2011 - The Year We Take Back Congress and Make Obama's Life Hell!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Philliness in Round Numbers

Posted on Mon, Dec. 25, 2006

There was little peace or hope on Philadelphia streets on the weekend before Christmas, as four men died early yesterday in separate shootings, pushing the city's 2006 homicide tally to 400.

The number of homicides in the city so far this year stands at its highest level since 1997, when 418 were recorded. From 1990 to 1997, the city averaged 435 homicides annually, with a high of 503 in 1990.

Community leaders warned of a bloody new year unless residents from throughout the region make a concerted response to the violence.

"We are beyond the prayer rallies," said the Rev. Robert P. Shine Sr., pastor of Berachah Baptist Church in Philadelphia, and president of the Pennsylvania State Wide Coalition of Black Clergy.

"When something is happening in the city of Philadelphia that is beyond the city's ability to cope, then we all need to help," said Diane Edbril, executive director of CeaseFire PA, an advocacy group working for tougher gun-control laws in Pennsylvania.

Police Commissioner Sylvester M. Johnson last night said the answer goes beyond gun control and policing, noting that gun laws today are what they were in 2002, when homicides numbered 288.

"Unless you change the mind-set, [if] you take away the guns, I think you're still going to have the stabbings and the beatings," Johnson said.

Issues such as education and jobs need to be addressed, too, he added.

Bilal Qayyum, cofounder of the antiviolence group Men United for a Better Philadelphia, said the numbers could continue to rise. "Until we as a city totally change this environment, we're going to see the same in 2007 as we saw in 2006," he said.

Young black men "feel they are locked out of the system," Qayyum said. "What they are doing is out of anger and frustration."


"There needs to be a total, citywide effort to clamp down" on violence in schools and on the streets, Shine said.

Describing the death toll as a form of domestic terrorism, Shine also urged the state legislature to adopt tougher gun-control laws to limit access to handguns.

Qayyum stressed the need for jobs in blighted neighborhoods. "If I don't have any dollars to take care of my family, I have some hard decisions to make," he said.

The TrekMedic is left to ponder:

It is with a bit of schadenfreude that the murder rate had eclipsed the 400-person mark. The next question is: What of 2007? If 400 deaths isn't enough to get people to act, will 500 be enough? What, then, is the tipping point? How many deaths will it take to get the citizens of Philadelphia to finally stop pulling the big "D" lever every election, without thought? Its isn't the guns, folks, and it isn't the responsibility of Harrisburg to solve this problem! How many deaths before people realize the current administration, which is presently grooming the presumed next, can't - or won't - act on the behalf of it citizens and not party cronies?


At 5:10 PM, Blogger Isophorone said...

As they say in Baltimore, "Thank G-d for Philadelphia!" You are right in that these big cities have a Democrat machine that keeps churning out worse and worse leaders every decade or so. Jersey City got lucky in that a scandal created a 15-way race that a Republican, Brett Schundler, managed to win and clean up the place.

So I'm not sure what works -- scandal and a multiway race, a Republican in Democrat clothing, or a real LEADER in these urban communities to help bring the voters there to the good side.

Newark, New Jersey supposedly elected a reform-minded Democrat who has been accused of being that "Republican in Democrat cloting." Let's see if the guy is for real or if he goes native in the corrupt political climate.


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