Before one flick could roll off a reel in the Pearl Theatre, real drama was unfolding outside its doors as police responded to a scuffle last December – remnants of a shooting one block away from the brand new movie theater on Broad Street.
Before we could revel in the joy of witnessing the infant steps of the rise of our neighborhood, we were awakened from our bliss by gunfire.
Plain and simple, it was a swift slap in the face to us – to this community. Just one day earlier, this very newspaper
reported on the momentous grand opening of the Pearl, where Gov. Rendell, Mayor Street and other prominent city officials were on hand to celebrate the festivities.
“This is a great new beginning,” Street said at the grand opening.Though the events of Dec. 6 alarmed this community and forced us to reckon with the blind violence in this city, we were very satisfied and quite impressed with the response of Temple administrators.In a matter of hours, President Hart addressed us with an e-mail, informing us of the unfortunate incident.
For that, Dr. Hart and her administrators deserve applause. Though the incident did not involve Temple-affiliated parties, the administration’s response was as vigilante as we imagine it would be if gunfire erupted in the middle of Liacouras Walk.
Perhaps what the Pearl represents to this neighborhood and the city as a whole and its steep price tag influenced the administration’s swift response. Perhaps it didn’t.
Whatever the case, we are pleased by that response and cannot say that we expected any less, for this is what being an administrator is all about. Immediately following the shooting the university joined hands with Philadelphia Police and city officials in forming a task force to aid in beefing up security here.
Yet, we hope that this push to make our neighborhood safer will not remain near the corridor of Broad Street that encompasses the million-dollar investment, but will stretch to all parts of this community and North Philadelphia that is in need of extra security.
For if one thing was made clear by the gunfire that erupted last December, violence can happen anywhere and at anytime.
So, adding more security kiosks at busy intersections and beefing up police patrols near Avenue North may not do the trick, but at least we can be assured that we can depend on an administration that realizes a key concept – that there is no safe campus without a safe community.