Bob Lonsberry

Bob Lonsberry

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LONSBERRY: Death In Kathy Hochul's New York

 Zahira Smith was at a friend’s 16th birthday party Saturday night, at a rented house on Emerson Street.


               The girls were upstairs dancing, the boys were downstairs playing pool.


               And the murderer was across the street, in the vacant lot.


               This is Rochester, the fourth-biggest city in the state of New York, where the pace of homicides is ahead of last year, when more people were killed than ever before. This is a city with a proud new Police Accountability Board and two Black Lives Matter organizers on the City Council and a couple of state senators who boast of their support for eliminating cash bail and releasing parolees from direct supervision.


               Rochester is a progressive’s paradise. A woke Democrat mayor and a woke Democrat governor and a woke Democrat state legislature. No Republicans hold city office, no Republicans hold statewide office, no Republican-sponsored legislation is allowed to pass in the state legislature.


               But the bodies keep falling.


               Like the guy on Siebert Place on Saturday night, the street man who lingered two months after his beating in April, the 17-year-old boy stepping off the school bus, and 25 others thus far this year, shot or stabbed or beaten or run down. All of them.


               And Zahira Smith.


               A 16-year-old at a friend’s birthday party. A tenth-grader being raised by her grandmother and aunt, with good values and good grades and what the family said was a rare night out.


               They trampled her after she fell.


               Hit twice, in the back and the leg, the shots ringing out from across the street. An 18-year-old woman, a cousin of the birthday girl, running for safety, had a bullet rip through her thigh, from back to front, and was saved in emergency surgery.


               But Zahira Smith never got that far.


               She died where she fell.


               In Kathy Hochul’s Rochester.


               The same Kathy Hochul who stood up 36 hours later with New York’s Democrat masters and thundered about her boldness and leadership. With practiced indignation and earnest egotism she said that New York would lead – she would lead – she would fix the problem. And then, with great pomposity, she affixed her signature, bit by bit, with a series of souvenir pens, to 10 hastily passed gun control bills.


               Microstamping and red flags and a license for semi-automatic rifles. On and on and on.


               With a fawning press describing the empress’s new clothes in exquisite detail.


               While omitting one inconvenient fact.


               Namely, that not a thing the Democrats did would have saved Zahira Smith. In fact, it is what those very same Democrats have done which has led to the upsurge in violent crime that took her young life.


               The deadly violence sweeping the urban streets of New York state will not be affected by anything the governor signed on Monday. None of those bills in any way impact or deter either the murders in New York’s cities or the factors which lead to them.


               There was a horrible terrorist attack at a supermarket in Buffalo, by an 18-year-old white supremacist. The worst of cases. But bad cases make bad laws, and the state with the most restrictive gun laws in America has accomplished nothing by doubling down on firearms restrictions.


               But, saving lives wasn’t the purpose of the legislation or the signing ceremony. Changing the subject was. This wasn’t about Zahira Smith, or the 10 people murdered in Buffalo. It was about a governor and a political party scrambling to reposition themselves in the summer before an election.


               When polling shows public safety is the biggest issue in the state – when majorities of every race and region say they fear for their safety – the people in charge don’t look very good. Especially when it is their pro-criminal policies which have fueled the violence in the streets.


               When people can’t be held on bail, when parolees can’t be violated for reoffending after their release, when closing prisons and reducing sentences are the stated objectives of the governor and her party, people make the connection to their own safety. And they see the carnage on the evening news and out their front doors.


               But Democrats don’t fight criminals, so they pretend to fight guns.


               And that’s what the legislation and the speech and the pompous pronouncements were all about.


               This is about doing nothing and pretending it will accomplish something.


               This is about pretending to care about the victims, while cynically acknowledging that they are merely the price of holding power. This is about exploiting tragedy to cling to power.


               This is fiddling while Rome burns.


               This is the Democrat way.


               And it doesn’t care about Zahira Smith or any of the other nearly 900 people slain thus far this year in Kathy Hochul’s New York.

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