This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.


Happy Thanksgiving to Philadelphia!
Dana Pico 11/25/2021 12:02 PM



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     That didn't take long. It was just Wednesday morning I wrote about the city tying its second-place record of 499 homicides, set just last year.

500th homicide: Woman, 55, fatally shot in South Philly

It was the city's 500th homicide so far in 2021, matching the worst year on record.

by Robert Moran | Wednesday, November 24, 2021

     A 55-year-old woman was fatally shot Wednesday afternoon in South Philadelphia, police said.

     Her death was the 500th homicide in the city so far this year, matching the worst year on record — 1990 — and surpassing the total of 499 that occurred in 2020.

     Around 4:30 p.m., the woman was outside in the area of Seventh and Jackson Streets when she was shot three times in the chest. She was transported by medics to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 5:15 p.m.

     Another murder in broad daylight.

     No arrests or other details were reported.

     Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw issued a statement Wednesday night:

     “Each and every homicide carries with it a profound sense of loss. However, for our City to have reached such a tragic milestone — 500 lives cut short — it carries a weight that is almost impossible to truly comprehend.”

     Outlaw continued: “There are not enough words to comfort our grieving families in their time of loss. However, I want these families to know that seeking justice for their loved one remains a top priority for the Philadelphia Police Department. We will continue to work with our local, state, and federal partners and other stakeholders to get ahead of the violent crime that is plaguing our beautiful communities.”

     Of course, Mayor Jim Kenney, a Democrat, had complained earlier that afternoon, that it was the fault of the state legislature for not allowing the City of Brotherly Love to issue its own, stricter gun control laws:

As Philadelphia records 500 homicides, Mayor Kenney takes aim at the state: ‘They don’t care’

The administration convened the gathering hours before the city's 500th homicide, tying to record for the most in modern history.

by Anna Orso | Wednesday, November 24, 2021

     As Philadelphia approached a record number of homicides, Mayor Jim Kenney on Wednesday said the city is doing what it can to slow the bloodshed but is stymied by state law that keeps the city from enforcing stricter gun laws.

     “There are people making money selling these guns, making these guns,” he said, “and the legislature, they don’t care about people getting killed.”

     Kenney spoke during a morning news conference at City Hall alongside police brass, federal law enforcement officials, representatives from the District Attorney’s Office, and a handful of lawmakers from City Council and the state General Assembly. . . . .

     In taking aim at the state, Kenney was repeating his frequent criticism of a concept in state law known as preemption, which generally prohibits municipalities from passing laws that limit access to firearms. His administration last year sued the state, seeking to overturn the rule, and the case remains unresolved.

     If the city was not operating under preemption, Kenney said, officials would enforce regulations that target “straw purchasers,” or people who legally purchase firearms and then illegally sell them to others. Those include setting limits on how many guns someone can buy within city limits during a specific time period.

     There's more at the original.

     In a story published just yesterday, reporter Anna Orso, who wrote the story immediately above, noted:

     Donavan Crawford, 28, of West Philadelphia, was arrested Monday and charged overnight with murder and multiple counts of illegally carrying a gun.

     WPVI-TV reported the charges more specifically:

     Crawford is also charged with Violation Uniform Firearms Act -Former Convict, Violation Uniform Firearms Act -No License, Violation Uniform Firearms Act -On Streets, Possessing Instruments of Crime, Recklessly Endangering Another Person and Criminal Use of Communication Facility.

     In other words, it was already illegal for Mr Crawford, a previously convicted criminal, to have a firearm. Just what good does Mayor Kenney think having more gun control laws will do when people like Mr Crawford are willing to (allegedly) break the gun control laws already on the books?

     Those gun control laws were on the books in 2008, when Mayor Michael Nutter, a Democrat took office, and appointed Charles Ramsey to be his Police Commissioner. In 2008, under Mr Nutter, city homicides decreased from 391 to 331, and then made steady progress, to 302, 306, 326, 331, 246, 248, with an unfortunate jump to 280 in 2015, Mr Nutter's and Commissioner Ramsey's last year in office.

     If the homicide rate could be reduced that much under the current gun control laws by Messrs Nutter and Ramsey, why has everything collapsed under Mayor Kenney, District Attorney Larry Krasner, and Commissioner Outlaw? Under Messrs Nutter and Ramsey, the city averaged a still-too-high 296.25 killings a year, while, since they left office, the average has jumped to 383.33 per year, and, with 37 days left in the year, will go higher.

     Mr Krasner, whom The Philadelphia Inquirer actually endorsed for renomination, has more of a history of letting criminals go free so that they can then go out and murder people. And while the police have been making more illegal gun possession arrests than ever, under Mr Krasner, a George Soros stooge, convictions for illegal possession of firearms have dropped dramatically:

     Inspector Derrick Wood, commanding officer of Southwest Division, attributes some of the spike in VUFA arrests to what he describes as a growing lack of fear among people carrying guns due to dropping conviction rates and lower bails set by bail commissioners.

     “What I see is that the city and the criminal justice system do not take illegally carrying firearms seriously,” Wood said. “There’s been an explosion of gun violence in the last three years, and there’s more than one reason — but I think one reason is we don’t take it seriously.”

     An Inquirer review of 2019 gun arrests from the 18th Police District, in Wood’s Southwest Division, showed that of the 82 people whose cases were resolved as of January 2021, more than half, 53%, had their charges withdrawn or dismissed.

     Wood and some of his officers contend that amid this reality, they are encountering the same suspects over and over again. Fed up, they began posting photos on social media of confiscated firearms and calling for stricter consequences for carrying them.

     “They know there’s no consequences for carrying a gun in Philly. It’s zero to none,” he said. “I don’t care what kind of programs you come up with, what kind of money you put in prevention — if people are not held accountable, then people are going to keep carrying guns.”

     Then, further down:

     These problems existed long before Krasner took office, and yet none seemed to prohibit his predecessors from securing a higher conviction rate. . . .

     Krasner has built his administration on the idea that fewer people belong in jail — that he was sworn in to help unravel decades of misguided policy devastating communities of color and fueling more crime.

     And there you have it: Philadelphia has a District Attorney who believes that fewer people should be in jail, and he's doing just that, putting fewer people in prison. Mr Krasner blames his lower conviction rate on the police not bringing good evidence, but how much evidence is actually needed: man found with a gun, man not legally allowed to have that weapon, it ought to be case closed.

     The problem is not what the left refer to as "mass incarceration," but that not enough people who could already be behind bars are behind bars.

 



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Dana Pico
Dana Pico is a graduate of the University of Kentucky and alumnus of the Patterson School of Diplomacy and international Commerce, and has written for the Kentucky Kernel, UK's student newspaper, as well as a few articles for the Lexington Herald-Leader, all in the days just after Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press. He is now retired and living on his small farm on the banks of the Kentucky River. You can find more of his writings at The First Street Journal.




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