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Friday, June 24, 2011

In Southie, Bulger Was Legend



James J. ("Whitey") Bulger was arrested earlier this week, along with his girlfriend, both on the lam for r16 years. They were picked up in Santa Monica CA. Whitey was a crime lord. He was a sadistic, murderous psychopath who pumped drugs and mayhem in to South Boston.

South Boston? I remember the anti busing riots erupting there back in 1974. It was my first day of college and the papers were filled with images of black children being stoned and threatened. The whole city was mortified and embarrassed nationally. I've never been to South Boston myself. It's only tow or three subway stops from downtown. But in my day you didn't go there without a reason. It was okay if your grandmother or your uncle lived there, but if you didn't know your way around, you were marked as an outsider and that was no good. For years there was a ferocious pride in the neighborhood as street after street succumbed to Whitey's drugs and violence.

That Whitey's brother Billy is the former President of the Massachusetts Senate, from whence he became Chancellor of the University of Massachusetts is less of an outrage than it is a comedy. Boston was like that in my day. We loved irony and giving the finger to ...well, just about anybody. "Vote early and often". Today people are outraged but mine is the last generation to find it unsurprising and funny.

I imagine its different now. Whole sections have been gentrified (groan). Who can afford to live thee? What were leaky triple deckers are now chic and expensive. If the long time residents get a piece of the do-re-mi, then good. Southie is always depicted in the movies as a violent "I didn't see nothing" culture. I wouldn't know, but I guess it sells movies. Hopefully with the Bulger case nearing resolution the community will have some peace. I don't know about the families of his many victims though, God bless them.

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