Search for answers in Philly shootings leads to a need for searches

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In 1978, I took the first of four driving exams. I failed them all.

I’ll spare you the details, but suffice it to say that you cannot convince a Pa. State Police trooper that a three point turn involves eight backups.

Eventually, 30 years later, I took the test once more and passed.

Then, I put my license in my wallet and never drove again. It was basically a matter of pride. I had no intention of ever actually getting out on the road.

Which is why I ride SEPTA, Philadelphia’s public transit system. There are few people in the city who know the routes as well as I do: the Market Frankford El, the Broad Street Subway, bus lines from 2 through the 123 and every single regional rail schedule.

I have given so much money to public transit in Southeastern Pennsylvania that I am fully expecting a station to be named after me when I die.

And speaking of death, I’m hoping it doesn’t come while riding public transit. Over the past week, three people died and many more were injured in shooting incidents on
SEPTA.

People are killed every day in Philadelphia. Guns, some illegally acquired and some that are perfectly legitimate, are usually in the mix. You do have the random stabbing and even on public transit there is that crazy person pushing innocent commuters into the paths of trains, but the vast majority of the casualties can be connected to guns.

After the last shooting death, I posted this while sitting on a bus:

“Going home on Septa. No other option. 4 shootings, 3 deaths, many injured in the first 4 days of this week. We are under assault. Philly Mayor, this is not Fallujah. DA. Larry Krasner, shove your pathetic social justice concerns. Gun enthusiasts, effing compromise. We’re dying.”

Then, to up the ante, I thanked New York Gov. Kathy Hochul for instituting a bag search on public transit, to be conducted by National Guard.

I anticipated people who love Philadelphia’s progressive district attorney, who has a pattern and practice of not charging serious gun offenses, would respond with attacks on my looks and my age, which is how they usually roll on social media.

I anticipated that people who want to downplay the incidence of violence in the city would say that I’m misrepresenting the facts and that homicides are actually down by 20% since the previous year, which won’t impress the families of the 410 people murdered in 2023.

What I did not anticipate, but should have, were the number of people telling me to get a gun.

What I did not anticipate, but should have, were the number of people telling me that they were unwilling to have their “rights” violated because of criminals.

While there is indeed a right to own and use a gun, particularly to defend yourself, that right is not absolute. Don’t take it from me, take it from that noted Antifa activist, Antonin Scalia.

In the Heller decision, which found that the Second Amendment conferred an individual right to bear arms, Scalia also wrote this: “Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited. [It is] not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.”

And as far as those bag searches are concerned, I have long believed that the Fourth Amendment has been bastardized and manipulated by people who don’t want us to know that they are committing crimes.

It has also been extended to allow women to kill their unborn children under a so-called “right to privacy,” which thankfully was dispensed with in 2022 by the overturning of Roe.

If we have no problem getting our bags searched by the TSA or at sporting events, we shouldn’t have a problem getting searched while boarding a bus where someone might shoot us dead.

Like so many people who either will not or cannot drive, I am forced to use public transportation. I should not be told that the only way to guarantee my safety is to pack a Smith and Wesson. And your right to privacy ends where my right to make it out of the subway alive begins.

These tools, as well as electing a district attorney who actually understands the law and prefers law-abiding citizens to criminals, will go a long way to protecting those of us who failed our driver’s tests three times in a row.

Copyright 2024 Christine Flowers, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Christine Flowers is an attorney and a columnist for the Delaware County Daily Times, and can be reached at [email protected].

Christine Flowers is a Philadelphian who loves the Eagles but can leave the cheesesteaks. She writes about anything that will likely annoy the majority of people, and in her spare time practices immigration law (which is bound to annoy at least some people.)