NYC Mayor Eric Adams: Some Dumb Bullsh*t About Face Masks And CRIME!
Just LOOK at all these potential robbers in Tokyo! Image: Kimimasa Mayama, Creative Commons License 4.0

New York City Mayor Eric Adams has a great idea to crack down on shoplifting in the city: Stores of all kinds need to make everyone take off their face masks when they enter a business, then at some point later, the customers can put their masks on again.

Yr Wonkette has to say that the biggest surprise for me, as a resident of Boise Goddamn Idaho, is learning that people in New York are still following basic pandemic health measures in any significant numbers. The city no longer mandates masking but many stores still ask shoppers to mask up.

In a radio interview Monday, Adams said that it's a simple matter of preventing crime by making all shoppers smile for the surveillance equipment.

We are putting out a clear call to all of our shops: Do not allow people to enter the store without taking off their face mask,” Adams said Monday on 1010 WINS radio. “And then once they’re inside, they can continue to wear it if they so desire to do so."

Adams said the move would help cops “use the technology we have available to identify those shoplifters and those who are committing serious crimes.”

Anyone refusing to enter a store bare-faced, Adams suggested, should not be allowed in by the proprietors.

Adams then went on to offer his own special theory of masking in New York: Really, nobody is concerned for their health anymore, it's all just criminals!

“When you see these mask-wearing people, oftentimes it’s not about being fearful of the pandemic,” he said. “It’s fearful of the police catching them for their deeds.”

Well now he's just being silly. You can always identify a criminal by their black eye mask, old-fashioned cap, and stripey shirt, not to mention the cloth sacks with dollar signs in which they carry their loot. Many also have very thick five-o'clock shadow!

In another interview yesterday, Adams once more asserted that the city needs to stop allowing these masked bad guys "to exploit the safety of the pandemic by wearing masks, committing crimes."

Just let that phrase "the safety of the pandemic" roll around in your heads a bit.

An aide to Adams later clarified that this wasn't a change in legal requirements for masking, just a really good idea.

The New York Times notes that Adams's call for at least temporary unmasking comes as the city

has seen reduced rates of crime across most categories, from murder to petit larceny, for the first two months of 2023 compared with the same period last year, Police Department data shows.

But theft has been a harder problem to address, and concerns over robberies and shoplifting persist. The problem was underscored over the weekend by the shooting death of a 67-year-old deli employee in Manhattan, who was killed on Friday night by a robber wearing a dark face mask and a white, full-body Tyvek suit.

That is terrible, we'll agree, but we're not sure someone bent on robbing a place is necessarily going to be put off by having to briefly remove a face mask. And as the Times points out, any call to reduce the wearing of masking "is sure to draw the ire of those who remain committed to masking in public as Covid persists, as well as those with health conditions that put them at an elevated risk of severe illness."

Still, Adams said that asking people to drop their masks when they enter a shop wouldn't just allow security cameras to get a record of shoppers' faces, it would also help alert stores to potential shoplifters, since anyone not dropping their mask would clearly be a suspect whom employees should keep an eye on. Or, in Adams's strange locution, "if someone is violating the basic rules, they may be there to violate a substantial rule as to commit a crime.”

Or they may be someone with a serious medical issue who won't shop there ever again, thereby ensuring that once people concerned for their health are scared away, only criminals will wear masks, WIN.

Also interesting is the difference in tone between the coverage of the mayor's remarks in the Times, which emphasized the city's overall drop in crime, and the New York Post, which suggested that shoplifting is a crisis and quoted some merchants who are demanding actual bans on mask-wearing, since the pandemic is over and why are you libs trying to make things easier for criminals? Stop enabling the baddies to exploit the safety of the pandemic, will ya?

[NY Post / NYT / Image: Kimimasa Mayama, Creative Commons License 4.0]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.


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