The blame game has begun in the aftermath of a shooting in Times Square over the weekend that left three innocent bystanders wounded, including a four-year-old girl shopping with her family.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio took a page from other liberal mayors in blaming the U.S. Congress and its supposed inaction on gun control for the shooting that appears to have been caused by a dispute between brothers.
“Look, this kind of thing should not happen in our city. We need Congress to help us to stop the flow of guns into New York City. We got a lot of work to do. But we know what works, and the NYPD is out there constantly making adjustments sending officers where they’re needed most,” de Blasio told reporters at a press conference.
Others in the city blame new policies related to police, bail, and criminal justice on the shocking incident in a popular tourist destination.
The New York Post suggests that criminals have been emboldened by de Blasio’s decision to disband NYPD’s plainclothes anti-crime unit in 2019.
Others point to bail reform laws as keeping criminals on the street.
“There’s a direct correlation between this uptick in shootings and bail reform laws and city council laws that handcuffed the police,” Detectives’ Endowment Association President Paul DiGiacomo said. “The people suffering are the people of New York City and the people coming to visit the city.”
National Review’s Charles C. W. Cooke argues that the stated desire of New York politicians to reduce penalties for illegal firearm possession doesn’t square with their insistence on strict gun control laws.
“By rigorously enforcing its laws, New York City has long served as an exception to this rule. If it, too, descends into magical thinking and lax administration, it will make a farce of its claim to practicality — and, in turn, of the false-but-popular idea that governments in big cities have a compelling interest in safety that outweighs the protection of our right to keep and bear arms,” Cooke says.
The suspect in the Times Square incident, Farrakhan Muhammad, is still at large. Police believe he began wildly shooting into a crowd of shoppers after a conflict with his brother, according to The Post. He is an illegal CD peddler and possibly a drug dealer, and he likely escaped on public transit.
The victims, a 23-year-old woman, a 43-year-old woman, and a four-year-old girl, have all been released from the hospital. The girl was shot in the left leg, and a doctor opted not to remove the bullet from the 23-year-old’s leg.
“I started screaming, asking for help, it was really scary,” she told The Post. “Thank God it didn’t break my bone, but it did go inside. The doctor said he wouldn’t do any surgery or take out the bullet, it would do more damage.”
Like most major American cities, New York City experienced a sharp uptick in homicides and shootings in 2020. The 468 homicides citywide in 2020 represents a 47% increase over 2019, and shootings in Manhattan increased by 40%.