A speech at the Aspen Institute earlier this month about gun control has landed former New York City mayor and media magnate Michael Bloomberg in hot water. When taken out of context, the speech, which was made in front of a crowd of about 400 people on February 5, negatively pegs minorities as gun-toting criminals nearly across the board.
“These kids think they’re going to get killed anyway because all their friends are getting killed,” Bloomberg said during the speech, according to the Aspen Times, which covered the event. “So they just don’t have any long term focus or anything. It’s a joke to have a gun. It’s a joke to pull a trigger.”
The audio of the speech was obtained by conservative blog the Daily Caller on February 19, but has since been removed from their website. The event and Bloomberg’s speech were filmed by the Aspen Institute and GrassRoots TV. Neither plan to broadcast the footage at the request of Bloomberg.
Bloomberg also said during the speech that minority males between the ages of 15 to 25 are by and large the source of illegal gun violence and should just have their weapons taken away. While it was still online, part of the speech was obtained by AM New York and several other media.
“It’s controversial, but… 95 percent of your murders, and murderers, and murder victims fit one M.O.,” Bloomberg said.
“They are male, minorities, 15 to 25. That’s true in New York, it’s true in virtually every city in America.”
Bloomberg is head of a national coalition of mayor against gun violence, Everytown for Gun Safety.
He was also a staunch proponent of the controversial use of stop-and-frisk during his tenure as mayor of New York. The practice, which is not in use anymore, largely targeted young minority males and gave police a tactic to stop, question, and frisk the person based on extremely limited or no probable cause.
At one point during the speech, Bloomberg described a useful tactic in dealing with gun violence to “throw them up against the wall and frisk them” when referring to stop-and-frisk. Bloomberg has made no comment publicly about the controversy caused by his comments, nor has he commented through a spokesperson.
The rate of murder in New York did drop by about half during Bloomberg’s tenure as mayor. He said in Aspen that keeping people from killing each other is a primary goal and function of such an office.
“If you can stop them from getting murdered, I would argue everything else you do is less important,” Bloomberg said in his Aspen speech, according to the Aspen Times.
[Image via Wikimedia Commons]