PHILLY NEEDS a lot fewer "boys" and a lot more men.
Meaning, some people in Philly need to learn to mourn appropriately.
Last week, hundreds packed the funeral of 15-year-old Aisha Abdur Rahman, who was killed by a stray bullet near her school. The show of mourning was understandable. This was a promising young woman whose life was cut short by teenagers who decided to settle a schoolyard fight with a gun.
Less understandable - sickening, really - is the support for the pair of suspects who surrendered to police: Darian Person, 19, a high-school dropout who police say fired the gun, and his buddy Quadir Gibson, 15, a football standout who police say egged him on.
Police told the Daily News that about five shots were fired. Three struck a 19-year-old man who remains in critical condition. A fourth traveled half a block away and hit Abdur Rahman in the back as she walked from Delaware Valley Charter High School.
She collapsed nearby on the front lawn of Einstein Medical Center and died inside the emergency room.
Following her death, there were the "RIP Aisha" tweets, and other modern signs of mourning.
But then came the support for the two men, some from the very people who'd previously expressed sympathy for her.
#FreeDD and #FreeQuadir hashtags were used, as if either would or should ever taste freedom if found guilty.
It got more ridiculous: " . . . he ain't mean to shoot her yo!" @Coookie_SAVAG tweeted.
"Free my f---ing boy," tweeted several others.
An innocent young girl is murdered and within hours, the response is to support the alleged killer because they're your boys?
First, if Person or Gibson were really your boys, someone should have stepped in before they threw their lives away over some boyfriend-girlfriend spat. By all accounts, Gibson, who will be tried as an adult, had a future in football. Now his only future may be inside some cell somewhere. What a waste.
If Person or Gibson were really your boys, someone should have called them on their BS before they stepped neck deep in it. That's what real men and women are supposed to do.
It'd be tempting to dismiss the support as just online noise if this kind of misguided loyalty weren't at the root of what's tearing neighborhoods apart. If the stakes weren't so damn high.
But there are places in this city where a troubling code allows - even encourages - sympathizing with the reckless, uncaring actions like those allegedly committed by Person and Gibson.
This code doesn't diminish the carnage, but aims to justify it, as if anything could explain wildly firing a gun outside a hospital and killing a 15-year-old girl.
And so, express your sympathy for the victim, but don't seem too saddened or shocked by her death for fear of looking weak in the eyes of the punks who run life where you live.
Because more important than standing for what's right, for calling out killers, even if they happen to be one of your "boys," is to show that you get it . . . that this is how life (and death) is dealt with in these neighborhoods.
So RIP Aisha and Free DD and Free Quadir with no sense of irony, no realization of what a twisted manifestation of street justice that is.
Just a guarantee that this kind of cavalier killing will continue - because who or what is going to stop it?
One person, @Khadijalove_, was brave enough to call them on it.
On Twitter: @NotesFromHel