ON PLAXICO, JOEY PORTER WAS RIGHT. EXCEPT FOR ….

                               Kallas Remarks by Steve Kallas

Maybe you saw the Joey Porter interview with ESPN’s Michael Kim on Tuesday or Wednesday on ESPN. Porter, teammates while on the Steelers with, and a great friend of, Plaxico Burress (Plaxico “is like a brother to me”), essentially went off on the notion that Burress should be in such deep trouble for carrying a loaded gun without a permit in New York City (See Kallas Remarks, 11/30/08).

Porter should be given great credit for his honesty. He started with the “a lot of people really don’t understand” what it’s like to have a gun pulled on you or to be robbed at gunpoint, etc. and, of course, he’s right. “You really don’t know what it feels like until it happens to you” and, of course, he’s right.

But then Porter starts to ramble on a bit, starts to miss the forest for the trees and, finally, seems to miss the major point. “It’s nothing but safety” and “I’d rather get caught with than without [a gun]” and this gem: “I’d rather get caught and take the little penalty from the media or whatever the situation may be than not have a chance to save my life.”

NEW YORK CITY IN THE 21ST CENTURY

Well, that’s the problem for people like Burress (that is, people who carry a loaded firearm without a permit) in 21st century New York City. Whatever you think of Mayor Bloomberg speaking out on the Burress case (“he should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law”), Bloomberg correctly pointed out that, for years, innocent children have been killed in NYC by random bullets in gun fights in New York. The Wild West mentality had lead to many deaths over the years in New York.

    
So, unfortunately for Plaxico Burress and other gun-toting-without-a-carry-permit people in New York, the “little penalty” (you know, the law) was changed about two years ago and, where once there was some wiggle room to plead down a D violent felony to lesser time and maybe probation, it is now a C violent felony which, generally, at best, if there is a plea after indictment, can only now be a D violent felony with a mandatory minimum of two years in prison (as you know by now, a minimum of three-and-a-half years for a C conviction or plea).
Again, the purpose of the change was to put a person carrying a loaded firearm into prison. That’s what Burress is facing now.

BACK TO JOEY PORTER

When asked by Kim whether he (Porter) felt he needed to have other protection, Porter said “Besides the little buddy that I keep with me?” The implication, of course, was clear that Porter carried a handgun, something he would back off of later in the interview.

    
Porter then admitted that he did own a handgun, that he has a carry permit in California (but not Florida, where he now plays for the Dolphins) and that “if I feel a need to carry a weapon, I would do so.” Yikes!!

EXCEPT FOR THE PERMIT, OF COURSE

You can understand and almost agree with virtually everything Joey Porter says on the Plaxico situation. EXCEPT THE PART HE FORGOT TO MENTION ABOUT GETTING A PERMIT IN NEW YORK (or whatever state you are in).

There’s a fantastic article in the New York Post (October 26, 2008) entitled “The Mets Are Loaded” (seriously). Written by Reuven Blau and James Fanelli, it lays out the factors for getting a premises permit or the harder-to-get carry permit. The point, of course, is they are hard to get but can be obtained in New York (the point of the article is that New York Mets Carlos Delgado and David Wright had recently received premises permits to keep a gun at their respective homes and there is a fascinating list of a number of people who have permits – De Niro, Donald Trump, Harvey Keitel, Howard Stern, Don Imus, etc.).

So, when Joey Porter says it wasn’t right for Burress to carry a gun into a club (“No, that probably wasn’t the smartest thing”) and when Porter asks and answers his own question (“Should he [Plaxico] have not brought it? No), he and thousands of others forget the little part about getting a permit. In New York City, in 2008, that little omission (not getting a permit) often sends people to prison. And, frankly, that’s the way it is.

 © Copyright 2008 by Steve Kallas.  All rights reserved.

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