Here’s what happens when people live in an area full of predators: they experience predation, which is no fun if you survive, and less if you don’t. As anyone who’s studied crime in America in any depth realizes, real-world violent crimes are usually committed by marginal, sketchy criminals against equally marginal, sketchy victims; when money is a motive, the sums are pathetically small.
This penny-ante crime with big-ticket consequences has reached the point, in a city whose founders named it without intended irony, “The City of Brotherly Love,” where criminals routinely kill over a poor woman’s handbag and its pathetic contents: a few dollars. A pack of cigarettes.
“She gave it up and she still was killed,” said Sanchez, 40, an administrative assistant. “It’s 2:40 in the morning. She’s just coming out of the bar. At 2-something in the morning, they probably didn’t have that much cash on them.
“Where are our men? Why are they not protecting us?” Sanchez continued, her voice full of frustration. “Men are failing us. I feel as though we are not being protected.”
Honey, your men are not only not protecting you, they’re attacking you. But in the Philadelphia crime environment, wobbling out of a bar at twenty to three is tantamount to being the lame wildebeest on the Serengeti. The predators are going to lock on to you.
Like a lot of us, she’s hot as hell about what’s been happening. Sanchez, though, is turning her outrage into action by reaching out to other local women, urging them to gather with her at 9 a.m. Saturday at the site where [29-year-old Melissa] Thomas was killed, to call on city officials and also on their communities to protect them. The demonstration is being billed as “Handbags 4 Peace.”
Oh, that’s really going to do it. Because those criminals who are whacking poor women for their pitiable posessions are just lacking in proper proletarian consciousness. Why, if only there was a community organizer – Hark! What footfall approaches? Is it —
“This should be about women saying enough is enough,” said Mannwell Glenn, a political consultant advising Sanchez on Saturday’s event. “When women get pissed, they get things done.”
Yeah, because the two hoodied thugs who shot Melissa Thomas (who died) and her friend (who survived) after taking their bags at gunpoint are going to be crushed by a rally.
Uh, lots of luck with that.
Mannwell (who names these kids? Of course, their mothers, after their Baby Daddies have run off or been sent up the river) seems to think that with his expert guidance, exactly that will happen. But young punks today aren’t like he was in his young-punk days.
He pointed out that the old code of the streets, that thieves don’t hurt women and children, is no longer honored.
“This new generation, they don’t have a clue,” Glenn said disgustedly.
What does a community activist in the hood say when he goes all Clint Eastwood like that? “Get off my vacant lot?”
The women are calling their handbags … drum roll… “death tickets.”
In the past two months, according to police, three women have been shot by thieves over their pocketbooks. And Thursday, a man was shot chasing men who snatched his girlfriend’s purse.
“I shouldn’t get [dressed] in the morning with fear that my pocketbook might be my death ticket!” Sanchez wrote on a Facebook page for an advocacy group she founded last year called the Pink Soldiers.
Oh, an advocacy group on facebook. This surely has the bandits on the run. Or has it?
On Jan. 19, Amber Long, 26, was fatally shot after refusing to let go of her “death ticket.” She’d been walking with her mother about 10:30 p.m., on her way to retrieve her car, when they were approached by two men.
One man reached for Amber’s bag and the other for her mother’s purse. Amber was shot once in the chest with a small-caliber handgun. Just 45 minutes later, she was pronounced dead. By the way, that purse she was carrying had been purchased earlier that day for just $14.
The “community” hasn’t given up the shooters. “No snitching,” after all. The cops are supposed to solve these crimes without talking to anybody. The murder of Miss Long was caught on video, but that hasn’t helped; the police got a tip, and rounded up two suspects, only to discover that their suspects were uninvolved drug dealers, and their tipster, Lamar Bell, a guy who wanted them in jail and not trying to collect a debt he owed them (he’s in jail now). Here’s the video (cuts off just before the shooting):
Of course, some of those same women will be wailing and crying, when the cops bust, or better yet, shoot, the kids that they left to raise themselves while Mom was weaving home from the bars at 0240. Because it’s exactly the kids that women like these raise that turn into these predators.