogized him Koch: "was never a phony or a hypocrite. He would not patronize or deceive you. He said what he meant. He meant what he said. He fought for what he believed. May he rest in peace."
He was a lifelong bachelor and when questioned about his sexual preference he simply replied that it was private. My guess, and that of many others, is that he was gay but no one minded because he was DA MAYOR before anything else and in that regard he did pretty well and with heart felt love for NYC and his faith. It was obvious that this man would stand up for his beliefs and would face down his opponents whenever and wherever necessary usually with his wit and a smarting quip. You should have heard him lambaste Jesse Jackson, in 1988, when Jackson was running for president and Koch reminded NY'ers that Jackson was no friend of Israel. Yet, he was also oft times quite unpredictable on where he would stand on the issues except to say that he approached many, probably most, of them with common sense and practicality as opposed to towing the party line. 
Throughout his terms as mayor, and after, he repeatedly told it like he saw it regardless of benefit or harm to his image. He ran, during one of his terms as mayor, for the governor's seat of NY State but lost. He most likely lost because he alienated voters outside of NYC when he said that living in the suburbs was "...sterile..." and that he would not like living in a small city like Albany.
After politics, he stayed active in the political community although never again attaining political office. His politics remained the same - he was a democrat but leaned right, even stood firmly fast on the right, on some issues like support for Israel and was to the left on others as in his support for  the lesbian, bi and gay communities (yes by that time "bi" was included). 
He will be buried in Trinity Church Cemetery in Manhattan. It was the only cemetery with available space in Manhattan (commonly referred to as The City). He put it this way: "I don't want to leave Manhattan, even when I'm gone," Koch told The Associated Press. "This is my home...." (source). That he was proud of his faith, can be witnessed by part of the inscription placed on his tombstone, that he had inscribed, shortly after he bought the burial plot, with the last words of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl before he was slain by Islamic terrorists:
 "My father is Jewish, my mother is Jewish, I am Jewish." (source)
Further indication of his love for his faith but also that Hizzonner  loved the City of New York and its people, and was truly a patriot who loved the United States of America, can be evidenced in the remaining words inscribe on his tombstone:
"He was fiercely proud of his Jewish faith. He fiercely defended the City of New York, and he fiercely loved its people. Above all, he loved his country, the United States of America, in whose armed forces he served in World War II." (source)

He called it as he saw it and stood up for his beliefs even up to his last days on earth (he opposed Obama's stance on Israel) but exercised a practicality that was rare among politicians and stood up fiercely to his detractors with the chutzpah only a New Yorker could show but almost always did it with a sense of humor. He
loved his faith, New York City and its people and the USA and in his own words did so fiercely. For those attributes, you had to admire him more than almost any other politician of his day whether you sided with him or not and I have to admit I disagreed with his stances on a lot of the issues a lot of the time. Still though, losing him is like losing a good friend. He was that kind of a mayor, he was Hizzoner!
All the best,
Glenn B