There’s a limit on apologies to MOVE

Goodbye, Dr. Tom Farley, we hardly knew ye.

Philadelphia’s bland, soft-spoken Health Commissioner was fired when Philadelphia’s famously woke Jim Kenney learned that Farley had made a mistake, a terrible mistake, but one that actually hurt no one physically, but did hurt some feelings.

Wait! I want to be accurate for the benefit of the remaining Kenney supporters. Kenney did not “fire” Farley, he asked for his resignation on the 36th anniversary of the MOVE catastrophe in which 11 people died and a city block was destroyed. (MOVE survivors sued the city and police department  and were awarded $1.5 million in a 1996 settlement.)

In reality, a request for a resignation is the same thing as firing, except it is the coward’s way out.

What was Farley’s fireable mistake?

Some remains — bones and bone fragments — of those who died on May 13, 1985, were in the hands of the city medical director, who turned them over to Farley in 2017, who cremated them rather than seek to return them to MOVE members. (The medical examiner also made the mistake of turning some remains over to the Penn Museum for study and research.)

“Instead of fully identifying those remains and returning them to the family, he made a decision to cremate and dispose of them,” Kenney said in a statement.

Farley issued a statement Thursday, apologizing for his decision, saying he was following procedure for handling specimens from autopsies after the investigation had been completed.

“I made this decision on my own,” he wrote, it “was wrong and represented a terrible error in judgment.”

Agreed. He manned up.

Was it a firing offense? Apparently.

We can debate that.

Kenney went further than that.

Kenney said he met with family members and apologized, which is appropriate, but he just had to take it a step too far and also apologized “for how the City has treated them for the last five decades.”

This he said to the survivors of a group that has done more to disturb the peace in Philadelphia than any other group. 

It brought to mind last year’s resolution by 16 of 17 City Council members that was an abject apology to MOVE for what happened 35 years earlier.

The resolution blamed the city for what happened, fair enough, but there is not a single word holding MOVE responsible for its actions that precipitated the disaster.

The only Council member to decline the apology was Brian O’Neill. None of the 17 were in office then, but most were alive then. 

To twist Santayana’s famous quote, if you don’t learn history, you will distort it. 

For starters,  MOVE was founded in 1972 as a back-to-nature, radical, revolutionary Black separatist group. No problem with that.

It had a long history of ignoring orders from the city to cease and desist. It had a long history of bringing noise, filth and fear down upon their Black neighbors who called on the city for help.

An earlier 1978 standoff resulted in the death of one police officer and injuries to 16 officers and firefighters. Nine MOVE members were convicted of killing the officer and received life sentences.

So you can understand police reluctance to walk up to the front door of the house on Osage Avenue that had a bunker in its roof, and filled with MOVErs who were brandishing weapons and making threats.

To understand what happened that day requires an understanding that MOVE often operated as a criminal enterprise, disregarding both law and civil behavior.

I repeat, the main victims of  MOVE were their Black neighbors.

I suppose if I give Council time it will apologize to Mumia Abu-Jamal for his incarceration.

How about serial killer Marty Graham? Did he get roughed by the cops?

The there’s murderer/cannibal Gary Heidnik, who got the death penalty.

Shall Philadelphia apologize to his heirs?

Apologies are fine for actual misdeeds. But when making them, we have to think about gravity, and intent.

Farley’s punishment outweighed his offense — and the mayor has to stop prostrating himself in front of cretins whose own bad behavior provoked an over-the-top response and created a tragedy.

12 thoughts on “There’s a limit on apologies to MOVE”

  1. It seems Mayor Kennedy owes us an apology for being a woke wuss and wasting our taxpayers dollars

    1. He’d owe his parents an apology. A huge apology. What an absolutely utter disgrace of a male offspring.

  2. That he was not asked to resign over the PFC fiasco, but this absurdity, shows you where Jim “Woke” Kenney’s priorities are.

  3. Who is the modern version of Daniel Webster who will defend Kenny who has sold his soul to the devil? The son of a fireman whose members were fired upon during the first Move which at least should have left some respect for his father’s profession. An apology to a group of lawbreakers who in one murderous episode killed James Ramp shot my good friend Tom Hesson and a fireman and attempted to kill as many as they could. And then they continued to move to where they piled railroad ties and tree trunks up against the front door so that entry in or escape out was not allowed. They built a bunker on the roof for the purpose of firing at any attempt to enter their complex by police. One additional move of their suicidal pact was to spread kerosene on the rooftops to ensure if they caught on fire so did their neighbors. And then they choose suicide by remaining inside but one climbed through a small cellar window with Birdie who was saved by a stakeout officer while being shot at by his own family members. A suicide, a cremation, a choice to leave earth in a horrible inhuman manner. And then we observe this political whore award taxpayer money along with an soaked in blood apology for their history of trying to kill our first responders and burn the homes and histories of their neighbors. Our society has truly found the lowest form of human existence to place in a leadership position and move can claim another victim in the dismissal of an innocent city servant Dr.Tom Farley. How cruel, how insulting from a once-proud son of a two streeter who sold his soul to the devil.

    1. Correction to payment to move members which was In 1996 when Kenny was a member of the city council and the payment was the result of a litigation.

    Sorry to say, we, the people, have come a long way and a lot of it is DOWNHILL !!!
    One of my favorite phrases is “Designed Incompetence”. We know something wrong, yet we permit it to be so, and today, we even encourage it. Me, with my credentials, understand fully what went wrong. Designed Incompetence allowed it. The famous “Philadelphia Codes” can just about stop a train in its tracks, but when you ignore the problem or are told to back off, then you just created a monster. Time after time the City of Philadelphia has let the residents down by either not following the law ( ordinances ) or ignoring them.
    As for move. We should be the ones to be suing them ! They destroyed personal property and worse, caused the death of innocents, plus their own members.
    As for Dr. Farley. I don’t know the man, but I do know that he was following established procedure that is practiced in most cities. Jimmy just made him the fall guy.

  5. We are so disgusted with this woke incompetent so called Mayor. To apologize to “Move” who created havoc and
    were a filthy group of people, nature lovers what a joke in the middle of the city.
    Doesn’t Kenney have more important issues e.i. the very HIGH crime rate and our city was destroyed under his watch.
    He’s a disgrace and he should his mask on because we don’t want to look at that face.
    Dr. Farley was the fall guy.
    Some excellent responses from all esp Tom.

    your tax dollars NOT at work !
    As most of us have said. Dr. Farley was/is the scapegoat ! There will not be any forgiveness or job offer from Kenney to the out going (outgone ) Doctor.

    from FOX 29 today.
    Remains of MOVE bombing victims believed to be cremated and disposed of have been located, Kenney says


  7. I think the mayor should apologize to Japan for our unkind reaction to the attack on Pearl Harbor.

  8. I apologize for accusing Japan of an ‘attack’ on Pearl Harbor. In reality, it was an ‘unannounced visit.’ My bad.

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