Tag Archives: John Pawlowski

Let’s talk about it

I still get the sense that some people are not exactly raring at the bit to condemn cop-killings. Part of that attitude comes from incidents such as this one, as written about by former policeman Norm Stamper:

Disclosure: During my rookie days back in the sixties as a San Diego police officer I used excessive force, more than once. I remember most of the incidents, though I’m sure I’ve conveniently forgotten some. I’m ashamed, wish to hell I hadn’t done it. But I did, and visceral memories of these incidents help shape an answer to the question of why certain cops engage in brutal behavior, and others don’t.


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We Need More Amishness in Philly


We need more Amishness in Philly. When I was a little kid, I never thought I would do anything other than join an Amish Mennonite church and adopt all the lifestyles of the sect. Surprised? Guess you haven’t seen my baby album. Yup, that’s Phillygrrl. The toothy brown kid with the print dress to my ankles, two thick braids to my waist, and plastic glasses you could see half a mile away on a foggy day.

Sigh. Here’s the short of it. So my parents came from Pakistan. Settled in South Philly. Visited Lancaster country one Saturday and (what!) decided they wanted to be Amish. Then they realized it was easier to be conservative Mennonite.  The whole horse and buggy thing sort of freaked my mom out. The whole conservative, shunning-the-world thing didn’t.

Point is, I spent the better part of my life thinking I was a little white kid with German grandparents who turned the other cheek and would at some point pin up my hair and put on a covering. How’s that for a screwed-up childhood? But cohabiting in a world where there is so much emphasis on “loving thy neighbor” has its perks.

Take for instance the Nickel Mines massacre in 2006. You know the story. Thirty-two year old Charles Carl Roberts takes a bunch of kids in an Amish schoolroom hostage and ends up killing five of the girls – all under the age of 13. Sickening. The absolute pits of humanity. (I still have trouble reading about it.) Continue reading

I did something bad


On Tuesday, I paid my respects at the make-shift memorial erected at the site of where Officer John Pawlowski was killed.  Today, on my way to get some chicken noodle soup from the deli, I passed the memorial again. I took a moment to say a prayer.

Then I noticed that the memorial had grown by leaps and  bounds. Now it features a tarp to safeguard all of the paraphernilia that people left in remembrance. I also noticed something else.  Left on top of everything else was a piece of paper with racial epithets and the like scrawled across it.

I know memorials like these are sacred. At the same time, someone from his family seeing something like that made me wince. So I stole it.

I did. I stole it. The cashier at the Dunkin Donuts tried to help me dissect the language, because I could not figure out what the paper was saying. We gave up, concluding it was the rantings of a nut.

I wish crazy people wouldn’t pollute memorials like this.

Save it for the forums, the Facebook groups and the blogs.

This isn’t the place for political/racial discussions.

It’s about honoring the memory of someone who died trying to serve and protect.

Remember this face….

…as you go through your week. And support your boys in blue.


From the Inquirer website: Kim Pawlowski, widow of slain Philadelphia police officer John Pawlowski, is escorted into St. Anselm’s church by her parents, Ed and Sharon Leigh, before a community Mass on Monday. (David Swanson / Staff Photographer)

This happens every time

Every time something bad happens in the neighborhoods of  Olney-Logan, I feel personally responsible. It’s hard not to feel judged. Outsiders seem to perceive Olney-Logan as this terrifying dystopia where no “normal” person would want to live and its inhabitants spend their days shooting cops and robbing Dunkin Donuts. According to one of my girlfriends, “the neighborhood is sketchy, to say the least.” (I guess she didn’t realize I lived there.) When John Pawlowski (whose path no doubt crossed mine as he and his boys in blue patrolled the streets I walk everyday) got shot at Broad and Olney last Friday, almost five minutes after I drove off in my car, my heart remained heavy throughout the weekend.

Even now, I remain depressed. I dread the thought of taking the subway to work tomorrow. Not because I’m afraid of death or danger. I know as I cross the street, I’ll see that pile of flowers and stuffed animals and be forced to mourn the anger that led to another’s demise. At the same time, I hope the folks watching on TV and cursing their screens at the news that yet another widow weeps at night won’t judge a neighborhood based on a few rotten seeds. Continue reading

R.I.P. John Pawlowski

Sad news tonight.

Another Philadelphia police officer has been gunned down in the line of duty, this time in an apparent shoot-out tonight in front of the Olney Transportation Center. The officer, identified as John Pawlowski, 25, was the first to be killed in the line of duty this year. The officer was recently married and his wife is pregnant with their first child. The shooting happened shortly after 8 in an exchange of gunfire between two officers and two men near Broad Street and Olney Avenue. What precipitated the violence was not immediately available. There were reports the police officers were responding to a call of a report of a fight on the highway.

The scary thing is I was standing right at the intersection of Broad & Olney after taking the subway down from Center City at about 7:50PM tonight. I loathe cop-killers.