The Fourth of July in Philadelphia tends to be a big holiday. In the city that prides itself on being the birthplace of America, the festivities would naturally be as good as it gets on the Nation’s birthday.
At a Fourth of July celebration years ago when the city hosted a massive fireworks display near the Delaware River, I braced myself for the bedlam that would follow as soon as the fireworks were over.
It took nearly an hour to exit the viewing space with the slow-moving crowds. Bodies were shoulder-to-shoulder. It was so bad I wondered what would happen if the crowd somehow went berserk—a fight, a stampede, people falling over people. In crowds this huge, anything can happen.
That Fourth of July was years before so many American cities under leftwing Democrat control began to slip into the dystopian swamp. Little did I realize then that swamp life for the City of Philadelphia was just around the corner.
After that concert, I swore off July 4th events and all outdoor festivals where huge masses of people seemed to be “crushed” into regulated spaces. This included the Benjamin Franklin Parkway concerts in the summer that draw thousands of people who also wind up standing shoulder-to-shoulder, many of them drunk or stoned while waiting in lines for their turn at the Porta Potty.
The city is now in full dystopian swamp mode, thanks to so many leftwing mini-French style revolutions that have left it broken and in disrepair.
The George Floyd riots of 2020; the emergence of D.A. Larry Krasner and his easy-on-crime philosophy; the mayor’s hiring of Danielle Outlaw as Police Commissioner in 2020, fresh from Portland, Oregon, one of the most leftwing cities in America. Outlaw, of course, would slide into Krasner’s agenda like a silk glove.
Philadelphia seemed to change overnight. It was suddenly acceptable to tear down a statue of a former mayor and remove a famous statue of Christopher Columbus in South Philadelphia.
Mayor Kenney offered no objections as D.A. Krasner went about reforming the criminal justice system. City Council also sided with Krasner. This was a show of force and unity that the city hadn’t seen in a long time.
While there was always crime in the city, there used to be a sense that it was controllable. In 2022, many Philadelphians now choose to stay indoors at night or state they won’t go downtown on weekends because violence can happen at any time.
Every facet of city life has been affected by the left’s deconstruction of what was.
Travel on Septa’s Market Frankford El on any day of the week and you’ll quickly learn that major stations like the 69th Street Terminal has closed all of its public restrooms because too many people OD in the bathroom stalls there. In Philadelphia, the homeless and the violent have taken over, and its citizens suffer.
Philadelphia was now a once-beautiful city under siege, where many of the criminals are juveniles.
Some recent horrors: a 54-year-old man walking to a rock concert on Broad Street was attacked by four juveniles who beat and robbed him and left him for dead near 16tn and Mt. Vernon Streets. The man is still in ICU and may never regain the use of his mental faculties.
A 73-year-old black man was beaten to death with traffic cones by a group of black, fatherless juveniles. A boy and a girl, both 14, have been charged with his murder.
Murder (and robberies and all manner of harassment) by juveniles has now become an epidemic in Philadelphia. Very often these crimes are black-on-black.
Where’s City Council? Or even Black Lives Matter? They are nowhere and stay silent. They would rather talk about “Republican guns.”
At this year’s Fourth of July event at the foot of the city’s Art Museum, shots rang out just as fireworks began lighting up the sky. The gunfire hit two police officers standing near the museum’s steps. Miraculously, both officers survived. One was wounded in his shoulder; the other officer had a bullet graze his forehead, then lodge in his uniform cap.
The shooters were not caught but escaped into the massive crowds. After the shots, crowd chaos ensued with people running and screaming like extras in a violent Hollywood film.
In summing up the events, the City made the extraordinary claim that it was not sure whether the shots were fired at the officers intentionally or unintentionally.
Let’s not forget that this is the same city where police officers were forced to run from rioters during the George Floyd 2020 siege that cost the city millions of dollars in damages.
As The New York Post reported, “It’s likely somebody was hurting cops in Philly.”
It was certainly not a mass shooting common in other parts of the country, where the killer is often a whacko loner psycho who wants to take down as many people as possible. The shooting was typical of Philadelphia: it was smaller, possibly gang- or anti-cop related, thugs with a political agenda.
If you can’t defund the police, you can certainly shoot them.
Why not shoot them, especially when you have a D.A. like Larry Krasner working so hard to secure the rights of criminals? Two primary reasons why crime is spiking in Philadelphia are: the precedent set by police inaction during the 2020 riots and the fact that the D.A. is not holding offenders accountable.
As the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund (LELDF) reported:
“Krasner is failing miserably at prosecuting felony offenses. Compared to his predecessor’s average conviction rates, Krasner dropped or lost 26% more of all felony cases. More robbery cases (+14%) and auto theft cases (+37%) were dropped or lost. In drug sales (not possession) cases, Krasner dismisses or loses 55% of cases compared to the 34% rate of his predecessor –a 65% increase.”
Mayor Kenney wasted no time blaming the shootings on Republican support of gun ownership. This partisan leap into nitrous oxide air was a new low for a mayor who LELDF says should have used the moment to come clean with a confession.
“…Kenney could have come clean that the policies he and the City Council support, such as banning traffic stops, have created an atmosphere of lawlessness. He could have called out Philadelphia’s de-prosecuting prosecutor, District Attorney Larry Krasner, who seems loath to lock up violent criminals, especially felons who are carrying guns. He could have confessed that the entire progressive political experiment running in Philadelphia for the past six years has been an unmitigated failure.”
What the mayor did say was: “I’m waiting for something bad to happen all the time. So I’ll be happy when I’m not here, when I’m not mayor.
“I’m concerned every single day. There’s not an event or a day where I don’t lay on my back at night and look at the ceiling and worry about stuff,” Kenney added.
Did it ever occur to the mayor that maybe he had a hand in creating this monster? One thinks of Dr. Frankenstein, shocked and aghast, when the monster on his lab table actually turns out to be a monster.
“I’ll be happy when I’m not here, when I’m not mayor and I can enjoy some stuff,” Kenney said.
Enjoy “some stuff” like walking to a concert on Broad Street, only to be attacked and beaten nearly to death by directionless, fatherless teens?
“Some stuff” like enjoying a 2 a.m. walk while a group of juveniles attacks you, not with guns but with traffic cones?
In a dystopian swamp, it matters little what the “killing instrument” is: gun, rubber hose, bow and arrow, traffic cone, swashbuckling sword, black jack, cinder block.
There are all kinds of creative ways to kill. All you need is a lawless society, a crime “green light” D.A. like Krasner, and a City Council that’s more worried about the next stripe on the Rainbow flag than finding solutions to violence, other than blaming Republicans and the Second Amendment.
When many people in the city called for Kenney’s resignation after his admission that he no longer wanted to be mayor, he apologized.
“In a late-night, overwhelming moment of frustration, I said I was looking forward to no longer being mayor. Let me be clear, I’m incredibly grateful to be mayor of this great city and for the people who elected me to lead,” Kenney said.
“But we live in America where we have the Second Amendment and we have the Supreme Court of the United States telling everybody they can carry a gun wherever they want. There’s a lot of goofballs out there with guns and they can get them anytime they want, so this is what we have to live with,” he added.
The mayor, off to see The Wizard, said he would unilaterally strip citizens of the right to own guns — if only he had the authority.
That would not fix the problem in Philadelphia where, as Mehmet Oz, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, has stated, “radical far left politics is the norm.”
But it’s worse than “the norm.” In Philadelphia, radical politics is as entrenched as Frankenstein’s monster’s footprint.
Thom Nickels is a Philadelphia-based journalist/columnist and the 2005 recipient of the AIA Lewis Mumford Award for Architectural Journalism. He writes for City Journal, New York, Frontpage Magazine, Broad and Liberty, and the Philadelphia Irish Edition. He is the author of fifteen books, including ”Literary Philadelphia” and ”From Mother Divine to the Corner Swami: Religious Cults in Philadelphia.” “Death in Philadelphia: The Murder of Kimberly Ernest” will be published in 2023.