By Dan Zimmerman via TTAG
Yesterday CNN talking head Chris Cuomo was out with his family when he was approached by two men, one of whom apparently called him “Fredo” referring to the weak, stupid brother in ‘The Godfather’. Cuomo took exception to that and got into a nearly physical altercation with one of the men.
[language in this video is NSFW]
A man in NY yesterday approached CNN's Chris Cuomo and called him "Fredo"— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) August 13, 2019
Cuomo: "You're going to have a problem"
Man: "What are you going to do about it?"
Cuomo: "I'll fuckin ruin your shit. I'll fucking throw you down these stairs"
Credit: "THAT'S THE POINT with Brandon" pic.twitter.com/4iWwzaSQpF
The incident made news, with people on both sides of the political divide weighing in.
Reasonable people can disagree as to whether the Fredo comment is racist or Cuomo over-reacted. But today, President Trump tweeted about the incident saying,
Would Chris Cuomo be given a Red Flag for his recent rant? Filthy language and a total loss of control. He shouldn’t be allowed to have any weapon. He’s nuts!
If anyone needs an illustration of the inherent dangers and potential abuses of so-called red flag laws, Trump’s ignorant tweet provides exactly that.
Cuomo’s behavior — reacting to a man who approached and insulted him in front of his family — while angry, displayed no evidence that he’s a potential threat either to himself or to other people. That’s the ostensible standard that red flag laws use to determine if an individual’s firearms should be confiscated.
Besides the obvious due process issues these laws present, the other risk of red flag laws is their potential for abuse. Depending on how they’re written, a relative, friend, co-worker, teacher, or almost anyone can petition a court to have a person’s firearms confiscated, by merely claiming that they think the person is a potential danger.
Would an angry ex-spouse do such a thing? How about a business partner with whom someone has fallen out? Or, let’s say, someone who doesn’t like your politics? Would someone try to have your guns grabbed because you’ve said or written something on social media they consider racist, misogynist, or otherwise triggering?
If you don’t think so, I have some Blockbuster Video stock I’d like to sell you.
We have no idea if Cuomo owns firearms (somehow we doubt it). But if so, does anyone think he realistically presents a danger to himself or others?
Trump’s tweet — no doubt meant to tweak someone who’s been a consistent critic — was stupid and ill-considered. It’s also extremely valuable as the perfect example of why red flag laws, which the President says he supports, are such a bad idea.