Monday, June 06, 2022

Crime? What Me Worry?

As reported by The Philadelphia Inquirer

Three people were killed and 11 others wounded in a mass shooting late Saturday night on South Street amid chaos that erupted on legendary blocks that have long been among the region’s most popular gathering places....

Officials had not released the identities of the dead, saying only that one was a 25-year-old man and another a 22-year-old woman. The names and conditions of the wounded, seven of whom were taken to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, were unavailable. Other victims were taken to Pennsylvania Hospital and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center.

Although a particularly horrific incident, it was not out of character for this part of Philadelphia and, to a lesser extent, the city itself as homicides are disturbingly common. The Inquirer notes

A shooting incident was reported earlier in the week at Fourth and South, but it was unclear whether it was in any way related to Saturday’s shooting.

Around 12:30 a.m. Tuesday, police said, someone fired multiple shots at the intersection, striking homes on the 400 block of Gaskill Street, according to a report by WPHL-TV. Officers at the scene found nearly 50 pieces of ballistic evidence that spanned several blocks.

No arrests were made, but the station said police were searching for a female suspect.


As is not uncommon for Philadelphia, no one has been arrested for the massacre late Saturday night, either. And yet, the following morning, there was this:

 

You may be forgiven for thinking that the Twitter account of Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, avid law enforcement and criminal justice reformer, was hacked. The District Attorney is, after all, the highest-ranking law enforcement officer in the City of Philadelphia. Yet, only a few hours after 14 people (three fatally) were shot, the District Attorney sends the message that it's business as usual.

For those acquainted with Larry Krasner, this was no effort to calm or reassure the populace. It was a clear expression of the values and priorities of this Democrat, and came as no surprise to anyone.

As the reform-minded District Attorney of San Francisco, California should- should- understand, voters are not amused by prosecutors seemingly unconcerned about violent crime. Democratic officeholders are justifiably enraged at mass shootings of completely innocent victims in schools and hospitals, but some appear too accepting of violent crimes which take place daily in communities nationwide. 

Republicans will exploit this, as they have since the days of Richard Nixon's "crime in the streets"/"law and order" campaign of 1968. The policies of major cities (and others) must balance the interests of community safety and of justice.

Justice is the guiding light for defense attorneys, including for public defender agencies. However, if justice- let alone the need of residents to feel (and be) safe and secure- is to be pursued, a district attorney's office must dedicate itself to pursuing convictions of violent offenders and assure the public of its commitment.

When a slaughter takes place, it's disastrous for people , but low-hanging fruit for a District Attorney. It's an opportunity to remind the public of the zeal he/she and the entire law enforcement establishment not to support the LGBYQIA+ community- nor the straight community- but everyone. Larry Krasner may survive a perceived preference for the offender over the offended, but the Democratic Party across the country may not afford the damage he and similar prosecutors do to the public's perception of its officials and candidates for office.




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