Cuomo’s Albany Red Flags New York

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Imagine a knock on your front door in the middle of the night amid urgent screams from the other side. Half-asleep, you stretch yourself out of your comfortable bed and stumble your way to your foyer.

More awake now, you’re curious as to where all that light is coming from through the small sidelight windows that sandwich the entrance to your home. The knock at the door suddenly turns into a rapid pounding as your hands fumble around the door knob. “I’m right here!” you shout back. The bellows on the other side get only louder, and deeper.

After a moment, you can feel the lock disengage. You twist the knob and slowly begin to open the door. Perhaps a crack to see what’s going on, you tell yourself.

Only you never get the chance. The moment the bolt is released, the door bursts open and a half dozen or so darkly dressed bulking men force themselves in and on you.

You don’t even get a chance to find out where that blinding light is coming from. No sooner than these thugs enter, but two of them physically restrain you, contorting your body against the bannister, the newel fitting uncomfortably into your chest.

The pain notwithstanding, you catch several others of these night stalkers rummaging through your closet. They find what they’re looking for and quickly stuff it in their large bag.

“What’s going on?!” you plead. “I’m going to call the police!”

There’s only one problem.

These are the police.

“Excuse me, sir,” says the gorilla twisting your arm behind your back, “but you’ve been identified as a potential community risk. By law, we are required to remove all firearms from this premises.”

“But those are valuable classics! They were given to my by my grandfather!” Then you proudly proclaim, “That’s my property!”

“No, I’m afraid it’s not,” says the baritone voice. “They belong to the State, now.”

You can now see his badge. “Sergeant Stryker” it says. You try a more civil approach. “Excuse me, Sergeant Stryker. I’ve committed no crime.”

“Doesn’t matter, Mr. Locke,” says Stryker. “You are Jack Locke, aren’t you?”

“No!” a breath of relief gushes from your lungs. “I’m not! You’ve got the wrong man!”

“This is 1776 Liberty Avenue, isn’t it?” asks the momentarily unsure Stryker.

“Sure,” you respond, “but my name’s not Jack. It’s John. John Locke.”

“How are you related to Jack Locke,” says Stryker, a solid confidence returning to his voice.

“He’s my son,” you say matter-of-factly.

“Does he have access to your home?” asks the cold Stryker.

“Well, he knows where the spare keys are,” you admit, not quite sure why it matters. “… But those are my guns, not his!” you quickly add.

“Not anymore.” Stryker motions his men out and relaxes his grip on you.

“My son, Jack,” you say as your thoughts turn to something more important. “Where is he? What has he done?”

“Nothing… yet,” says Stryker. He releases you. “Thank you for your cooperation. Have a good evening.” Stryker exits your house, leaving the door open.

All you could do is watch as the unit reenters its armor vehicle, douses the searchlight aimed at your forehead, then calmly leaves your neighborhood to the same late-night quiet that’s there every night.

*          *          *          *          *

Is this an eerie scene from some frigid cold war science fiction work? Perhaps you might think it’s a clip from a documentary on the horrors of Nazi Germany? Maybe it’s ripped from the pages of The Gulag Archipelago, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s torrid masterpiece on the dehumanizing totalitarian oppression of Soviet Russia?

The correct answer is “none of the above.”

Sadly, it describes the very real future of New York State. Your street could be the next Liberty Avenue. And you could be the next John Locke.

On August 24, New York State’s Red Flag Law became effective. The Law allows law enforcement, school officials, and family members to pre-emptively identify individuals as threats to themselves or the community. Upon being reported, law enforcement can seize any firearms prior to a court adjudicated trail to determine if there is adequate evidence to support the allegation. A judge may then extend the State’s confiscation of the individual’s firearms by up to one year.

Democrat Nancy Pelosi, embattled Speaker of the House of Representatives, was on hand when New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the controversial legislation into law earlier this year. “These bills are bold and far-reaching,” she said.

But the law doesn’t strictly define the parameters. As Cuomo said in a statement prior to the law’s going into effect, it allows these third parties “to pursue court intervention when they believe someone is a danger to themselves or others.”

“They believe!?”

Look, I don’t have a problem with mentally disordered people being involuntarily institutionalized. I also don’t think people with certified mental disorders should have access to guns (or sharp instruments, or volatile chemicals, or other weapons of mass destruction).

But that’s people with certified mental disorders.

And we already have (or had?) a process for institutionalizing those people.

Cuomo’s Red Flag Law goes a bit beyond “certified mental disorder.” It tries to broaden the definition to those people who otherwise can’t be involuntarily committed.

That’s a red flag of a different sort. Perhaps a more serious “Danger Zone” kind of sort. It’s a step closer to state totalitarianism. You know, old time despotism. Nazi Germany. Soviet Russian. Moaist China.

The preamble to this editorial might not be entirely possible with today’s law, but what about tomorrow’s “improvement” of today’s Red Flag Law. We’re only one mass shooting away from that.

Doubt me? This is what Andrew Cuomo proudly declared when he signed this thought crime law into existence last February:

“New York led the way by passing the strongest gun safety laws in the nation, but more must be done to end this carnage.”

Makes me wanna go back and re-read Ayn Rand’s Anthem (because it’s a lot shorter than Atlas Shrugged), Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.

No need to wait for the dystopian future. That future is now.

It’s best to prepare for it.

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