Guilt is a powerful emotion. So powerful, in fact, that an American city is considering impoverishing itself and future generations of its citizens in order to absolve itself of guilt, achieve some kind of perceived redemption, and display for all the world its exemplary virtue as it atones for a wrong that…no one in the city either committed or experienced.
California became a state in 1850, just 11 years before the first shots of the Civil War were fired at Fort Sumter. The Golden State was never a slave state and no one alive in San Francisco today has even a grandparent who was enslaved, let alone one who owned a slave anywhere else in America.
Still, a plan is currently under serious consideration to spend about $200 billion to compensate the city’s black population for a historical atrocity none of them were subject to and no one in the city was responsible for.
The city of San Francisco has about 46,000 black residents today. That compares to a total population of roughly 820,000 people. The most current proposal for a reparations program would pay each eligible black citizen a lump sum of $5 million and $97,000 per year for the next 250 years.
What’s more, 34% of San Francisco’s population are immigrants. They have no personal or ancestral connection whatsoever to America’s slave-owning or Jim Crow past, yet the city’s “progressive” leaders are working hard to appropriate their tax dollars — for the next two and a half centuries — to make up for wrongs committed more than 150 years ago.
How serious is San Francisco about the reparations plan? This week, the San Francisco city council proposed establishing a new $50 million city bureaucracy whose job it would be to qualify individuals applying for the reparations program. Because what good is establishing a new multi-billion dollar, multi-generational entitlement if there’s no opportunity for taxpayer-funded jobs and graft?
Think of San Francisco’s newest department as administering “may-issue” reparations.
No one knows if any of this will actually come to pass, but don’t bet against it. Then again, maybe San Franciscans will decide they’re not only not responsible for the fit of progressive guilt the City Council is trying to salve, but they’re also not willing to pay out huge piles of tax dollars over the next 250 years for the far left’s onanistic psychic expiation.
But if we’re going to be getting into the business of righting past wrongs, we know of a doozy that’s only just beginning to be turned around. Consider the fact that tens of millions of New Yorker City residents have been deprived of their constitutional right to keep and bear arms for well over a century, including almost every New Yorker living in the city to this very day.
New York passed the Sullivan Act in 1911 mandating police-issued permits for firearms small enough to carry. For over a century, “may-issue” government carry permits were — by design — notoriously difficult to obtain unless the applicant was wealthy, well-connected, or willing to grease the right palms.
Average citizens, of whom there are about 8.5 million in the Big Apple today, have been effectively disarmed and left to fend for themselves since before the Titanic sank. They’ve been deprived by government of the exercise of an enumerated civil right — keeping and bearing arms – for generations.
Thankfully, that historic wrong began to be righted last year when the Supreme Court handed down its ruling in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen.
As Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in his opinion . . .
The constitutional right to bear arms in public for self-defense is not “a second-class right, subject to an entirely different body of rules than the other Bill of Rights guarantees.” …The exercise of other constitutional rights does not require individuals to demonstrate to government officers some special need. The Second Amendment right to carry arms in public for selfdefense is no different. New York’s proper-cause requirement violates the Fourteenth Amendment by preventing law-abiding citizens with ordinary self-defense needs from exercising their right to keep and bear arms in public.
And yet that’s exactly what New York City did to its citizens for decade after decade. This is commonly known as deprivation of civil rights under color of law. These are the kinds of cases that are frequently brought against cops who shoot suspects, especially if the shootings are later determined to be reasonable by local officials.
In the case of New York’s Sullivan Law, the city has been depriving New Yorkers of their constitutionally protected civil right to bear arms since early in the last century. The city fought tooth and nail to keep its egregious may-issue (non)licensing scheme in place against challenges for decades until the Court finally brought the whole thing down, calling it the unconstitutional violation it’s always been.
Federal law has protections against this kind of thing. Take, for instance, 42 U.S. Code § 1983 . . .
Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress, except that in any action brought against a judicial officer for an act or omission taken in such officer’s judicial capacity, injunctive relief shall not be granted unless a declaratory decree was violated or declaratory relief was unavailable. For the purposes of this section, any Act of Congress applicable exclusively to the District of Columbia shall be considered to be a statute of the District of Columbia.
Of course, individuals are free to avail themselves of the court system to try to get just compensation for the rights of which they’ve been deprived. But given that the group of aggrieved citizens in New York City includes, well, virtually every law-abiding adult…it seems that a more comprehensive, far-reaching remedy is needed.
What’s called for here is a comprehensive program to compensate the city’s citizens for the decades of oppression the city willfully imposed on them. Through excessive expenses, the crushing bureaucracy that was erected, and virtually assured denials issued, all designed to keep average New Yorkers disarmed and deprive them of their rights. Reparations for this kind of longstanding historical wrong must be paid to those who have been affected.
The question then is…how much? The proposal San Francisco is considering seems extreme, especially given the fact that no one living there actually participated in the wrong, either as a perpetrator or victim. New Yorkers, on the other hand, have all been affected by the city’s ongoing campaign to deprive them of their rights.
So in an effort to compensate the most victimized people as quickly and efficiently as possible, we propose the following: every person who paid city income tax in New York over the last 30 years will be eligible for a $25,000 lump sum reparations payment. In addition, the city will, at its expense, issue each recipient a $2500 Visa/MasterCard gift card to cover the cost of the purchase of a firearm, ammunition, a holster, training and range time.
All currently eligible law-abiding city residents will be issued concealed carry permits at no cost. Permit applications will be taken and issued on demand at al New York Police Department precincts, city offices, or libraries.
The estimated the cost of the reparations program will be somewhere around $300 billion…or about three times the city’s annual budget. That, however, seems eminently reasonable compensation for running an ongoing government-managed scheme to deprive citizens of a fundamental civil right, going back more than a century.
Surely New York City taxpayers will see the value in righting this historical wrong and will be willing to issue the necessary bonds and pay higher taxes to cover the cost of reparations for such a clear civil rights violation. We look forward to hearing from like-minded New York city officials who recognize the city’s clear responsibility in conducting and perpetuating this longstanding discrimination and who now want to do the right thing.
Read the full article here