While I may have been falling down on the job of covering the UMass troops rally the other day, others were not. Here is the article that appeared in the Daily Collegian. And those intrepid souls over at Springfield's CBS affiliate were the only broadcasters to get some video footage.
A number of people have asked me why I had no written comment on last week's sentencing of Raymond "Papa Ray" Asselin to ten years hard time, but I don't like to kick people while they're down, and as the prison door slams shut behind him Papa Ray is as down as down can be. At his age his prison term quite probably means he will die behind bars. That is probably the worst way to end one's life, indeed it is the ultimate definition of a failed life. Sad, yet he has earned it. How the Asselins strutted around town, demanding a respect they never deserved, treated as pillars of the community when they were no better than common thieves. I remember the days when it was only the Advocate's Stephanie Kraft and myself who were attacking the Asselins, when they were at the top of their power and it was difficult and even dangerous to do so. Yet although I may feel some vindication from their fall, I can take no real satisfaction. All I can feel is disgust.
Judge Ponsor said that the corruption went on for so long and was so widespread that he said he believed "hundreds" of people must have known what was going on. Yet less than a dozen were indicted and imprisoned. That means there are dozens more out there, no doubt some extremely prominent persons among them, who should have been shackled right beside Papa Ray and yet apparently have escaped justice. As my farewell to this whole sordid mess, I leave this song in honor of everyone involved in the Asselin Scandal, including the unindicted.
whom everyone obeys
Now the youngest of the family
is moving with authority....
Building castles by the sea
they dared the tardy tide
to wash it all aside....
The sandcastle virtues
were all swept away
In the tidal destruction
In the moral melee
So they rode themselves over the fields
and they made all their animal deals
but wise men don't know how it feels
to be thick as a brick.