Yesterday (June 12, 2007) in this space, there was a little ditty headlined: The Curtis Sliwa of New Haven. It compared the Guardian Angels founder with the founder of the armed Edgewood bicycle patrol, Rabbi Daniel Greer.
Well, the copy is about to meet the original, otherwise known as Sliwa meets the rabbi. Curtis is scheduled to be in New Haven on June 14, to meet with Greer.
Perhaps a mutual admiration society is about to be born. Sliwa, never one to avoid a camera, and Greer, a man who does things his own way will sit down.
Greer is used to being a teacher, but in this, he's the student. Sliwa is reportedly on his way to convert the rabbi from a gun-toting, Dirty Harry-type patrol to the unarmed Guardian Angels type of crime fighting.
Sliwa's group has never used guns, but depends on numbers and persuasion, along with good relations with the police. After Greers scold at the cops yesterday, that's going to take some work. Greer's group has two guys on bikes, with the threat of armed resistance to crime as their weapon.
Greer reportedly says he's ready to be converted and Sliwa reportedly said he'd help for as long as it takes.
Add to the mix, a catalyst. Two people were shot to death in the general area, adding fuel to the fears. Assertions of racism have surfaced and were denied. Leaders of the Jewish community have issued statements saying Greer is wrong to have armed patrols, all the way to can't we all just get along.
If Sliwa can talk Greer out of his pistol-packing plan, that will be good. If Sliwa sticks around after the cameras have moved on, it will be even better.