Welcome to the United State Of Mike
by Mark Riley
posted Dec 1 2011 9:39AM
Hello, New Yorkers, and welcome to the United State of Mike. Our mayor, it seems, has decided to create his own private country. Why would I say such a thing? Because our mayor says he's got what every tin-horn dictator has: an army. Michael Bloomberg actually boasted during a speech at MIT, quoting here, "I have my own army in the NYPD, which is the seventh largest army in the world".
The implications of such a statement are many. Does Bloomberg not know the difference between an army and a police force? He's not that stupid. Mike Bloomberg also doesn't often make gross misstatements. The conduct of his police force of late might indicate he's given Commissioner Ray Kelly license to operate the NYPD as an army. That should scare each and every resident of the greatest city in the world.
Armies, generally speaking, are created to conduct military actions, like wars, and quell insurrections. Police departments are supposed to fight crime. There are places in the world where these functions are co-mingled. Most New Yorkers wouldn't want to live in them. Yet, if we take two prominent functions of the NYPD, those being the stop and frisk program and the treatment of Occupy Wall St., one could conclude that somebody in city government sees the department as operating in a militaristic fashion. So now we know just who.
Mayor Bloomberg will likely respond to any media questions about his statement with a baleful stare and obvious irritation. He'll say something like, "You know what I meant. Next question". Yet the army reference isn't so easily dismissed, when combined with Commissioner Kelly's warlike boast to 60 Minutes about being able to shoot a plane out of the sky. It all boils down to this. Unless the mayor is looking to secede from the US, referring to the police as an army is whack. Even as an independent country (maybe not a bad idea), New York City would need an army AND a police force, not one operating as the other.
Or maybe this was just a boastful slip of the tongue, something we cynics shouldn't take seriously. That would be all well and good, if the NYPD was really about about professional policing.