One phenomenon that will always amaze you is the degree to which our public servants, most of whom seem to oppose any of us carrying or even owning guns, are routinely packing. I first became aware of it when a tenderfoot at the NRA in the 1970s. One of my elders and betters delivered a lengthy and learned dissertation about shooting ranges inside the Washington, D.C. limits. The number was quite surprising and the locations often very creative.
His lesson was that just about every federal agency had a range, implying that every agency had gun-carriers. This syndrome expanded in the 1980s as every agency, to include the likes of the Agriculture Department and the IRS, got a SWAT team, complete with machine guns and body armor. This was a great boon to the firearms industry, as every gun enthusiast in the bureaucracy got positioned to buy all the fun stuff. Whether it was an equal boon to the taxpayer or to civil liberties is more debatable.
Now comes one Jerry Hauer, who is head of the New York Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services. Whether we need both state and federal homeland security bureaucracies is another interesting question, but the question of the day is just what sort of firearms training the NYDHS is using.
Hauer, delivering a presentation to some visiting Swedish officials, wanted to make a point and did so by pulling a laser-equipped pistol and using the laser to highlight the desired passage. I know there are a lot of new training methodologies out there, but I would be shocked if any of them include using a loaded pistol as a pointer.
Hauer downplayed the incident.
"No one in the room was rattled. The gun was never aimed at anyone," he said. "I would never point an empty firearm at anyone, let alone a loaded gun. I was pointing directly at the wall. The gun was never aimed at anyone."
Well, a cynic might ask what was on the other side of the wall, but then a cynic might also ask why a non-uniformed bureaucrat is routinely carrying a gun, especially since he has had a personal bodyguard, a longtime buddy and NYPD retiree paid more than $100,000 a year while still drawing a pension.
As long as the President and other politicos like recently-inaugurated New York Mayor Bill de Blasio are talking endlessly about "income inequality," maybe we need to bring up the question of "security inequality." My guess is that some immigrant bodega owner in the Bronx needs a laser-equipped pistol a lot more than Jerry Hauer, and won't be using it to scare visiting Swedes.