Thursday, May 11, 2006

Philly.com On The "Mumia Cult"


Song sung blue: Cops & Mumia cult
By PATTY-PAT KOZLOWSKI

THE BEST SONG to make love to is "I Only Have Eyes For You" by the Flamingos. Add some good red wine, candles not from the Dollar Store and those lyrics: "Are the stars out tonight? I don't know if it's cloudy or bright. I only have eyes for you."

The best song for a passion-lacking sweat-fest is a tie: "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" by Meatloaf and "Shook Me All Night Long" by AC/DC. This makeout session usually occurs on a couch or in the back seat of a car, where the question, "Is that the seat belt or you?" can ruin the mood.

Both making love and making out are literally the same thing, in the end you get what you want - you just do it differently.

Same with protesting. The First Amendment guarantees the freedom of worship, of speech, of the press, of assembly and of petitioning the government for redress of grievances. So those protesting are just exercising their First Amendment right to free speech.

Protesting and intercourse: It's all the way you go about it.

The First Amendment protects all kinds of protests. There is no law against bad judgment, or lack of common sense. When the Nazis marched in Skokie, Ill., that was the equivalent of a bad cheap date in the back seat. The 1963 March on Washington for civil rights? One big love fest.

But take a recent protest at City Hall to free cop-killer Mumia Abu Jamal. There were about 30 protesters on the northeast apron asking rush-hour drivers to honk in support of freeing their poster boy. No problem there, it's their First Amendment right.

They had every right to be there, just like I would have every right to be there and hold a sign asking motorists to honk if they wanted protesters to walk in front of a bus, use deodorant or stick their signs where the seat belt digs into when you're making out in the back seat.

I understand the freedoms we have to protest things we don't like or don't agree with or think are unjust. What I don't understand is that three police officers had to stand there and protect the Mumia posse as they chanted for the freedom of a man who was tried and convicted of killing police officer Daniel Faulkner.

Talk about slap-in-the-face kind of work.

At first I watched the protest from a fifth-floor window of City Hall. As I left the building, I saw that they weren't getting many honks, and the ones who did honk also gave them a hand gesture, which I don't think meant "You're No. 1!"

There were three officers assigned to this protest, two black, one white, but it didn't matter because all three were blue.

There they were, standing and protecting a crowd of protesters who were screaming and calling for the release of a guy who killed one of their own. That's like asking Holocaust survivors to protect a group of Nazi war criminals, or asking the board of the NAACP to work a KKK rally to make sure nobody hurts them.

As I watched the Criminal Justice Center empty out across the street at the end of the day, I imagined that those charged with heinous crimes would see a cheering section for their actions.

HEY, YOU TOO CAN get a traveling sideshow dedicated to canonizing you - just kill a cop and deny it for two decades. Get some Hollywood big shots to jump on your bandwagon and you'll be a jailhouse superstar.

But back to the officers on duty that day. I'm sure that as they stood there protecting the Mumia supporters, the thought "Is this why I joined the force?" cascaded through their heads.

Because, God forbid, maybe another Mumia will some day empty their 9 mm into their face and chest. Maybe, some day, their spouse will get a call just after 4 a.m. saying they've been killed in the line of duty, and, maybe someday, their murderer will have a cult calling for the freedom and release of a cop-killer.

Maybe their families will turn on the TV and see Hollywood celebrities taking the side of the killer, urging the public to put pressure on the powers that be and give him a get-out-of-jail card.

But the oath of the Philadelphia Police Department is to protect and serve - and that means everybody - even the people who idolize someone who killed one of their own. So you stand there and protect and serve the protesters and hope that spontaneous combustion exists.

Sounds to me like the cops protecting the Mumia rally got a royal shafting - and the only song for that is "Ain't That a Shame."

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