Thursday, May 13, 2010
Today is 25th anniversary of the first time the government bombed its own citizens
by Larry Geller
On May 13, 1985, Philadelphia police dropped a bomb made of C-4 plastic explosives onto the roof of a house occupied by an organization called MOVE, originally the Christian Movement for Life. More than 60 people were burned and 11 people killed, including five children. The fire consumed almost an entire city block of 61 houses and was allowed to burn until it could not be controlled.
To this day, as is typical in cases of police murder, no one has been held accountable. The neighborhood has never been rebuilt.
The bombing was allegedly the result of complaints by neighbors that MOVE members broadcast political messages by bullhorn at all hours and that the compost that MOVE members gathered represented a health hazard. Others believe the massacre was politically motivated.
From a USA Today story published in 2005 (click image for photo gallery):
Twenty years ago this Friday, city police dropped a bomb on this block and let it burn. Five children and six adults, members of a small radical collective called MOVE, died; 61 homes in a middle-class neighborhood were destroyed. As the nation watched, Philadelphia became the city that bombed its own people. (Related photo gallery: MOVE bombing)
The memory of the bungled decisions and bad judgment that led police to drop a satchel of explosives from a helicopter onto a residential neighborhood — and the horror that resulted — still stings.
No one has gone to jail or been punished for the murder.