- - Monday, October 28, 2019

A mob guy I’ve known for years was in a South Philadelphia bar talking about his plan to open a gun range where he was going to teach young gangbangers how to shoot straight — South Philly style.

“None of that holding the gun sideways like they do in the movies and spraying bullets across the street or from a fast-moving car,” he said half-jokingly. ”I’ll teach ‘em to get up close and hold the gun right, like we do, and not leave any innocent bystanders dead in the street.

“Like us, they should only kill their own.”


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The jest was in response to reports of two children who were shot in two separate incidents less than 24 hours apart in Philadelphia. A 2-year-old girl was killed on Oct. 20, and a 11-month-old boy was shot earlier several times. The boy remains in critical condition.

The 2-year-old girl was shot in the head and killed when multiple bullets burst into her home in the Huntington Park section of the city. The child’s 24-year-old mother was shot in the back and the head, and a carpet cleaner working in the house was shot in the stomach.



The police suspect an AK-47-type rifle was used in the shooting.

“No child should be murdered in their living room. It’s just terrible,” Philadelphia’s acting police commissioner, Christine Coulter, told reporters.

Earlier, a woman had been driving in North Philadelphia when bullets pierced through the trunk of her car, striking her 11-month-old stepson four times. There was also an unidentified man in the car with the woman and child, and police suspect he was the target of the assault.

The police believe a 9mm handgun was used in this shooting.  

City officials held a news conference on Oct. 21 and asked the public to help police bring the shooters to justice. A $30,000 reward was offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the two shootings. In addition to the reward offered by the city, the police union was offering an additional $5,000 reward for information that led to an arrest.

A suspect was arrested on Oct. 22 and charged with murder in the shooting death of the 2-year-old. The police are now working on identifying a second suspect. The police don’t yet know if the suspect in custody fired the rifle, but they believe he was one of two people responsible for the murder of the child. Early reports indicate that the shooting came about due to a dispute with the child’s father and that the dispute was possibly drug related.  

The acting police commissioner stated that tips were instrumental in the arrest, and she noted that everyone, like her, was outraged over a child being murdered.

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney offered his strong feelings over the shootings in a statement. “I am outraged, disgusted, and heartbroken by the violence this weekend that claimed the life of an innocent 2-year-old and left another infant fighting for his life.”

The shooting of children is indeed tragic, but even though the police investigation is in its early phase, city officials immediately raised the issue of gun control as a remedy and a preventative measure. City officials quickly called for lawmakers to legislate gun laws prohibiting the sale of AR-15 type rifles.

Mayor Kenney and other city officials called on state and federal lawmakers to take action on gun control laws, which they believe will prevent the easy availability of guns on the streets of Philadelphia. The mayor said he needed help to control guns.

“They’re just flowing in here like a river,” Mr. Kenney told reporters. 

I don’t doubt the mayor’s grief and sincerity over the shooting of the children, but I don’t subscribe to his solution. After every shooting incident, those on the left are too far too quick to blame the gun rather than the shooter, yet they never blame the car after a drunk driver or terrorist uses a vehicle to kill and injure. Nor do they blame the explosives rather than the bomber. And they fail to recognize the distinction between a legally own firearm and an illegally obtained one. One person who certainly knows something about illegal guns is the notorious former Cosa Nostra New York Gambino crime family underboss Salvatore “Sammy the Bull” Gravano.

Gravano, who confessed to 19 murders in 1992 when he became a cooperating witness against Gambino boss John Gotti, said in a recent YouTube interview that he supported Second Amendment rights to legally own guns. The government can take away legal guns from people trying to defend themselves, Gravano said in the interview, but that won’t stop criminals from acquiring guns.

“People like me will always have guns,” Gravano said.

• Paul Davis covers crime, espionage and terrorism.

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