PHILADELPHIA — A regional hotel association is urging its members to think twice before putting the latest edition of Philadelphia magazine in guest rooms, saying the cover story on the city’s homicide rate could scare away visitors.The Greater Philadelphia Hotel Association represents 85 members in the Delaware Valley, including the operators of nearly all of Center City’s 10,200 hotel rooms. Ed Grose, the group’s executive director, said the article could end up hurting business.“I recommend that you review your position on what effect this article and cover will have on your guests who are staying in your guest rooms,” Grose wrote in the letter. “I feel that sensationalizing the murder rate in our city will have a negative effect on our customers.”Ordinarily, about 6,000 complimentary copies of the glossy monthly are distributed in local hotel rooms. But Grose urged hotels to reconsider this month, citing a cover that depicts a single handgun and reads “Murder. One terrifying night on the streets — and why everything we’re doing to stop the shooting won’t work.” The issue hit newsstands on Friday.Through Thursday, there had been 330 homicides in the city, a 6.5 percent increase from the same point in 2005.
Listen here, Mr. Under Assistant Hotel Desk Clerk Promo Man, this problem is easily solved. All you gotta do is level with your guests and explain to them in basic English that, with very few exceptions, all those murders happened in poor, drug-wrecked BLACK neighborhoods, miles and miles away from the nearest Starbucks. Fat, no-neck WHITE people from Iowa have nothing to fear from Philadelphia. They will be safe as milk at the Applebees. Besides, if we don’t worry about it, why should they? Sure, we pay it lip service, the DN will splash a siren-flashed chalk outline on the cover every time the counter rolls over and PW will likely do some deep thoughts piece on all the well-meaning but largely symbolic and ultimately meaningless grassroots neighborhood efforts to stop the violence. Maybe the Inky columnists will have a race to see who can buy the most guns the fastest to shame Harrisburg and her local enablers into putting some fangs into Philadelphia’s ridiculously toothless gun laws. In fact, all that already has happened, happens every time. will no doubt happen again, and again. Why? Because NOBODY CARES. If we REALLY cared somebody in charge would have made it stop by now. Yeah, the violence stems from a deeply complicated confluence of urban woes, misguided laws, under-resourced police, piss-poor parenting and blocks and blocks of North and West Philly beyond the reach of the law and lorded over Lord of The Flies-style by gun-mad thugs, but you know and I know that if they were shooting up Rittenhouse Square instead of Sigel St. this shit would be over yesterday. As for the Sweeney story, what can we say, we knew the ground rules when we agreed to talk: You say 13 nice things and the one not-nice thing you say is what winds up in the story. Well, if we said it, we must’ve meant it. Especially the nice stuff that didn’t make it in.
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