Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Puppets! No! No! 

What dark, disturbing secret lurks in former Philadelphia Police Commissioner John Timoney's past? He is allegedly suffering from childhood scars that have yet to heal. Years later, he continues to "act out" (therapists say) against his greatest fear- puppets.

During the Republican Convention 2000 in Philadelphia, Timoney's police force stormed a house of puppets in West Philadelphia, in what was popularly reported as a "pre-emptive" raid on the Ministry of Puppetganda. More than 80 puppetistas were arrested & more than 100 puppets were seized. Charges were dropped after the convention, & the city settled a class action lawsuit out of court. While some civil libertarians perceived the raid as an assault on free speech, anonymous sources claim it was a surfacing of the commissioner's deep-seeded Puppetphobia.

Years later, the puppet spectre continues to haunt Timoney at his new post as Miami Chief of Police. Fear of puppetry on his beat during the upcoming FTAA Conference has fueled his introduction of Item J-03-772 to the Miami City Commission. This would ban "puppets and other props; street theater masks; signs on sticks; cameras (still and video; used to record the actions of police); padded clothing (for protection against police truncheons and dogs); bullhorns; gas masks of any kind, including bandanas (used for protection against tear-gas and other dangerous chemical agents), and much more" until a few days after the conference. Public pressure is mounting against such restrictive measures, but it's not likely that Timoney's zeal to abolish puppetry will yield. Friends of Timoney's wife have quoted her as saying, "John wrestles with his demons daily. Sometimes he wakes up at night screaming in a sweat, "Puppets! No! No!"

What are the roots of the top cop's condition? Some sources blame an ugly incident on the set of the Howdy Doody Show, where the wooden cowboy laughed mockingly at young Timoney after a Clarabelle seltzer stunt, leaving the child soaked. A friend close to the commissioner in his bachelor days claims that the movie Magick left sour memories for the once-young policeman. He took a date to the film who claimed to get up for popcorn, & never came back. The ACLU & other concerned citizens are pleaing with the tortured Chief of Police to seek professional help.

In the meantime, the Miami Commission has postponed their vote. You can share your feelings about J-03-772 by contacting:

Mayor Manuel A. Diaz: (305) 250-5300
District 1 Commissioner Angel Gonzalez: (305)250-5430
District 2 Commissioner Johnny L. Winton: (305)250-5333
District 3 Commissioner Joe M. Sanchez: (305)250-5380
District 4 Commissioner Tomas P. Regalado: (305)250-5420
District 5 Commissioner Arthur Teele Jr.: (305)250-5390
City Manager Joe Arriola: (305)250-5400
City Attorney Alejandro Vilarello: (305) 416-1800

Frank Sherlock

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