Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Slasher Targets Downtown Street Trees

The dog days of August are upon us, and as any grizzled veteran of the police beat knows, that means we've entered the season of the bizarro crime story. Today's crime is a most diabolical one. It appears that some madman armed with a machete-like instrument is cutting a swathe across Center City, attacking street trees (Innocent street trees!) and hacking off their bark.

Said attacker appears to favor young, subtle trees, according to an email being circulated by the Center City Residents Association. Most of the attacks have occurred in the vicinity of 10th Street, between Walnut and Chestnut - Jefferson Hospital territory. Not content to slash and run, this attacker apparently returns to the scene of the original crime to hack again at the same trees. Nancy Goldenberg, a vice president at the Center City District, told the CCRA that the young trees are particularly vulnerable and could die from their wounds.

Just what we need in that quadrant of depressing parking garages and surface lots - treeless streets with no refuge from the burning sun. Someone stop this evildoer!


Blogger GHOSTPHAYCE said...

Probably one of those half-way house psychos that take up residence in that area. They shouldn't be allowed on the streets without collars.

3:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our neighborhood is full of drug out losers. Stop providing serivces for these people, stop rewarding begging and let them move on. They are nothing more than leaches. All these people say how we need to help these people. They don't want help they want handouts.

4:15 PM  
Anonymous jean c. said...

That is really a shame about the trees being vandalized... but I'm more ashamed of the people who've commented here. It's easy to blame "drug out losers" and "half-way house psychos" for every urban disturbance... It's a lot harder to trace social problems back to their sources in our society of exploitation and inequality, and take positive steps to make our country, government, and neighborhoods better.

Who is the bigger "leach" or "psycho"... a person at the lowest economic levels of society, who is scrambling to survive day-to-day... or the CEO of a giant corporation, who makes exponentially more money than any of his employees, and unquestioningly believes that he is entitled to it all?

2:25 AM  
Anonymous davis said...

I've observed this phenomenon for 40 years in this town. In my view it comes from deeper sociopathic self-loathing, anger at society and Philadelphia more specifically. To a degree it's a class hatred thing where any sign of improvement or beauty is seen as something to be fought against.

9:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow Jean C. nicely put... I noticed this same thing happening near the entrance to Carpenter Woods in Mt.Airy a few months ago, and it was sad to see.

1:34 PM  
Blogger Horrified Witness said...

Jean -- I'm aghast that the mentally unwell street people clogging Center City, who resist help several times a day from the Center City District folks, who sleep in the parks, urinate on the sidewalks and aggressively panhandle for drug and alocohol money are treated by authorities like they have constitutionally guaranteed rights to engage in all this behavior. I am incensed that, conversely, the hard-working immigrant population -- people with jobs and families, a work ethic and who are not living off tax subsidies -- get treated by authoirites like cattle. It is absurd. But maybe you're right. Heck, maybe it was even a CEO cutting the trees, or perhaps the ghost of Sam Rappaport. But the street addicts sure look like the psychos to me.

2:07 PM  
Blogger Walt said...

I've never heard the phrase, "young, subtle tree" -- perhaps it should be supple?

Still horrible that somebody would do this.

10:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Horrified witness perhaps you should look to the policies of Ronald Reagan who decided to go through with the de-institutionalization of the mentally ill. Thereby creating a policy that with the belief that it was unfair to involuntarily commit the mentally ill into institutions that can help them. Which really boils down to we do not need to pay for their treatment. Mentally ill people have been classified as thus because their thinking is no longer logical therefore they will not voluntarily seek out help. Thereby Reagan got that extra money to be used elsewhere. Yes it is a shame what is happening to the trees, and it is upsetting what has happened to the people on the streets.

7:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not so sure that this is a product of the "mentally ill". Rather, this is mroe likely the product of street thugs looking to entertain themselves and destroy public property the same way they tagged subway windows with scratchiti. Blame the city's totaly failure to encorce anti-truancy laws, the high dropout rate, and the fact that people in Philly seem to have absolutely no pride in their own city!

9:55 AM  
Blogger LB-Philadelphia PA said...

It's not just Center City. A newly-planted tree in the nascent park at 22nd and Carpenter was vandalized this week.

9:51 AM  
Anonymous Rob said...

As a former S. Philly resident, I can attest that a certain segment of our population hates street trees. They block your car door when you park and birds in them poop on your car. Others complain that they are safety hazards - children can run out from behind them and be hit by cars, old people can trip over them, they offer cover for criminals... the list goes on an on. Now I live in Mt. Airy, where the opposite is true. People adore trees and will lay down their lives for a dying oak that is about to fall on someone's house. If I have to take sides, I'll take the latter approach.

2:44 PM  

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