By Mary Alice Miller
Congressman Jeffries is demanding an apology from Wayne LaPierre, President of the National Rifle Association. “There is reality, and then there is Wayne’s World. In Wayne’s World, facts apparently don’t matter,” said Jeffries in response to an op-ed penned by LaPierre that depicted Coney Island and Sea Gate as a “hellish world” in which “looters ran wild” during the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.
“The reality is that in the week after Superstorm Sandy hit,” Jeffries said, “crime went down.” In a letter to LaPierre, Jeffries wrote: “The facts that you have disregarded, either out of ignorance or with malicious intent, tell a very different story. The overwhelming majority of residents demonstrated the grace and resilience we have come to expect from New Yorkers during times of crisis.”
LaPierre’s op-ed stated, “After Hurricane Sandy, we saw a hellish world that the gun prohibitionists see as their utopia. Looters ran wild in South Brooklyn. There was no food, water or electricity. And if you wanted to walk several miles to get supplies, you better get back before dark, or you might not get home at all.”
The op-ed, which appeared last week on the conservative Web site The Daily Caller, received 1,300 comments.
In defense of his district, Rep. Jeffries called LaPierre’s characterization of neighborhoods on the Coney Island Peninsula “brazenly unsubstantiated”. Rep. Jeffries spent countless hours on the ground in Coney Island and Sea Gate the morning after Superstorm Sandy struck and throughout that week. “Nothing about [LaPierre’s] characterization of lawlessness rings true,” said Jeffries. “The people of Coney Island and all across the neighborhood are resilient, hardworking, caring and dedicated to making a comeback.”
“The people I represent are hardworking Americans struggling to recover from the devastation wreaked by Superstorm Sandy,” said Rep. Jeffries in a letter to LaPierre. “Your insulting manifesto served only to add insult to the significant injury my constituents continue to experience.”
Rep. Jeffries urged LaPierre to issue a formal apology to the residents of South Brooklyn for his “insensitive and factually inaccurate statements”. Jeffries extended an invitation to LaPierre to “witness the devastation firsthand and meet patriotic American citizens you have chosen to insult”.
In a sign of serendipity, LaPierre’s op-ed came as New York State and federal courts are bracing for a wave of lawsuits from citizens who were falsely arrested for looting during the days after the storm knocked out electricity and washed out stores.
Donald Franks, a married father of three, was caught in a police sweep as he was returning from charging his cell phone. He was held on $100,000 bail until a grand jury voted not to indict. Franks is one of at least a half-dozen people who state they were falsely arrested for allegedly looting and plan to sue.