Three Months And Counting...
(Picture of the crime scene of John Gilbride)
It has been nearly three months since the Philadelphia Inquirer printed a story in which MOVE was not-so-indirectly implicated in the 2002 murder of John Gilbride.
Those of us who know MOVE and who monitor it’s activities can pretty much count on how the group will respond to a particular situation.
If it is something lightweight like Mumia, they will fall all over themselves to get in front a news camera to spew their well-rehearsed routine.
But when it comes to John Gilbride they are hardly so enthusiastic. In their plan he is supposed to be forgotten, a hazy memory stuck in a bloody past that people in and out of MOVE would rather forget. He is the picture that Winston Smith tosses down the memory hole in Orwell’s book 1984. Persona Non-Grata.
More than that, a person that never was.
There is also the often un-spoken animosity when it comes to John from people who ought to care but don’t. It is seldom spoken, but it is there.
"Lay with dogs get lice"
"It was just a case of filth getting rid of filth"
These are sentiments that caring and sensitive people would rather not think of either. But when it comes to John, there are people who think this way. He is just another MOVE person dead, never mind he had been out of the group for years. The taint of MOVE is one that does not go away quickly, if ever. If I know anything, it is that.
This is the ugly and false stereotype that follows former cultists throughout the world. The false notion that people join cults because they are deficient in either intelligence or in moral character is one that is far to pervasive and one that has been demonstrably proven to be a myth.
John was a smart and caring human being who wanted to spend time with his son and he is dead for it.
So here we are four years on after his death. His son, Zack is now 10 years old. I remember Zack fondly. That is one of the things about MOVE that people forget. The kids are not "MOVE" kids any more than there are "liberal" or "conservative" kids. There are just kids who want to do kid things. They are also kids who are deprived of much.
I always was glad to see him. He was a mischievous little thing as I remember him and very smart. When I first met him I got to wrestling with him and that little niche we had, stuck and as he grew, the more of a challenge he got to be in that department. A tough little guy he was.
His round little cherubic face, complexion, and light brown hair made him look much like my own child.
For those of you who are un-aware, Alberta wanted a little white baby so she got a little white baby through in vitro-fertilization.
One has to wonder if the notoriously anti-abortion John Africa was spinning in his grave at the thought of his widow using the best science available in order to produce a racially pure child, the unused embryos flushed down the toilet of some lab.
Which leads one to wonder, when does MOVE’s reverence for life begin?
But, I am getting off the subject.
So now it is four years plus two months since John has been killed and I think I can fairly say that there isn’t much truthful that has been said about the case and I don’t mean just from MOVE.
And for the record, it was somebody in MOVE who killed John.
Just as Mumia killed Daniel Faulkner and someone firing up from the basement in 1978 killed James Ramp. The distinction between the two latter killings are that people are in jail for those killings. Those who killed John walk the street.
And it isn’t MOVE who lies solely responsible for this ugly fact.
There is plenty of blame to go around.
I will start with me.
I was a part of MOVE when John was killed. I helped in the campaign to disparage him and I did so willingly. After his death I continued to tow the party line despite knowing and believing that MOVE had killed him.
There are reasons for this, but are they important right now? Do my rationalizations for poor actions bring anyone back to life or bring justice. The answer is no, so you can read my mea culpa some other time.
It took the Burlington County Cops weeks to get around interviewing principle MOVE figures involved with the fight against John. MOVE members who were on record as threatening John’s life.
Perhaps it is facts like this that make the BCP skittish about answering questions from the media about the investigation. Maybe they are unwilling to admit that their late start has not exactly helped to bring about swift justice for John Gilbride.
Than of course there is the Philly PD. Civil Affairs Officer Captain Fisher who had this offering of mind rotting ignorance made just after John’s death.
"The way he was killed, if it happened at 10th and Fitzwater, would have immediately been labeled a mob hit," says Fisher. "This was not a random or amateurish job -- they literally shot him to pieces. I understand that Mr. Gilbride was something of a gambler. I would take a long, hard look at whether he had any outstanding gambling debts if this was my investigation "
The problem I have with the above is that Fisher had and has nothing to do with the investigation. The murder happened in New Jersey and not in Philadelphia. Professionally and ethically his opinion, as stupid and ignorant as it was should have been channeled to the proper authorities and not the news media.
Perhaps his years of being in close contact with MOVE has left him a kind of "Manchurian Candidate", or maybe he just wanted to make his job easier by not placing himself in any more of adversarial position with MOVE than his job already called for. Either way I don’t care. He had no right to say what he did and he did a great disservice to the investigation by making his off the cuff remarks.
But like I said that was four years ago.
There are also things going on today that are being done without action or word one being said.
I have personally contacted the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office as has a contact of mine concerning the abuse of children in MOVE. The person I spoke with who is supposed to be the go to guy on such matters is Charles Gallagher (215)686-8718 mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
When I spoke with him he really wasn’t interested in what was happening to the children in MOVE though, he wanted to talk about Mumia. But he did tell me that he would send my information to the proper authorities who would be in contact with me. To my surprise, no phone call yet.
And this occurred months ago.
Now I am getting a feeling for what the residents of Osage Avenue had to deal with as they tried in vain to get someone in the city to listen to their pleas about MOVE’s violations of the law. The city let them down, the city is letting the children of MOVE down now, and the Burlington County Prosecutors Office has so far let John down.
If history has taught one terrible lesson it is that capitulation to, and acceptance of, bad behavior only serves to create a climate for more of the same. In the mind of MOVE members who enforce the practice of child-rape within the group and receive no rebuke or even investigation, there is, perhaps a sense of omnipotence. A sense that one can get away with any kind of crime, no matter how heinous.
I would argue that in the climate of the city of Philadelphia’s "hands of" policy" towards MOVE, one can only expect that the group would continue to perpetrate illegal activities up to, and including murder.
So we know full well and good what MOVE’s intentions are and we know full well about their blood soaked past. So the question that remains and the question that haunts us, is just what is going to be done about it?
I should note that MOVE has just published another self-pitying "newsletter" that focuses primarily upon the issue of MOVE members coming up for parole in 2008. MOVE’s little pity party fails to mention the issue of child abuse within the group, and again typically ignores the issue of John Gilbride all together.
No surprise there.