James Ramp, The MOVE 9, And Justice
There are some things that people should know about the events of August 8, 1978, and of equal importance, about the "MOVE 9." It is also important to examine what MOVE really thinks about their "brothers and sisters" who have been in jail for over 25 years.
First of all, it is important to explore the possibility that James Ramp was killed by one of his fellow officers. A good place to begin is by looking at the list of wounded from the gunfire on August 8, 1978, for it speaks volumes as to the believability of MOVE's theories.
Officer James Ramp (killed by a bullet fired from .223 caliber rifle linked conclusively to a weapon taken from MOVE HQ. This weapon was purchased by MOVE member Phil Africa.)
Lieutenant William H. Krause (gunshot wounds to the abdomen and right arm)
Officer Thomas Hesson (gunshot wounds to the chest)
Officer Charles Stewart (gunshot wounds to the right shoulder, leg, and head
Officer Harry Mackel (bullet shots to the buttocks)
Officers Giest and Hurst (smoke inhalation)
John Walsh (bullet wounds to neck and head)
Robert Snead (shotgun pellet wounds to the face)
Dennis O'Neil (shotgun pellet wounds to the left arm)
Robert Lentine (shotgun pellet wounds to the face)
Two other firefighters sustained minor injuries
This list of bullet wounds is relevent for, if one is to believe MOVE's theory of events, all of these men would have had to have been shot by their own comrades. They would also have had to have been shot by at least two different types of weapons, both shotgun and rifle.
Let’s assume for a moment that MOVE’s theory is correct, that the police shot one of their own officers in order to railroad and convict MOVE members.
If this were true, it would be a conspiracy that would literally involve hundreds of people. It would have to include the police themselves, officers who would literally turn their guns on their own friends and co-workers. Remember, it was not just Ramp who was shot, other officers were gravely wounded and could have lost their lives in the incident.
Firefighters would also have had to be in on the plan, as well. A number of them testified in court that they saw MOVE members with guns, as well as being fired upon by MOVE members through the floor of MOVE headquarters. Other firefighters were on the deluge hoses directing water into the MOVE basement when they were struck by the MOVE gunfire, gunfire that could only have come from the basement.
The media and other observers would also have to be involved in the conspiracy to frame MOVE. With only a couple of exceptions, the reporters on the scene clearly indicated that the gun fire came from MOVE’s basement and came first.
Facts About the Case of the “MOVE 9"
-More than 2,000 rounds of ammunition was removed from the MOVE Basement, as were eleven “operable” weapons.
-When Police and negotiators, Walter Palmer and a Catholic Priest, implored MOVE members to at least let the children go, the response was “Why don’t you take gasoline and set fire to us?”
-MOVE’s own children would tell investigators that “all” of the MOVE adults had weapons and that MOVE members opened fire “cause cops ain’t wanna shoot.”
-Multiple police officers and firefighters reported seeing MOVE members holding weapons. Chuck Africa was observed with the type of rifle that was linked to the death of James Ramp.
-The soonest that MOVE members may be elligbible for release would be 2008. The fact that they have yet to admit their obvious guilt, as well as the issue that they have instigated numerous violent episodes while incarcerated, makes it unlikely that they would be paroled at that time. Delbert Africa often boasts to visitors how he put a guard in a head lock through the feeding hole of the door and encouraged other inmates to escape.
Do MOVE’s Leaders Really Want to “Free the MOVE 9"
Despite all of MOVE’s rhetoric to the contrary, I would have to say the answer to that would be a big fat NO.
As it stands right now, Alberta Africa is in complete control of MOVE. Since her release from prison, though, she has defiled nearly every principle that John Africa allegedly stood for.
The reigning heir of MOVE and widow of John Africa lives in a big house in a white neighborhood, with her second white husband, and her white son that she gave birth to through in vitro-fertilization. Alberta has put her son in modeling and ballet classes, while other MOVE children are barely afforded the abilities to spell their own names.
She is known to hit the booze every now and then. Plus, unlike every other person in the cult, she doesn’t contribute a dime to support her extravagant lifestyle. She lives off of a trust fund, while other MOVE members and supporters live in near squalid conditions working sometimes multiple jobs.
The last thing this woman wants is MOVE members who actually may believe in “MOVE law” to come out of prison and see how this woman has made a mockery out of their precious “religion.” I would think with the MOVE 9 out of prison, her days in power would be numbered.
Another issue worth mentioning is the MOVE cult’s obsession with Mumia to the detriment of their own imprisoned members. Mumia gets a team of attorneys, private investigators, fully paid tuition to colleges etc...What do the MOVE 9 get? One underpaid out classed and inexperienced attorney who won’t return their calls or letters. Nearly every time I visited MOVE members in jail, the conversation would lead inevitably to their awful legal situation and how they felt their attorney was inept. Although they never dared to say it out loud, I always sensed an undercurrent of resentment and jealousy towards the attention and resources afforded to Mumia and not them.
But why would MOVE’s leaders in essence abandon the “fight to free the MOVE 9?" After all, isn’t their freedom what the martyrs of May 13th died for? Maybe, but today’s MOVE only cares about yesterday’s martyrs and only if there is some kind of profit involved in either monetary means or in supporter membership increases.
The reality is, there is no fortune to be made in fighting for the MOVE 9. Their aren’t fund-raising trips to California and France. There are no celebrities waiting in line to get on visiting lists to go see MOVE members in jail. It is a cause that never really took hold and only exists on the peripheral of Mumia’s case.
Maybe the MOVE 9 should take to writing bad poetry and start quoting Howard Zinn. Maybe they should attach themselves to any and every lefty political cause that comes their way. Maybe than MOVE’s leaders will start to pay attention to their abandoned comrades. It could happen, but, I doubt it.
Then again, maybe they will wake up and realize that in surrendering their lives to the irrational dictates of a megalomaniac, they squandered their futures on an unrealizable dream that undeniably became a living nightmare of death..
Maybe they will lament sacrificing their children to John Africa. Maybe they'll see that the self proclaimed protector of life actually was a bringer of death and suffering.
Maybe they have started to realize that it is more than likely that they will die in prison, alone and forgotten. The tiny bit of support they garnered through the Mumia movement is all, but gone. They are victims of diminishing returns mixed with people's apprehension about getting involved with a cult that preaches life, but is awash in blood, pain, fear (and most recently for John Gilbride) death.
As for me, I will see the “MOVE 9” again. I will be at their parole hearings with the letters they sent me celebrating the death of John Gilbride. I will be there to tell people that until they end their cynical peddling of lies that they deserve to live in the hell that they have made for themselves.
When all is said and done, they have no one to blame for their predicament, but themeslves. They may have been nieve in believing that John Africa was the answer to all the world's problems, however, they made the decision to brandish weapons, threaten the lives of police and firemen, and then deliver their promise to kill anyone who came to their headquarters in Powelton Village. They squeezed the trigger and now they must accept culpability for their actions.