March 21, 2013
Benjamin M. Wassell of Silver Creek, New York, a wounded Iraq war veteran, is the first resident of that state to be arrested and face prosecution under its draconian new firearms law. He was arrested during an undercover operation by state police in which he sold an AR-15 rifle and six large-capacity clips on January 24.
“By selling these illegal firearms, Mr. Wassell’s actions [sic] had potentially dangerous consequences for New Yorkers,” insisted Eric Schneiderman, procurator for the New York State Politburo. “We have seen far too much gun violence in our state in recent months, and the same of illegal semiautomatic weapons will not go unpunished.”
Cutting himself in for a portion of what he mistakenly believes to be glory, Joseph D’Amico, Commissar of the New York State Police, gloated that “our partnership with the Attorney General’s office has resulted in taking a dangerous criminal off the streets.”
Like most things that dribble down the tax-fattened chins of functionaries like D’Amico, that was a lie. Wassell has no criminal record, and although what he did violates the new gun law, it isn’t legitimately a crime, since it didn’t involve injury or fraud on his part. Indeed, the only fraud involved in that transaction was that perpetrated by officials in Schneiderman’s office and the New York State Police, who arranged the sale on false pretenses. If he had conducted those sales just days earlier, they would have been perfectly legal.
Wassell has been charged with three felonies and a misdemeanor – yet released on his own recognizance, an implicit acknowledgement of the fact that he is not an actual criminal. If they have their way, New York police officials will be doing a brisk business in incarcerating innocent gun owners. The State of New York has established an anonymous tip line encouraging people to report suspected “illegal gun owners” for a $500 reward.
Every totalitarian police state requires the disarmament of its subjects, and encourages them to spy on each other. New York State isn’t North Korea, but it’s on the same trajectory.