“I’m not answering any of the questions from The Post,” Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie announced this week as he ignored a question from our Albany chief, Zach Williams. It seems the speaker’s offended by an editorial headline that blamed him, by name, for rising homicides of and by city teens thanks to the Raise the Age law.
Boo hoo. We haven’t seen a top pol get this petty since Bill de Blasio pulled a similar stunt. You’re in great company, Carl.
As Heastie well knows, our reporters have no responsibility for editorials, let alone headlines. And if he has a problem, he knows who to call to complain.
And, no, Heastie’s not single-handedly responsible for Raise the Age: It passed both chambers of the Legislature, and then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed it.
But the speaker was a major force in passing it, and has defended it so zealously that it’s perfectly fair to treat him as owning it.
Indeed, he gets passionate about it: Science, he argues, shows that the teen male brains aren’t fully developed; boys literally lack the adult capacity for self-restraint, so it’s just wrong to subject them to adult penalties.
Yet most boys do learn enough restraint to stay out of trouble. But Raise the Age pushes them into it.
It sends virtually all accused to Family Court, where they get sat down with juice and cookies (literally) before getting sent home with maybe some social-worker followup.
The clear lesson: Anti-social actions have no real consequences even if you’re caught — up until you actually kill. How on God’s earth, sir, is that the way to handle “undeveloped brains”?
Plus, gangs led by far older men exploit the boys’ immunity, recruiting them as gun-carriers and gun-wielders. Did you intend that, Carl?
Again: Teen homicides, and homicide victims, have doubled in the city since RTA took full effect. Law-enforcers across the state see the cause and effect. Albany District Attorney David Soares would be overjoyed to walk the speaker through it — if Heastie deigned to listen.
But the speaker won’t acknowledge any of the voices warning that RTA is a raging disaster for the very kids he claims to care about so much. Even though the 47th Precinct, smack-dab in his district, is one of the six that account for more than a quarter of all city shootings.
Forgive us, we guess, Mr. Speaker, if our frustration with your stonewall produced a headline you find disrespectful. But we have our own children on the streets; we can’t feel very guilty about getting personal when you show every sign of not giving a damn about their safety.