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Re: [PA] Frank Rizzo-1916-1991 Philly Mayor

A Tale of Two Mayors (by a different Michael A Cavanaugh)

I lived in West Philadelphia (Overbrook) 1983-85). Great Italian-American neighborhood, the veal truck (VEAL truck! you gotta love this) delivered twice a week, my girlfriend's best friend's cousin Nicky had a corner grocery & kicked us down the VERY aged cheese from the back of the store.

It was also very near to the destruction of the M.O.V.E. organization. (So close that the ashes of their cremation rained down on my head, in my street.)

Previously I went to Pitt, where a grad school colleague of mine (a PA State trooper) told me the following story. Mayor Rizzo had scoured high and low for a surplus tank for the Philadelphia PD. He wanted to bulldoze and/or level by artillery, an urban compound occupied by M.O.V.E. What, fire artillery into a row house, incinerate an entire block? But everybody knew, Rizzo was crazy, and the state police put an end to it.

Fast-forward. Mayor Wilson B. Goode, calm cool and collected African-American city manager-type, succeeds Rizzo. Nobody's watching him because he's not Rizzo, he's not crazy. So, at his behest, a police helicopter drops a satchel charge on a row house and incinerates an entire city block (largely African-American). The only successful aerial bombardment of a major U.S. city in American history!

Sociologists speak of "the positive effect of the double-negative," e.g., how being Black + female can turn out to confer a double advantage politically. But the Wilson B. Goode case must be an example of "the negative effect of the double-positive," how being Black + managerial gives one a pass from close scrutiny and so removes external constraints against screwing-up big-time.

I'll never forget the poor old man on that block who lost in addition to his house his entire collection of jazz records. A lifetime's achievement, just gone. Fortunately he escaped with his life. Not everyone did.

An added detail. In order to justify the massive barrage of small arms fire that the police poured into the compound in the early morning that day (well before the satchel charge), one of the local I'm Witless News reporters "reported" that those criminals in M.O.V.E. had "a .60-cal machine gun"!

Now, there is no such thing as a .60-cal machine gun. In the American arsenal of the day, there was an M-60, which is a .30 cal machine gun; and the largest was a .50 cal machine gun. By implication this poor schnook of a "reporter" was fed (by somebody) verbal information, which he garbled; but the gist of his report was to indicate how heavily armed were these bad boys who dared to challenge the Philadelphia PD.

After the ashes were sifted, if I recall, they found in the M.O.V.E. compound the frames of 2 revolvers and 1 shotgun. Mos' def, Weapons of Mass Destruction.

Messages In This Thread

[PA] Frank Rizzo-1916-1991 Philly Mayor
Re: [PA] Frank Rizzo-1916-1991 Philly Mayor

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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