The 4th of July is a celebration of our country’s founding, a joyous summer holiday. Yet in Philadelphia, it was marred by a gunman who killed five people and wounded others– including two children– the evening before the holiday.
Days later, DelVal residents are still reeling from the senseless act of violence, although there is some comfort that a suspect, Kimbrady Carriker, 40, was arrested and is being held without bail.
At a press conference Wednesday, progressive Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner blamed the state’s gun laws for the carnage.
“Finally, I just want to say this: it is disgusting, the lack of proper gun legislation that we have in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,” Krasner said. “It is disgusting that you can go to New Jersey and find a whole list of reasonable gun regulation that we don’t have, that you can go to Delaware, and there’s almost as long a list of reasonable gun legislation that we don’t have,”
The DVJournal asked some former prosecutors for their thoughts.
Former U.S. Attorney William McSwain said, “The appalling violence that we’ve seen in Philadelphia – including the mass shooting this past Monday – will stop only once our city leaders, especially the DA and the mayor, stop pretending that anybody other than the criminal is responsible for a heinous criminal act. It is not the fault of the state legislature for not enacting the DA’s and the Mayor’s preferred progressive policies.
“It is not the fault of society. There is never, ever any justification for walking up to somebody and shooting them in the head. What we need in Philadelphia is deterrence and serious punishment for crime. Crime will be deterred only when there are serious consequences for it. By consistently making excuses for criminals, our city leaders have led us down a destructive path. This is rooted in fantasy. Our city deserves better,” McSwain said.
Bruce L. Castor Jr., former Montgomery County DA, now a plaintiff’s attorney, said, “I represent the 13-year-old boy shot in the lower legs (allegedly by Carriker). From a civil perspective, we are evaluating the conflicting statements concerning whether the killer was a transsexual. I am interested to know if this is a person transitioning, whether he was properly evaluated for mental health side-effects to the procedure, and correctly counseled concerning the effects transition therapy might affect him and his thinking.”
“From a criminal perspective, it appears the police and DA have charged him such that the death penalty ought to apply–though I am aware that is no longer in vogue since the days when I did those cases,” Castor added.
Gov. Josh Shapiro, a Democrat, has stated that he will not sign warrants to enforce the death penalty.
Rep. Craig Williams (R-Chadds Ford) called the shooting “an absolute tragedy.”
“The answer of the district attorney, along with the mayor, was to go to the camera and blame Harrisburg for not having passed enough gun reforms. In answer to that the Democrats this week ran a bill that would have taxed every single purchase of a firearm and taxed every single application for a concealed carry permit to pay for street lighting in Philadelphia…Their answer to people being murdered in Philadelphia with firearms is to tax law abiding citizens who are doing nothing wrong, not even living in Philadelphia, to pay for more street lights in Philadelphia.”
Williams offered and amendment to that bill to fund a gun violence tax force with the Attorney General’s Office to prosecute gun crimes and the U.S. Attorney’s office to the DA’s office “and actually go after criminals.”
“If you want to fight back you’re going to have to carry the fight to the streets by way of prosecution,” said Williams. Williams served as chief prosecutor for the largest base in the Marine Corps. He also served as deputy legal counsel to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He later served as a federal prosecutor with the Department of Justice and was also a prosecutor for the Joint Terrorism Task Force.
Joe McGettigan, who has served as first assistant DA for Delaware County and Philadelphia, as well as chief deputy in the Attorney General’s Office, also pointed to a too-liberal justice system.
“Of course, this tragic event, committed by an obvious lunatic, will bring a hue and cry from the usual political actors. They will denounce ‘mass shootings’ and ‘gun violence’ and call for more ‘common sense’ gun laws, etc., apparently blithely unaware that most laws, common sense or otherwise, are not a great impediment to the lunatic fringe or those who profit from commerce with them,” said McGettigan.
He added, “And mass shootings make up a fraction of deaths by shooting. Now some serious incarceration for those who illegally traffic in guns or who use them, even juveniles, well, that might help. But fear of being accused of calling for mass incarceration, or worse, prevents those sorts of commonsense measures from being implemented.
“Perhaps the lengthy separation of the criminally violent from their innocent prey might help the situation, but I’m not holding my breath waiting for the enlightenment of the progressives. Until that unlikely awakening, prepare for more violence, followed by more rhetoric,” he said.
“Good luck, and protect yourself at all times,” McGettigan warned.