Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Nutter's 'returning citizens' message disrespects veterans

“Every day in America, African American males die on our streets in outrageously alarming numbers.”

Nutter's 'returning citizens' message disrespects veterans

Mayor Michael Nutter speaks at the National Press Club in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Mayor Michael Nutter speaks at the National Press Club in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) AP

“Every day in America, African American males die on our streets in outrageously alarming numbers.”

Those are the words of Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter.

Unfortunately, many of the killers of our young black men won’t die in prison, but they will serve their time and walk our streets again.

All with the blessings of Nutter.

Some will get out within months. Others may take decades.

But most will return. And despite what you are told, most will not have been rehabilitated. We simply won’t be legally able to incarcerate them anymore. And we will have subhuman, maggot recidivists on our street corners.

Sorry. I got that wrong.

Make that “returning citizens,” says our politically correct mayor.

Sorry, but that’s gross.

Caring more about a stigmatic label that may hurt the feelings of some rapists, murderers and child molesters, our lame duck ineffective mayor should think about the message he is sending to the families of these murdered black men.

He’s sending a message of extreme disrespect.

He’s also sending a message that he doesn’t understand who the real victims are.

Who are the victims?

Well, a clip in one of my favorite movies has the answer. In the Princess Bride, swashbuckling Spanish masterfencer named Inigo Montoya seeks revenge against Count Tyrone Rugen for killing his father.

Montoya corners Rugen and tells him, “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”

Once Montoya has Rugen within death’s grip, Rugen offers Montoya anything he wants if he spares his life.

“I want my father back, you son of a bitch,” Montoya passionately says before fatally thrusting the sword into Rugen’s body.

Well, there are thousands of children in Philadelphia alone that want their murdered fathers back. And it is a spit in their face when their mayor elevates their fathers’ killers to the same status afforded to real “returning citizens” -- aka veterans who came back home after bravely fighting a war abroad. We have plenty of them in the Delaware Valley. How about celebrating and extolling their achievements rather than bastardizing that term and affording sexual predators and murderers the same degree of respect?

In Philadelphia, it’s vogue and hip to be a criminal.

Others, like me, have criticized Nutter for caring more about outsiders like Trayvon Martin than caring about our own brothers and sisters in Philadelphia.

So let’s talk about Trayvon Martin. Nutter called George Zimmerman’s killing of Martin “an assassination.” Well, if that’s true, then how does Nutter feel about Zimmerman now that he’s a free man? Does Nutter consider him a “returning citizen,” too?

Don’t think so.

Perhaps Nutter should consider using that term more selectively.

It’s one thing if someone was incarcerated due to the failed war on drugs – a losing war that has disproportionately hurt the young black males Nutter claims he cares about. But to glorify murderers, sexual predators and crooks is just so wrong.

The Bible may say that all men are created equal, but it certainly doesn’t say they all end up that way.

Some sin, and some sins are so unforgivable they put you at the point of no return.

But Nutter doesn’t get it. He never has. His support of “Ban the Box” now makes it illegal for employers to ask on an application if a job seeker has ever been convicted of a crime.

“This bill makes it a little easier to be considered for a job without harmful preconceptions by an employer before the first interview,” Nutter said in his press release.

What’s harmful, Mayor Nutter, about asking whether a janitor was convicted of theft or rape? It seems pretty relevant to me. Oh wait, I forgot. These days, released convicted felons are able to vote. Okay, I get it. Sorry.

Wait! I may be okay, after all. Is it all right if we refer to the crooks politicians working in City Hall as “returning citizens?”

John Featherman
About this blog
John Featherman is a contributor at Philly.com and writes about politics and consumer-related issues. Reach John at john@featherman.com.

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