A Killing Without Guns

Militant Rabbi Scores Press but No Troops

"If we see anyone strapped with dynamite in a heavy coat in the summer, we're going to shoot to kill," said Lloyd. He agreed a real-life scenario would likely be murky and conceded that the group's lack of surveillance training "could lead to an error in judgment, absolutely."

That kind of talk brought out droves of detractors to Sunday's noon press conference. Politicians from every level of government vied for airtime with increasingly feisty denouncements. ("He's a wacko loco!" offered Brooklyn Councilmember Simcha Felder.) Members of the 66th Precinct, prepped by a week's worth of media inquiries to the NYPD and mayor's office, were out in full force.

The vehement community opposition was why Lloyd decided late Sunday to call off the night's patrols, he explained for news reports that evening and on Monday. But journalists who showed up at the appointed hour and launch point, just in case, groused that he had called nothing off—there had never been an army of armed vigilantes in the first place. One Canadian reporter, covering Lloyd's group for both a major newspaper and a radio network, went red with mortification when she learned she had filed a story destined for early editions about patrols that would not be.

Lloyd called the Voice Sunday night to deliver that promised exclusive. He denied that his critics had cowed him, and he fumed at the suggestion that his troops of supporters existed only in his dreams and were at best an elaborate ruse to win fame. He insisted he had had "over 50 people ready—they made arrangements with baby-sitters," but that the threat of blanket arrests had deterred them.

"We're going to regroup this week, get our lawyers ready, get people who have money for bail if need be. And then if we get arrested, we get arrested," said Lloyd. "We have a lot of people in our group. We're going to show people we have a large group. We're not finished."

Whatever. Shotgun patrols might have made for sexier copy, but in a larger sense, no news from Lloyd was good news.

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