March 22, 2012
Town-watch volunteer George Zimmerman told Florida police he felt so threatened by a 17-year-old high schooler toting only a soft drink and a bag of Skittles that he had to gun him down. As preposterous as that sounds, the self-defense claim carried enough weight with police in the Seminole County town of Sanford that Zimmerman, 28, has yet to be charged in the death of Trayvon Martin, a well-liked Miami teen with no criminal record. That's because Florida - like Pennsylvania, among nearly two-dozen other states - in recent years enacted a reckless law that gives citizens the right to use lethal force if they feel threatened.
April 20, 2012
WHERE'S ALL our so-called minority leadership in the positions of authority in this city? I grew up in South Philly, my mother is black, and the one thing I'm proud to say is that we are represented in local and state government. That being said, where are the results? Why is this city no safer? Now, if we had a plethora of white faces in these same positions of authority, we'd be screaming that they "don't care" about the bad minority neighborhoods because they "can't relate. " Guess who else can't relate?
June 21, 2011
Summer meals starting With today being the last day of the year for public-school students, Mayor Nutter yesterday announced the start of the city's summer-meals program. Call 3-1-1 for the nearest summer-meals site. Children eat free at more than 1,000 sites, thanks to the USDA's Summer Food Service Program and Seamless Summer Option, administered by the state Department of Education. Last year, more than 91,000 children ate summer meals. But that was still 47,000 fewer than the number of students who received school meals during the school year.
April 13, 2012 |
The nationwide protests over the senseless shooting of high school student Trayvon Martin by a town-watch volunteer nearly seven weeks ago have been rewarded, finally, with decisive action by Florida authorities. In deciding Wednesday to file second-degree murder charges against George Zimmerman, 28, a special prosecutor all but assured that there will be a greater measure of justice for the family of the 17-year-old Martin, who was killed in a gated community north of Orlando.
July 16, 2013
It would be a shame if the unnecessary death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin produced more paydays for the man who fatally shot the unarmed black teenager in the heart during a scuffle. But George Zimmerman, the Sanford, Fla., neighborhood watch captain who has already received hundreds of thousands of dollars from gun-rights advocates and other supporters, is likely to be offered millions through lucrative book and movie deals. Zimmerman, 29, was acquitted of second-degree murder and manslaughter charges late Saturday night by a sequestered jury that had deliberated about 16 hours over two days.
March 28, 2012
NOT TO SHOCK anyone, but is Gov. Corbett, despite falling poll numbers, doing a balanced job of governing at a time of extreme divisiveness? I raise the question after a close look at a recent poll of Corbett's performance in office, and after noting complaints about him from both the left and the right. First, the complaints. The left, if you haven't noticed, rails about what it calls Corbett's draconian cuts in social services and education, especially higher education, and his support of legislation requiring women seeking abortions to undergo ultrasounds.
June 20, 2011 |
HARRISBURG - In Pennsylvania, as in most states, your home is your castle and you have a right to defend it. Soon, you will be able to add your car. Or the sidewalk. Or anywhere you "have the legal right to be. " The state Senate, in a 45-5 vote, gave final approval Monday to the so-called castle doctrine bill to expand the right of people to use deadly force against attackers in places outside their homes. A spokesman for Gov. Corbett said the governor would sign the bill but was not sure when.
June 1, 2012 |
A PHILADELPHIA JUDGE said Wednesday he was convinced that a disabled, retired Marine was being attacked in the moments before he fatally stabbed a man last October, but he concluded that the stabbing was still a criminal act rather than self-defense. Common Pleas Judge Benjamin Lerner then convicted Jonathan Lowe, 57, of voluntary manslaughter and possession of an instrument of crime. The judge found him not guilty of the more-serious charges of first- and third-degree murder.
March 27, 2012 |
HARRISBURG - Could a shooting like the controversial one that left a Florida teenager dead happen here and no one be prosecuted? Does Pennsylvania's recently expanded "castle doctrine" law, affording gun owners greater leeway to open fire if they feel threatened away from home, set the stage for a tragedy like the one that cost 17-year-old Trayvon Martin his life? Doubtful, says Ed Marsico, president of the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association. The group opposed the original bill on grounds it would lead to criminals getting away with murder.
September 8, 2011 |
When Gov. Corbett signed a law June 28 expanding the right to use deadly force outside the home, gun-control proponents predicted every thug would have a new defense to pulling the trigger. It didn't take long. Just eight days after the new "castle doctrine" law took effect, it has been raised in the defense of a North Philadelphia man charged with killing a neighbor over $100 owed in the purchase of a pit bull puppy. To be sure, there are questions about whether Lydell Johnson, 23, would qualify to use the defense in the shooting of Shane McCreery Jr., 32. First, there is the Aug. 3 date - after Corbett signed the law but before it took effect at the end of August.