August 15, 2019

Everything comes back to politics. More often than not, it comes back to the state house -- as I'll explain. Here's Mayor Jim Kenney last night, after Philadelphia police finally prevailed over an armed criminal in an hours-long hostage situation where six officers were shot.

"I had the opportunity over the last couple of hours to listen to the transmissions on the radio. Our police officers are not only talented and brave. It was amazing, intense, a number of hours going back and forth. Listening to gunshots over the radio. Listening to the officers whispering upstairs. They didn't want the shooter to know where they were located. It was a riveting, riveting experience," Kenney said.

"But our officers need help with gun control. With keeping these weapons out of people's hands. I have told you earlier, the two boys that were -- the officer had his head grazed. And there are two boys will grow up without a dad. Because this government, both federal and state level, don't want to do anything about getting guns off the street. He's a criminal. And he has a long record. But has been involved in criminal justice before and able to get the weapons, a large magazine and a large amount of bullets. Whether it was the six officers or some 16, 17, 20-year-old kid on the streets of Philadelphia who gets shot with guns that shouldn't be in people's hands. It's aggravating and it's sad. It's something we need to to do something about it.

"If the state and federal government don't want to stand up to the NRA and other folks, let us police ourselves. Our officers deserve to be protected. and don't deserve to be shot at by a guy for hours with unlimited amount of bullets. It's disgusting and we need to do something about it, quick."

Now, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh did try to regulate assault weapons. In 1993, Mayor Ed Rendell signed and approved a bill that banned certain types of assault weapons in the city. In 1994, so did Pittsburgh.

And after they were passed, the NRA-owned right-wing yahoos from the Pennsyltucky part of the state amended the state criminal code to say that "no county, municipality or township could regulate the ownership or transfer of firearms or ammunition."

It went to the Republican-controlled, rubber-stamping state Supreme Court, where of course it was upheld. (It probably wouldn't happen now, because we finally have a sane Democratic majority on the court.)

The power doesn't start at the top, it starts at the bottom. Support your local Democrats. Vote out Republicans in every single election. You can't do it if you don't show up.

And here's yet another example. Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who brought to light the stunning abuse by Catholic priests and the subsequent coverup, tried to get the statute of limitations extended so victims could bring charges. Once again, Republican extremists prevailed.

Vote. Call your politicians. Sign petitions. It drives me crazy when people say there's no point -- yes, there is. They're counting. They're paying attention. This is how we move them. It may not be fast, but eventually, it works.

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