Friday, May 13, 2005

Twenty Years Ago Today

On May 13, 1985, the Philadelphia Police Department dropped a bomb out of a helicopter onto a bunker built by members of MOVE in a house on Osage Avenue in Philly. Several members of MOVE were killed by the blast and the ensuing fire that was allowed to spread until 61 homes were destroyed.

No members of the police department, fire department, or Mayor Goode's administration were ever prosecuted. Wilson Goode went on to win reelection two years later.

Remember, only the government can be trusted with weapons.


Edit: Welcome InstaPundit readers!

38 comments:

pduggie said...

Well, yeah, because if MOVE hadn't had any weapons, they wouldn't havce had to drop a bomb on them in the first place.

But I take your point.

Anonymous said...

Therefore, MOVE's resistance justifies the police bombing them from a helicopter, burning them out, and burnig out several city blocks besides?

pduggie, here's hoping you AND YOUR FAMILY have the same law enforcement definition of restraint and professionalism applied to you one day.

Pete said...

At the time, it was known as MOVE II. The first confrontation between MOVE and the city was Aug 8, 1999. Several police & fire fighters (used to flood the compound) were shot. Officer James Ramp was killed. The MOVE people were a menace, with weapons, constantly blasting obscenities on bull horns, dozens of people living in squalor, running on the rooftops of the row homes. It's a shame for the kids that died because of their parents actions, and it's really a shame that 61 homes burned because the city is run by incompetents, but the MOVE people practically begged for war with the city.

pst314 said...

"the MOVE people practically begged for war"

MOVE's neighbors begged the city to do something about MOVE. A loonier bunch of violent punks you'd be hard-pressed to find, and the world is better off without them.

Dave Markowitz said...

I'm sure no fan of MOVE (they were a bunch of nuts, IMHO), but nothing justifies the actions of the Philadelphia authorities that day.

Anonymous said...

Good riddance to bad rubbish.

Steve said...

MOVE's neighbors begged the city to do something about MOVE. A loonier bunch of violent punks you'd be hard-pressed to find, and the world is better off without them.

Yea, the joke at the time was that they were called MOVE because their neighbors wanted them to "MOVE" away.

Pete said...

Dave,
I agree with you. The city was totally incompetent. I wanted to make 2 points:
1. Don't feel sorry for MOVE. They wanted to be martyrs.
2. Police & firefighter remembered getting shot at last time, and were reluctant to do a conventional raid. When idiots (city leaders) start improvising, watch out.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't it make you wonder when you're on the same side as the straight-up Stalinists?

http://www.workers.org/ww/2000/may13ph0525.php

Not that I think Philly cops should be trusted with anything bigger than a 9mm...

Anonymous said...

Its also instructive to remember that 5 of those MOVE "members" were children.

Scott said...

Well, the other thing about MOVE I is that it was well known in the city afterwards (I don't know if it's true or not, just that it was conventional wisdom) was the the cop that got killed was shot by another cop by accident, but the Philly police dept covered it up.

Anonymous said...

FYI, the first Move incident was 1979, not 99.

Anonymous said...

It was documented that the first move incident resulted in a policeman being killed through "friendly fire" by another cop mistake. Also, don't forget that 0, zero, nada, absolutely no loaded weapons were found in the rubble of the building. The "menace" was TOTALLy blown out of proportion by the gestapo, racist police.

Anonymous said...

Before you call them gestapo RACIST police, remember, our government has been enthusiastically murdering WHITE people who do not submit to their will too. (Have you forgotten Ruby Ridge & Waco?)

Anonymous said...

At least we got that great song out of it:

"The roof, the roof, the roof is on fire. We don't need no water, let the motherf*#@er burn."

Anonymous said...

Correct. But these were trigger-happy, stupid AND racist. The multi-term administrations of Police Chief Rizzo and Fire Chief Rizzo (mafia brothers) were nationally notorious for racist tactics at the time.

Anonymous said...

just so I understand, the African-American mayor (read administration) was a racist? O.K., I'll buy that

Al Maviva said...

There were several hundred pounds of high explosive along with fully automatic weapons found in the buildings adjacent to the one that was hit with the tear gas grenade that triggered the fire. The adjacent buildings were linked to the building initially hit, and the buildings were fortified to withstand a siege, and booby trapped.

Anonymous said...

There should be a law against misinformation which is what this is all about. First, the newly elected mayor was pressured into holding a press conference and stating that he was "fully responsible" even though he was NOT apprised of the action prior to it being carried out. Secondly, it was a concussion bomb and NOT a tear gas grenade, that was dropped on the roof with full knowledge that MOVE had stored explosives on the roof in plain view. Thirdly, policemen as well as government officials at the time admitted publically that NO loaded weapons were found at the scene. The bodies of about 13 children, 5 women and 3 men were found, give or take. The cover up afterward was immense.

ricky said...

BURN motherf*#@er BURN!

Dang, someone beat me to it!

Anonymous said...

You forgot to mention all the money the City of Philadelphia spent to rebuilt the houses, only to find out it was a huge give-away to contractor & the like. Money flowing like water. And that's why we should let gov't run welfare & other big money programs.
G. Sabatino

Anonymous said...

"Racist, gestapo police."

Welcome to the land of the communists. By jumping to the defense of those MOVE lunatics, you've joined a wonderful cause, hope it treats you well...

Anonymous said...

I love the smell of burning commies in the morning...

Smells like victory...

Anonymous said...

I love the smell of burning commies in the morning...

Smells like victory...

M. Simon said...

Interesting that some of those who complained about move had their homes and personal property destroyed.

No good deed ever goes completely unpunished.

shaun said...

A footnote: Not only did Wilson Goode win re-election, he was re-elected handily in the West Philadelphia neighborhood he bombed.

Weeva said...

Although it's not much:
http://www.cnn.com/US/9606/24/move.vertict/

Anonymous said...

Did anyone hear National Proletariat Radio this morning? Move was described as a "back-to-nature" group. Go figure.

jj mollo said...

Wilson Goode's so-called victory was a close call. Democrats do not lose in Philadelphia. He almost did. He had to tour all the neighborhoods afterward and apologize for whatever he had done wrong in their eyes. Every neighborhood was outraged over a different problem.

I was impressed with him at the time. I thought he was pretty brave to face the music, but he was an inept mayor, honest, decent but inept. Sort of a Jimmy Carter type.

jj mollo said...

MOVE was a back-to-nature group in some ways. They used to send the kids out to the city parks to pick berries and roots and edible plants. I had a co-worker from Philadelphia who used to meet these kids in the park a lot and talk with them. They weren't going to school, so he used to teach them odds and ends. They couldn't hang around too long because the parents would come looking, and that was big trouble.

My co-worker was very upset about the kids getting killed. I don't think he ever got to see any of them again after that.

Brad said...

MOVE created the elements that led to the destruction of those buildings. MOVE fortified, and boobytrapped the buildings to the point where it would have been suicide for officers to have entered by conventional means. Police officers don't sign a suicide pact when they are sworn in folks. Unfortunately, some innocents lost their lives. It's very easy for us to sit back and denigrate the police for what happened, but the fact remains that MOVE created the situation, that led to the massive loss of life. Mass labeling the police as "gestapo", and "racist", is both ignorant, and inaccurate. I'm not defending the police's actions that day, nor am I criticizing them. I was not there. I was not in their shoes, and I don't have the right to second guess them. I very seriously doubt that anyone in the Phillie Police Dept expected things to turn out the way they did. From what I understand, when the fire started they expected massive explosions from the stored explosives, and no one knew where it would be safe to fight the fires from. As a Police officer, and bomb technician, I know that standing policy everywhere, is that when you have a fire, and explosives, you stand back and let them explode if you have no other alternatives. One last thing. Whether it was a concussion device, or a gas device is irrelevant. No one could have predicted the massive fire that ensued after using it. I do find it curious as always, we find the socialists/Marxists among us screaming bloody murder about situations like this, yet you'll rarely hear a peep from them when one of those wonderful leftist governments out there does something much worse.

Brad said...

I'd almost forgotten this bit. if memory serves, there was testimony from 17 officers, as well as civilians, that the MOVE members on the roof set the fires after the concussion device was used in an attempt to detonate the boobytraps on the roof entrances. The only people that really know, where the ones there that day. I do think that assuming that the police were responsible for every tragedy that occured that day, and MOVE had nothing to do with it, lends way too much credibility to MOVE, and does a disservice to those members of law enforcement who risk their butts on a daily basis for all of us.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to try to choose my words very carefully here.

MOVE was a bunch of violent nuts, yes--including some cop-killers. A Philadelphia police officer was murdered by MOVE in 1978.

As tempting as it is, though, to say "they got what they had coming," there were children killed too, and I can't justify that. As we saw just a few short years later, when the government can get away with using these tactics on groups like MOVE, and there's no outcry, then people like Randy Weaver get visits from the Gestapo too. And when there's no outcry, we have a Waco Massacre.

In the final analysis, the blame has to be laid at the feet of Wilson Goode. All my relatives across the river in South Jersey still say, "This never would have happened when Mayor Rizzo was running things. Rizzo was a crook but he didn't have the police drop bombs on people. He'd have found a better way, and he'd have dealt with MOVE long before the situation got so out of control that the cops had to storm the place and drop bombs on it."

Brad said...

Maybe if we repeat this more often, it will dispell a myth. When you say "bomb", people immediately think of something that is dropped from an airplane, and weighs anywhere from 500 to 1000 pounds. What they dropped that day was a very large concussion grenade. There is a world of difference between that, and a bomb. They have different purposes, as well as different ingredients. It's the same difference, (on a larger scale), as the difference between a concussion grenade, (flash bang), and a fragmentation grenade. Read up on the incident, (from more than one source), and do a FOIA request for the police report, before you go making any assumptions, if you can.

Anonymous said...

"I'm sure no fan of MOVE (they were a bunch of nuts, IMHO), but nothing justifies the actions of the Philadelphia authorities that day."

Okay, I'm trying to follow your logic here, David.

The MOVE people were heavily armed, had holed themselves up in their compound with children. They'd had armed confrontations with the police before, during with law enforcement personnel were shot. During their final standoff with police, a concussion grenade set fire to their building, starting a conflagration which eventually destroyed 60 homes and killed eleven people, five of them children. And the conclusion you draw from this is that MOVE should have had... what, more guns?

If anything, what they needed were fire extinguishers.

Dave Markowitz said...

No.

What I'm saying is that despite what MOVE did, there was no excuse for the Phila. PD to drop a bomb on the house, then let the entire freaking neighborhood burn down.

Brad said...

Ahh Christ on a crutch Dave! Are you that dense? Read what I posted above. Do a serious search for all the info on the incident, and then do a FOIA request for the police reports on that incident. They are available you know. Saying the police dropped a bomb on MOVE, then let them burn to death, is at the very least disingenous. Were you even alive when it happened? I remember it well, since I was a freshman in college that year. Try learning about the incident, before you go off on a rant with an 1/8th of the information.

Anonymous said...

Your right Brad, I would much rather be standing next to an enormous fragment grenade than a "real" bomb.