A call to arms (pun intended)

The City of Philadelphia is in the midst of a homicide crisis. The murder rate increased nearly seven percent from 2005 to 2006, and the deaths in 2007 are trending to top 2006. A whopping 90% of the deaths are results of handguns. This led my favorite design professor to devise an anti-violence poster campaign to hang in bus shelters around the city.

With the campaign, designed pro bono, Frank Baseman wanted to bring in-your-face-attention to the growing murder rate and rampant handgun possession taking Philadelphia by storm.

After raising donations from local donors and businesses, the campaign was ready to hit the streets. Philadelphia thought otherwise. A mid-level government officer deemed the campaign too "intimidating," refusing to let it run in the bus shelters. Because staring down the barrel of a 2D gun is much more frightening than the fact that the city has become one of the country's most deadly cities.

Since that absurd decision, the story has been picked up by the Philadelphia Inquirer and National Public Radio. Now the poster is reaching a broad audience but not the intended audience.

Philadelphia needs to wake up, stop worrying about posters being scary and start worrying why its streets are scary. Shouldn't they be figuring out why its citizens have such easy access to handguns?

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Read more:

AIGA: Where Is the (Brotherly) Love?

NPR: Anti-Crime Posters Shed Light on Philly's Problems

Philadelphia Inquirer: Needed: Sponsor for a message of peace
A display too lurid for Murder City?