ASTREET IN Philadelphia is once again stained with blood. But now, it's the blood of three young children and a young mother, their lives ended in a moment of horrific brutality when a car driven by a suspected carjacker slammed into them while fleeing the police.
The outrage that should be stemming from this atrocity is pouring out - but in the wrong direction: toward the police.
Why do police have to chase armed carjackers? The answer is obvious: Because they are dangerous and need to be taken off the streets and out of commission as quickly as possible before they hurt anybody else. Unfortunately, when people make the decision to run from police, it makes that task all the more challenging.
The anger should be felt and should be heard. When four people perish in the night, we must make our hurt known. But we can't afford to misdirect this anger and pain at the officers who were just trying to do their job and apprehend a dangerous, armed felon. The man responsible for this calamity is the man who ran. Period. It really is that simple.
We should mourn these the dead, not defame their memory by using their coffins as soapboxes from which to lambast the police for trying to make this city a little safer than it is.
Gabriel L. Nathan, Wynnewood
Of Kensington & Son of Sam
I lived my first 30 years in Kensington. It was a beautiful place. Women would come out every weekend to scrub their marble steps. At 21, I came home from the Army in 1963. People had moved, the Irish and German neighborhood was turning Hispanic. I saw a lot of "street justice." Then came the "Badlands," and drugs.
But what I've just seen has renewed my faith in Kensington. When a group of young men found the rapist and took matters in their own hands and put out of action another youth because he raped a young girl.
That shows character: "You can live in our neighborhood, but leave our babies alone."
George J. Walton, Upper Darby
These men are not your traditional hero types, but these uncommon heroes manned up and did the right thing when the moment of truth presented itself.
This episode reminded me of a similar one back in 1977 in Brooklyn, N.Y., where local troubled youth (wannabe mobsters associated with the real-life mobsters from the movie "Goodfellas" - Henry Hill, Tommy DeSimone and Jimmy Burke), with no law-enforcement training, assisted the NYPD in searching for Son of Sam serial murderer David Berkowitz.
During the Son of Sam investigation, youthful uncommon heroes were also a little rough with "persons of interest" regarding that investigation. New York Mayor Abraham Beame saw to it that none of them were criminally charged for their valiant efforts in restoring public safety in Brooklyn.
The events became a turning point, helping many of the troubled youths become positive members of society.
I should know. I was one of those youths who evolved for the better in the aftermath of the search for Son of Sam.
Greg Bucceroni, Coordinator
Crime Victim Services/Youth at Risk
East Police Division Community Partnership