February 24, 2004

Philly's Avenging Angel

Philly's a tough city with a soft (and strange) heart. In the last week, two schoolkids have been killed by gunfire. Eleventh-grader Raymond Dawson was shot to death during a robbery attempt while walking home from helping his family sell flowers. And Faheem Thomas-Childs, a third-grader, was caught in the middle of a drug war while walking to school.

In response, a "hard-boiled businessman," a Sicilian named Joe Mammana, is putting a $10,000 bounty on the heads of the “cowards and thugs” responsible for each of these killings, which raises the reward money to over $100K:

“These losers can kill each other and it would be a public service, a thinning of the herd,” said hard-boiled businessman Joe Mammana, putting a $10,000 “bounty” on “the heads” of the “cowards and thugs” who killed Faheem Thomas-Childs, 10, in a crossfire outside T.M. Peirce Elementary School...

“Just bring these cowards in strapped to a horse, ankles to wrists,” Mammana said, urging people to anonymously call the Crime Commission tipline — 215-546-TIPS (546-8477).

“They want to shoot each other in the streets like they’re in the ‘Wild Wild West’ and they don’t care who gets in the way, even if it’s a 10-year-old child. OK, let’s bring them in and give them frontier justice. Swift. Eye for an eye. Boom! Boom! Boom!”...

What’s eating this obviously well-heeled suburban guy in the beautifully tailored jacket and slacks, the old-school fedora, the big-league jewelry and the imported Italian sports car that costs as much as a three-bedroom colonial on an acre of prime suburb? Why does he care so much about young, innocent inner-city murder victims?

Mammana, who attended La Salle High School and Temple University, is a self-made success whose widespread business interests range from suburban real estate to boxing promotion to an international egg-processing plant in North Philadelphia that employs 100 neighborhood people.

When he rages against gun-toting thugs who have no respect for human life, he talks from his head as well as his heart. He hears gunfire coming from streets near his factory almost every night. His employees tell him about their fear of walking down those streets to and from work.

He knows their fear is real. He respects it. He is outraged that his decent, hard-working people have to live with this fear...

“I’m Sicilian,” he said. “My children are half Spanish. I don’t see color. I don’t see race. We’re all human beings. And we’re all subject to the streets. These bums who shoot children — I want them off the streets forever.”

Posted by kswygert at February 24, 2004 11:59 AM