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This Once-Great City Continues Its Slouch into an Abyss of Racism, Crime, & Anti-Semitism
Until the New Year, my family and I lived in the Philadelphia suburbs for some 18 years. We still have great friends and memories, and we continue to make almost monthly forays to our former home community (but not center city Philadelphia). Our memories of trips to downtown Philadelphia (rarely at night) are mostly positive (my youngest son and I being jostled by Flyers fans while donning Capitals jerseys during an NHL game is an exception, but I knew what I was in for. We all know Philly sports fans and their history – just ask Santa).
There is obviously great history and some terrific restaurants (Porcini is America’s best Italian restaurant, and it’s BYOB). But I still give a better tour of Congress Hall, next to Independence Hall, than the US Park Service Rangers, as good as they are. God bless ’em.
So it caught my eye today when I saw that a popular “Taste of Home” food festival, featuring all kinds of ethnic foods, was canceled in the increasingly popular, trendy, but crime-infested Kensington section of the city. Why? Because they had invited an Israeli-owned food truck featuring foods from, well, Israel, to participate. The threats that followed forced the organizers to cancel.
Thus are things in a once-but-no-longer great city whose inexorable decline can be traced best to December 9, 1981, when Mumia Abu Jamal murdered a Philly police officer, Daniel Faulkner, at point-blank range after a routine traffic stop. Jamal, a gifted communicator, turned himself into a celebrity, branding himself a victim of white supremacy and racism. He gave commencement speeches from jail and become a cause celebre in Hollywood. There’s even a street named after him in Paris, France.
Officer Faulker is unavailable for comment.
Jamal had been sentenced to death by a jury but got off on a bizarre and dubious technicality. He continues his celebrity-hood from prison today. Perhaps you’ve seen the same ignorant youth who wear Che Guevara shirts adorned with this “Free Mumia” classic.
If the current prosecutor, Soros-backed Larry Krasner, were the prosecutor in 1982, there’s little doubt Jamal would have long been released from prison, if ever convicted. And don’t me started on the city’s horrific Mayor, Jim Kenney. My former acquaintance, Michael Smerconish along with Faulkner’s widow, Maureen, authored a terrific if painful book, “Murdered by Mumia,” about Jamal that is still a great read. One of my sons helped Smerconish with the book during an internship more than a decade ago.
Have you checked the crime rates in Philly lately? Perhaps you were around for the George Floyd-related riots that injured dozens and shuttered or destroyed businesses? A vendor friend of mine was attacked on his bicycle and permanently closed his repair shop for a safer suburban location.
So, congratulations, Philly, your growing violence and antisemitism just confirms your slow but inexorable slouch to Gomorrah. Enjoy the descent. You’re almost there.Published in