State of Emergency

By Tim Whitaker
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Nov. 6, 2007

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The violence has to stop.

The tipping point came last week with the shootings in Center City and the bold assassination of a cop in West Oak Lane.

But for many in the neighborhoods the tipping point was reached a long time ago.

And for some Philadelphians the tipping point was reached a lifetime ago, or maybe even two.

Now, though, there's no ambiguity: We're all in the midst of a four-alarm citywide emergency from which no citizen or worker is exempt.

What's wrong with us?

More than three years ago a third-grade public school boy named Faheem Thomas-Childs, just 10 years old, was killed.

He was shot in the head when a gang of punkass losers began shooting at another gang of punkass losers.

Fifty bullets were fired in all.

Faheem was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

He was walking to school.

Faheem's murder looked to be a titanic tipping point for the city. Though tragic and horrifying beyond imagination, it seemed a whole lot of good might come from the heartbreak.

There were speeches. There were homilies. There were marches and vigils.

Grief over Faheem's death blanketed the city. Police and security operations were put in place to bring safety to the neighborhood.

At last there appeared the collective strength and will for change. In the name of Faheem, we would heal. And then we would transform.

But in time the crying and the speeches and the homilies and the vigils and the police operations began to slow--and after a while they ceased completely.

And all across the city the punkass losers who have nothing to show for their sorry selves but a cheap handgun and a broken down conscience began to reemerge from their shadowy hovels to wreck their havoc on the innocents again.

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