One more example: a few years back, not long after I returned home, the UFC had an event at the Wells Fargo Center. My buddy Luke came to town to cover it. On the way to the fight, we saw one man chasing another man down Broad St. Not the sidewalk, but the center of the street. The chasee looked concerned, perhaps because the guy doing the chasing was carrying what appeared to be a length of pipe. Luke asked me if "beating pipes" are standard issue in Philly. I could not definitively say no. He still says it’s the best undercard he’s ever seen.
Like it or not, the knucklehead minority too often serves as an avatar for the otherwise pleasant majority. There was a time, for instance, when there was a jail in the concrete underbelly of infamous Veterans Stadium, longtime home of the Eagles and Phillies (and some of the supposedly worst sports fans in America). There was a need for it, I suppose, but the hilarious part was the almost perverse civic pride in it, as though the makeshift jail underscored just how tough Philly is, and how tough you needed to be to live here, or at least go to Eagles games here. I passed through that jail once when I was in college after trying to sneak the better part of a case of beer into a game. There were a handful of drunks down there and it smelled of vomit and that was it. It was hardly Midnight Express. I was in and out in about 15 minutes. But the truth about the jail mattered less at the time, and certainly in retrospect, than what it said about us.