Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, and Jim Kenney, the mayor of Philadelphia, might as well be karmic twins. Both govern a city that has quickly become a knife crime capital.
London is in the thick of a knife-wielding epidemic that got the attention of its former mayor, Boris Johnson. Johnson was not shy in blaming Khan for not doing enough. Knife crime in London has continued, reaching a seven-year high so far in 2018. With five months to go, those stats could double. Meanwhile, across the pond in the once Greene Country Towne of William Penn, knife crime is percolating like a tea kettle in an Old City tavern. Mayor Kenney has been quiet about the city’s growing knife violence epidemic, although if you were to ride the subways here you might be able to hear the exasperated voice of the citizenry lamenting the growing number of stabbings.
In July 2018, there were two stabbings inside Philadelphia’s flagship Wawa store at Broad and Walnut streets, a stone’s throw from the prestigious Union League and some of the city’s finest hotels. The Broad and Walnut “open 24 hours” Wawa is a takeout eatery and convenience store that caters to post-clubbing late-night revelers. During the day, this same Wawa is a fairly respectable breakfast, lunch, and snack destination, but after sunset everything changes.
Since the two July stabbings, the Broad and Walnut Wawa is closing daily at 11 p.m.
The most high-profile Philadelphia stabbing recently was the July 2018 evening murder of a real estate developer who left a restaurant on Rittenhouse Square with friends only to get stuck in traffic on a nearby side street. The developer and his friends stepped out of the car to help move things along, when the unexpected happened: A 20-year-old food delivery cyclist somehow got into an argument with the developer. The confrontation ended when the cyclist removed a Rambo knife from his backpack and plunged it into the back of the developer, who died less than an hour later.
Because the cyclist is black and the developer was white, Philadelphia’s racial detective element went into high gear. Within a few hours the race detectives had added a twist to the murder — that the cyclist felt his life was being threatened. Then came the Hallmark stories about how the cyclist also happens to be a poet, how he cries himself to sleep in jail, how he hates jailhouse cheese sandwiches, and so forth.
Since stabbings are becoming the rage in Philadelphia (they are well-established in the city of London, where as of June 2018 there have been 70 knife murders), I have to wonder if criminal types have decided to exercise their own version of gun control by taking up knives as the new method of execution.
Here is just a snippet of some fairly recent stabbings in Philadelphia:
— Steven E. Simminger of Delaware County stabbed 24-year-old Colin McGovern to death in Rittenhouse Square in March 2016.
— In 2015, a trans woman and a man stabbed a 21-year-old man inside Wendy’s in Center City as he was seated at a table eating his meal.
— In June 2017, City Councilman David Oh was stabbed during a robbery attempt.
— In May 2018, in Center City’s Hampton Inn a man stabbed a co-worker multiple times.
— In April 2018, two teens went on a stabbing spree at the 8th and Market SEPTA station.
Philadelphia’s stabbing incidents may not be as plentiful as London’s, but the numbers are growing — as are the left progressive policies and activism of Mayor Kenney. Are the two things related? As with a tree with rotting roots, one might make a case for the corruptibility of new growth or branches.
Mayor Kenney flaunts the city’s sanctuary city status in the face of President Trump. London’s Mayor Khan adopted a similar arrogant pose, when he approved an inflatable “Trump baby” balloon during the president’s recent visit.
Kenney makes no secret of his contempt for the administration in Washington. At times he sounds like a smoke-bomb throwing social justice warrior in a face mask. When Vice President Mike Pence visited Philadelphia on July 19, Mayor Kenney sent this “resistance” email to members of the press and others.
“Trump’s most loyal defender — VP Mike Pence — just arrived in Philadelphia again, to spew more hate and xenophobia. Pence’s long history of anti-immigrant intolerance, his long-held anti-choice zealotry, and his hateful attacks on our LGBTQ sisters and brothers is an on-going campaign that must be resisted.”
Hate and xenophobia? LGBTQ sisters and brothers? What is this, 1969? Most of my friends are gay and only a small minority of them identify with the “official” LGBTQ community, with its pronoun rules and its love affair with groups like Black Lives Matter. Mayor Kenney is a groupthink progressive and a political Stepford “wife.” He incorporates the latest Leftist lingo faster than suburban teenage girls pick up the latest trends. He is also not universally loved by Philadelphians.
Unlike London, with its sharia law/migrant neighborhoods, in Philadelphia, homelessness and the opioid crisis are big problems. Instead of worrying about Vice President Pence and his perceived xenophobia, Mayor Kenney should concentrate on the thousands of migrant opioid addicts who travel here (Philadelphia is a sanctuary city, after all) from other states. Apparently the heroin in the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Addiction is the “purest” and cheapest in the nation.
Addicts come with their Apollo moon-sized knapsacks; they sleep in makeshift tents along Conrail tracks or on beds of cardboard under I-95. Once they arrive in Philadelphia — like the couple I met from Massachusetts last year who vowed they would only stay for a few weeks — most find it impossible to leave. Philadelphia’s drug vortex is powerful and “holding” and the heroin addict tribal communities keep growing.
The Left in Philadelphia does everything to coddle the street addicts: free daily meals, free needles, free medical care, and soon, free injection sites. The next step in this opioid sanctuary city will be free heroin, because no addict who suffers from the disease of drug addiction should be forced to beg for money in order to get well.
Last month, a large scrap yard in the Kensington area — dead center of the opioid loop — caught fire. This foreboding enclave of found and stolen metal, aluminum and copper objects including cars and trucks, and untold containers of hazardous materials went up in flames, causing foul-smelling blacker than black smoke to choke the city’s Riverward neighborhoods.
The scrapyard was often referred to as a heroin scrap yard because it was where many homeless junkies went to cash in aluminum, copper, and other materials. A few days before the fire it was reported that junkie scrappers had dumped pipes filled with hazardous material down a nearby sewer. This got the attention of Homeland Security. When the scrap yard fire erupted, many people here felt that the fire was the result of vigilante arson in retaliation for the pipe scare.
Philadelphia, like London, suffers from internal mismanagement and incompetence.
Both Mayor Kenney and Mayor Kahn are failing at their own jobs, yet they have plenty to say about national politics, childish balloons, and whether the vice president is worth a cent or a half pence. Both deserve to be defeated in 2019.