How often does a thug tell us how we could have stopped him from getting his gun?
On TheAtlantic.com a convicted murderer named John Lennon, (like the Beatle) - who's serving 28 years to life in New York's Attica prison for killing a fellow thug, revealed how to do it.
He says gun runners typically get a druggie, who needs cash, to buy guns in some unregulated southern state. He or she then takes a bus to New York and then sells them for more drug money.
How do you stop that? Intense background checks. Really investigate purchasers. Not the silly little form they have now.
Number two, track credit cards. When a person who's never bought a gun suddenly buys five at once, investigate.
Number three, understand that many people who report their guns stolen actually sold them. They lie.
John says he always bought a new gun after each crime; he didn't go around stealing them.
And a certain New York mayor would add one more measure to that list, "Wire-tapped conversations from this investigation show that one of the gun-trafficker's biggest concerns was 'Stop, question, frisk.'"
Which brings me to the news conference Mayor Bloomberg held Wednesday.
This is what it looks like when a city gets serious about stopping illegal guns. In this latest case, a rapper named Michael Best - one of his catchier songs is titled "Shoot 'em, Stab 'em, Rob 'em, Kill 'em."
Mr. Best posted Instagram photos of guns and cash and said he had a little weapons business going at his recording studio.
Pretty soon, New York undercover cops became his best customers and ended up busting a couple of gun runners who, just like our murderer friend said, were importing guns from the deregulated states of Dixieland.
"The percentage of guns used in crimes that are brought here from out-of-state had increased from 85 to 90 percent," said Mayor Bloomberg. "Two of the top sources for criminal gun crimes in New York are North Carolina and South Carolina."
Police commissioner Ray Kelley arranged the arsenal on a big table.
"All told, 254 illegal guns were recovered in this investigation. The mayor said this is the biggest firearms take-down in the nation's history."
Two hundred forty-three handguns, nine rifles, and two shotguns. Nineteen people under arrest.
It occurs to me that since wiretaps, Internet posts, and credit card tracking seem to be the keys to interrupting this particular illegal gun pipeline, it might be a perfect job for the NSA. It might win them a little redemption. And by using their hi-tech efforts to more precisely target the bad guys, it might even make some of the stopping and frisking unnecessary.