Dicker made the comment on his radio show while discussing New York's SAFE Act, a package of strict gun control legislation that Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) signed into law about a month after the September 2012 shooting. Dicker said Cuomo had promised not to pass anti-gun legislation, "but then he had a little convenient massacre that went on in Newtown, Conn. and all the sudden there was an opportunity for him."
Gun control advocacy groups New Yorkers Against Gun Violence and Newtown Action Alliance immediately latched onto the remark and demanded an apology, according to the Albany Times-Union.
"Mr. Dicker owes the families of those who lost loved ones in the Sandy Hook tragedy an apology," Monte Frank of the Newtown Action Alliance said in a statement, as quoted by the Times-Union. "We applaud Governor Cuomo and our neighbors in New York for having the courage to enact the SAFE Act to reduce the risk of another community having to experience the horror we endured.”
Asked for a response, Dicker emailed a statement to the Times-Union calling the reference to Newtown "sarcastic" and providing a definition of "massacre" for good measure:
This group clearly doesn’t understand, or doesn’t want to understand, my point, which is a sarcastic reference to the governor latching on to an horrendous out of state mass killing to advance a political agenda that had nothing to do with the problem of gun-related crimes in New York. This is a charge that has been made for over a year now by many critics of the governor’s “Safe Act.” I used the word ”massacre” intentionally because it refers, by definition, to a horrendous large scale killing, which of course the Newtown horror was. Here’s my dictionary’s definition of “massacre”:
massacre noun, 1 a cold-blooded massacre of innocent civilians: slaughter, wholesale/mass slaughter, indiscriminate killing, mass murder, mass execution, annihilation, liquidation
The dustup landed the Tuesday cover of the Post's rival tabloid, the New York Daily News:
"A little convenient massacre." http://t.co/FlzTQlGz1o -Top @NYPost columnist Fredric Dicker (@fud31) on Sandy Hook. pic.twitter.com/QifhrmJDmu
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) January 14, 2014