For years Jamal supporters have profaned the streets of Philadelphia on Independence Day.
Every July 4th, an ever shrinking gaggle of mis-guided and or cynical activists scream unintelligible profanities into bullhorns, hold up signs, and otherwise attempt to persuade people that their hero, Mumia, is a victim of some terrible injustice.
And, as usual the Jamal supporters are claiming to "...believe in freedom for all life."
Perhaps, if Mumia had displayed some kind of a belief in the sanctity of life than I wouldn’t be writing these words, the Faulkner family would not be made to be perpetual victims, and a murderer wouldn’t be put upon a pedestal, and given the deference of a living deity.
But, he did not. Instead, Jamal brutally ended the life a young police officer and has been reveling in the blood he shed ever since.
In one sense, there isn’t much one can do about Jamal’s seemingly endless stream of appeals that deny anyone involved any semblance of closure. To be sure, at this point, I think even the idea of "closure" in this case is but a mirage in a sordid legal landscape.
So what can be done?
I would argue at this point that the Jamal supporters should have free reign to sit out in the sweltering heat, screaming to their hearts content, for their jailed hero.
Those of us who know the facts of the case should take that day to tell Officer Faulkner’s story and the story of others who have sacrificed their lives so that the un-washed rabble can travel to Philadelphia and call for freedom for the cop-killer.
While the Jamal crowd has done it’s best to try and de-humanize Officer Faulkner and reduce him to a moveable prop in their ever-changing conspiracy theories, people concerned with justice would be remiss to ignore the life of the man who really should be at the heart of this matter.
For it is a hideous act of arrogance to choose July 4th to celebrate Jamal as he has contributed nothing to this country, or advanced the cause of freedom or justice. On the other hand, Officer Faulkner was killed while serving the public and had previously been in the military. All while Mumia was shilling for the anti-everything cult, MOVE.
While we likely know way more than we would ever want to know about Jamal through his work as a self-pitying journalist and persistent supporters, but who was the man he murdered?
Danny was one of seven children, from a Catholic family that hailed from Philadelphia. His father, who was a railroad worker, died of a sudden heart attack when Danny was only five years old. Danny was raised by a working mother and his older siblings. After school, he would walk to the home of Tom and Trish Faulkner. Tom was Danny's big brother. There, Danny would play with neighborhood kids and do his homework. He loved to run around the corner to a neighborhood clothier and pretend he worked there. He would dress up in a tie, then pick up a broom and sweep their walks.
Danny left high school prior to graduation and joined the U.S. Army. It wasn't that he didn't like school, but this was a kid who had matured beyond many of his classmates. He just needed to get his life started. While serving in the armed forces, Danny continued his studies, earning his high school diploma as well as an Associates Degree in Criminal Justice.
Upon fulfilling his military service, Danny went home to Philadelphia to began his law enforcement career. His first position was that of a corrections officer. In 1975, he was able to make the career move he hoped and worked for and became an officer of the Philadelphia Police Department.
Being the organized and focused young man he was, it wasn't long before he had purchased a home of his own in his old neighborhood in southwest Philly. Not long after, he began dating the young woman that would become his wife. Danny and Maureen dated about a year, were engaged for another six months and were married in the fall of 1979.
Maureen remembers Danny as easy going, while she was the one who always worried. He was the extrovert. Once a month, the couple would host a get-together of all their friends and the group would play cards in the Faulkner home until the wee hours of the morning. Danny was the neighborhood leader for the Muscular Dystrophy Association and the organizer of the Annual Softball Marathon to benefit that charity. One of his childhood friends had suffered from the disease and Danny felt strongly about helping in the fight against it.
Danny loved the outdoors and when deer season opened in Pennsylvania, you would find him stalking the forests of the Pocono Mountains. Maureen, too, loved beauty and the freshness of the Poconos. The couple were saving their money with dreams of purchasing a vacation home there.
Danny loved being a police officer and planned to spend the rest of his working life advancing his career in law enforcement. He had enrolled in community college and was working toward his Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice Administration. He also had plans to go on to law school, hoping to ultimately become a prosecutor in the District Attorney's Office.
Danny Faulkner was a young man with clear goals and dreams. He truly represents an American Story and the best traditions of our nation. He was raised in a loving family and was building his own family with the same love and determination with which he had grown up. He took time to serve his country. He was bright and energetic -- caring and giving to his neighborhood, to his friends and to his profession. Mumia Abu-Jamal did not just kill a cop. He murdered a loving husband, a caring son, a brother to all around him and a friend to those he served. Mumia shot and killed a piece of America, a piece of America we would all like to see more of today.