While most of the country reacted to Wednesday's horrific on-air murder with nothing less than unrestrained disgust, a dozen or so groups upstate are taking action of a different sort: On Sunday, a rally will be held to push for upstate New York's right to secede from the state's lower portion, in order to be freed from our oppressive ideals about gun safety and hydrofracking.
Their specific beef stems from Governor Andrew Cuomo support of the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act, commonly known as NY SAFE Act, the provisions of which include banning high-capacity magazines, background checks on ammunitions dealers, registry of assault weapons and a bevy of other limp-wristed restrictions not a fraction as heavy-handed as they should be considering the legislation was borne from the senseless slaughter of 20 school children and six adults during the massacre at Sandy Hook.
"Why secession? Secession is about reclaiming the economic opportunities upstate has lost and restoring the liberties Upstate residents once enjoyed," the gun group, Shooters Committee on Public Education, or SCOPE (cheeky!) said in a statement. "Downstate has dominated upstate for decades, and upstate has no future in a state controlled by New York City's needs and desires."
The state would theoretically be christened New Amsterdam in an attempt to hark back to the good old days (1614), though presumably similarities to the Netherlands would end with the name: The country banned hydrofracking in 2013 pending further research, and boasts incredibly restrictive gun laws. Another potential option is to team up with Pennsylvania, a state that has backed a Democratic presidential candidate in every election since 1992, so.
It's incredibly tempting to just let them go, but that would be irresponsible. And anyway, the legislatures of New York and Pennsylvania would have to approve the split, which certainly they won't. Even if the secessionists did receive the necessary approval, the newly formed state would founder financially—A 2004 study from the Center for Governmental Research in Rochester found that upstate New York benefits handsomely from NYC, with Wall Street alone representing around 19 percent of the entire state's revenue. The subsequent costly bailout would be grating for everyone, since most taxpayers would rather watch their money burn in a tire fire than bail out a gaggle of unrepentant gun-crazed fanatics.
You can read the full announcement here. Attendees are advised to bring their own chairs. It will surely be a very long day.