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Under Progressive Mayor Kenney, Philadelphia Has a Stabbing Problem

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.