Some Old Letters
People send me the damnedest stuff. Here's the first of what I'm sure will be a series of samples from my famous vaults.
I once wrote a biographical essay, now out of print, about the time I was caught breaking a window at the World Famous Thomas M. Balliet Elementary School. People wrote in sharing their own perspectives on vandalism.
I wish that libertarians would overthrow the current leadership of the Republican Party. But since that doesn't seem to be happening (yet) I wish I could find a political home in the Libertarian Party. However, the people who actually run under the Libertarian banner sometimes give me pause. Here's an example:
From : Robert Underwood email@example.com
Sent : Monday, March 20, 2006 1:28 AM
To : Tom Devine firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject : Vandalism
The recent vandalism at Central is an on-going problem of vandalism throughout the city.
I had about $5000 vandalism done to my house, by Irish vandals. Unlike yourself, they had not evolved to the point where they could use bricks or simple tools they used their feet to kick in latices work, and tore the roof off the garage next door using their hands. Their Irish grandmother thought they had to right to vandalize the neighborhood. Their family also worked for the city. So both their family and Irish police proved useless. As a matter of fact Irish police were quick to protect them. Since my neighborhood has become Puerto Rican vandalism has plummeted.
Every time I had a run in with some Irish low-life they always had ties to the police department or the DA’s office. Besides worthless parents the Irish cops are very much to blame for the crimes against property that is very common in Springfield.
I caught one person ( Irish ) selling things at his tag sale that he had stolen out of my basement. Once again Irish cops found excuses to not arrest him.
In your case your mother was quick to correct your behavior, and you yourself did not actually intend to destroy anything useful. I had one neighbor with whom I traded allowances with. Our kids would accidentally break windows and we would make them pay it out of their allowances. We probably broke even. The main beneficiary was ABC glass. What we were really doing was teaching the kids that they should think before they act because actions have consequences.
Rooke is grandstanding. He is well aware that the police and DA has tolerated vandalism, and even protected the vandals from arrest when they were Irish. Only a moron would think that the city will ever be able to collect $100,000 from the vandals. The idea of jail time is unrealistic because there are people who have done worse and not gone to jail. Rooke is also associated with officials who have been soft on vandalism when it was done by Irish.
The “white” kid that everyone is talking about who had his picture posted in the paper has a polish name.
Now we have Hurley who apparently was allowed to drive around drunk and hit a car full of Puerto Ricans and severely disabled a two year old kid. Within days the press was largely blaming the Puerto Ricans for not wearing seat belts. Within weeks legislation was filed making it mandatory to wear seatbelts, levying fines for failure to do so, and making state money available to fund a largely Irish bureaucracy to check cars for seat belts. They also picked the largely Puerto Rican North end to enforce the law.
Springfield government has been soft on vandalism because much of it was committed by politically connected people. Some of the vandals are also dealing in drugs and locking them up would cost revenue.
Robert “condom” McCollum has in the past, been totally useless in controlling the lawless element in the schools. But He and the pro-vandal element have a point also, the vandals are getting singled out because they are not Irish. Blacks do not tend to see the various ethnic groups among Europeans.
Now there is a movement to take up a collection to pay for the damages so that they will not go to jail. That shows that the way to get attention is to smash a piano. If you want to go the medical school, you are on your own.
In many ways the voters themselves have contributed to the vandalism. They are the ones who elected their smiling city councilors and legislators who have created a system that pretty much assures us that dogs and juveniles can do whatever they want and get away with it. The whiners voted to create a court system that does nothing until the damage gets to be so much that nothing can be done about it. My guess is that this was not the first thing that these people have done. Rooke the grandstander was just reelected, as was the rest of the city council. In all likelihood the legislature will also be re-elected.
Robert Joseph Underwood
Libertarian Candidate for State Representative
From : Tim Fenton email@example.com
Sent : Monday, March 20, 2006 3:15 AM
To : firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject : Back in the day
I can relate to the Balliet story. I've done my share of stupid stuff. We might have been better off with the computer and video games.
Anyway, my tale begins at Cathedral HS back in 75,' I was a senior and had a cute girlfriend and would take a drink under extreme social pressure. One of the things we used to like to do was sneak into the dances they had in the cafeteria. If I remember they cost a buck. I had the money, it was just fun to sneak in.
One Friday night near the end of high school we parked in the back lot where there was the loading dock for the school supplies. You could climb up on the roof and get up on the roof of the first floor. Then you ran to where the second floor began and I think we used to climb the windows and then down the other side and jump into the chapel court yard where kids would go out and smoke. YES! They could SMOKE! Hell I should stop right here, but I won't.
So a whole bunch of us started to jump into the courtyard and some of us got caught. One of them was me. We got taken to the office where I learned we were probably going to be charged with B+E. I had no idea what this was except I believed it was a law you didn't want to break.
Well, as the night went on the priest who I'd like to name because he was a psycho found out that of all the kids there, maybe 10 or so, I had a dad who was the Chief of Police at the time. He beamed at his capture! The proud priest let everyone else leave with their parents. My two best buddies got to go home together. One of the parents couldn't be located in the days before cell phones so they let Bobby go home with Joe's dad. Not me though, I was a hostage.
The "priest" wanted to know where my dad was. I said he was out with my mom. Where, he demanded to know? I don't know. they went out to dinner. The guy called all these restuarants and finally found them and ruined their night. While I waited there was one kid left in the office with me. Poor Eddie. His big Irish father punched him right in the face and his head smashed into the wall behind him. He had been seated in a chair at the time. As Eddie got scraped off the floor I waited for what I was sure would be a similar fate.
They got there shortly after and I wanted to tell my father that what they did to me was not fair, they discriminated against me, but that didn't fly with him. I thought I'd get hit but the old man made me feel worse than any beating and my mother was, disappointed to say the least. That's all she really had to do. Anyway, I guess there was really no B+E, so I got a month detention and had to do janitorial work every day. No one came to my defense. There was no collection taken by anyone. I had to stay in for a month of weekends after that. Never snuck in anywhere again.
From : Sheila McElwaine email@example.com
Sent : Monday, March 20, 2006 1:16 PM
To : "Tom Devine" firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject : Vandalism Essay
Nice job, Tom.
I agree with your observation our lack of community consensus on whether vandalism is an impulse control problem or a symptom of racial crippling. It is shameful that our black politicians and leaders here are so eager to exploit the racial angle of every indictment that hits the papers, turning delinquents into victims. No wonder the minority community needs Bill Cosby to come down here from Shelburne Falls and talk sense! You'd think our 'leaders" would learn from his example.... They appear to be slow learners.
Is that Balliet principal John Murphy the same one who was principal at the Washington School in the 1980s and early 90s? If so, by then, he was a rigid s.o.b. who ran the school for the convenience of the staff. (When I went over to observe the kindergarten in 1985, the teacher, who, to impress me, played The Good Ship Lollipop on the piano using what must have been original sheet music, was drinking her coffee from a cup with the slogan "I'd rather be in bed.")
Keep up the good work.
Sometimes I find kindred spirits in unexpected places. Here an 85 year old writes in calling for the legalization of drugs.
November 24, 2005
A way to greatly reduce crime and violence: Make drugs available to all over 18, just as Congress did when they ratified the 21st Amendment in 1933 which permitted the sale of liquor.
Let's talk about the real world. Born in 1920, my adopted parents both drank although it was illegal; as a child I recall four locations, North End, South End, Eastern Avenue and Pine Point, where they purchased whiskey.
My father worked for the City of Springfield and lost very little time from work, this was a period when even those who were well educated were unemployed. It was a time when I'd see a man eating a sandwich on my back steps, many would walk to the next city looking for work. My mother had no fear of the man, the screen door had no hook. The wooden door had a ten cent skeleton key one could purchase in any five and dime store. Compare that with the thousands many spent today on security systems for their homes, cars and business property.
Unfortunately my mother was an alcoholic, both parents lost their driver's license, but that was no problem. She called a taxicab and many times took me with her while she drank and conversed at a speak-easy. At home there was always plenty of food in the icebox and fresh fruit. When she was drinking meals were not prepared so as a child I just took whatever I could reach to eat.
One way police knew a car was carrying a load of whiskey was the trunk would be way down on the springs. Many in law enforcement in decades past (as currently) were on the take. Those who were in the business made plenty of money, as it is now with drugs! Therefore there will be thousands throughout the world who would lose millions of dollars and be unequivocally opposed to legalizing the sale of drugs.
Is there a conspiracy tied into all this?
Unfortunately drugs have been in this world for many centuries. This old woman (85) has not lost her mind, no I live in the real world. This problem isn't going away.
Mildred B. Dunbar
I'm saddened by the news of the death of Yolly Nahorniak (above). She really was Ms. Pine Point, at least politically, although she wasn't particularly ideological. She was in favor of whatever was good for the Point, and wherever on the political spectrum that put her there she stood. Her late son Joseph once had a band called "Destiny's Defeat" that played all around the Point. I think it was Pine Point's first real live rock n' roll band, and Yolly was their manager. Among the band members was Mark Walker, who I lived with along with his brother Paul for much of the 1980's. When Mark Walker died in 2005 of an accidental drug overdose, Karl Mayfield of Martian Highway fame sent me this email:
From : elle drek email@example.com
Sent : Wednesday, August 31, 2005 10:31 PM
To : firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject : one(circle) to one(boulevard) breckwood boys
dear tom, please tell paul that i extend my condolences to him concerning his sibling. as you may remember mark was a guitar hero of mine. one morning at balliet i asked paul if he heard a song that went like so "i wahnitiwahnitiwahnit"(for those too jugend oder alt...musik was such an influence on all of us during this time. we are the beneficiaries of turmoil. we were born into an atmosphere of creativity ...born of chaos and the resultant electrictranscendence.) paul said something about his older brother knowing so ...after school he took me to where his bro's band was practicing and they were kind enuff to blow my mind with a rendition of "magic bus" which had only been on WHYN for a day or so (member that was the station when top 40 was the shit and not shit.) i felt honored to know him. tom you will remember that i have always had a bad habit of expressing optimism with a vengeance. mark at one point was kinda depressed and i was relentless in my praise of his playing, you know the deal..under certain chosen circumstances a tune a tone aflickofthewrist can reveal the universe......MARK!!!you did that for me, you are just one more of those i hold guilty of influencing my addiction to electrically administrated reality. VECTOR OF TRANSMISSION......guitar....mark r.i.p. .........................karl martian
I haven't seen the fountains turned on in the campus pond at UMass for so many years that I'd completely forgotten about them, until they suddenly appeared in use yesterday.
I don't know whether those are new fountains, or the old fountains returned to use.
Too bad the UMass Collegian is closed for the summer. They would tell us.