The Codcast: The everyday terrorism of urban gun violence


Just over a week ago, 17-year-old Raekwon Brown was fatally gunned down just steps from Jeremiah Burke High School in Dorchester, where he was a student. Three others, including a 67-year-old woman, were wounded. The shooting, which took place in broad daylight after a fire alarm emptied students onto the street near the school, was a reminder of the daily toll of urban gun violence — and of the terrorism-like quality it often has, as a calm and seemingly ordinary moment suddenly turns to a mini-war zone.

In the days that followed, as police begged, with little apparent success so far, for tips about the shooting from those who were on the street, it has also become a reminder of the “stop snitching” culture that makes it hard to solve crimes in the neighborhoods most affected by gun violence. There are all sorts of reasons why people are reluctant to come forward. But in the end, we can’t accept that as the status quo, say Rev. Bruce Wall of Dorchester Temple Baptist Church and Emmett Folgert of the Dorchester Youth Collaborative.

“We could do something about this,” says Folgert. “We’ve been through this with the Code of Silence in Charlestown, with Whitey Bulger, with ‘omerta’ — the Italian gangs. Every time you get real solid gang formation, it short-circuits our criminal justice system. We might as well not even live in America. Warlords start operating in these tiny areas. It’s not all of Dorchester. It’s not all of Roxbury. But if you have the misfortune to live there, you are living in a war zone.”

“Folk have normalized the shootings,” says Wall. “Yes, we have these horrific [mass] shootings around the country. If we have one, two, three, or four here, that’s just as bad, in my opinion. One is just as bad.”

–MICHAEL JONAS 

 

BEACON HILL 

A Herald editorial urges the Legislature to put aside unrelated outside sections in order to focus on budget that now faces a hole of $450 million to $750 million.

A legislative committee approves a bill that would allow the state Lottery to move games online. (State House News)

Another committee approves a scaled-back version of Gov. Charlie Baker’s economic development bill. (State House News)

Treasurer Deborah Goldberg says she’s in favor divesting the state pension fund of holdings in gun manufacturers, but that the decision is up to the Legislature. (Boston Globe)

Cape Wind foes hoping to kill off the project’s chances through pending energy legislation have hired a lobbyist who knows his way around the State House: former House speaker Tom Finneran. (Boston Globe)

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

The attorney general’s office has approved Duxbury‘s bylaw that allows police to issue non-criminal fines instead of arresting teens caught drinking. (Patriot Ledger)

Four  of six volunteer members of Ashland’s Capital Improvement Committee have submitted their resignations after another board member filed public records requests for email exchanges and made a complaint about Open Meeting Law violations. (MetroWest Daily News)

Raymond Mariano, executive director of the Worcester Housing Authority, shows off his A Better Village initiative and explains his concept for public housing. (Telegram & Gazette) Mariano previously outlined his philosophy and reaction to it in articles for CommonWealth.

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

Sen. John McCain said President Obama was “directly responsible” for the Orlando shootings before walking it back on Twitter. (U.S. News & World Report)

Obama and congressional Democrats continue to press for new gun restrictions, but Republicans show little willingness to go along with any changes. (Boston Globe)

Philadelphia becomes the first major US city to pass a soda tax. (Time)

The House backs legislation requiring the armed services to purchase American-made sneakers for service personnel, a provision that will benefit New Balance. The Lowell Sun runs a press release issued by US Rep. Niki Tsongas as its news story.

A British lawmaker who supported remaining in the European Union was brutally shot and stabbed to death by a man who one witness said shouted “Britain first” before launching his attack. (Associated Press)

In a stunning act of dissent, more than 50 diplomats have signed an internal memo urging military strikes in Syria against the forces of President Bashar al-Assad, an action opposed by the Obama administration. (New York Times)

ELECTIONS 

It’s starting to feel like an evergreen story, but here goes: Bernie Sanders refuses to concede the Democratic nomination to Hillary Clinton. (Time)

Keller@Large wonders what’s wrong with an all-women presidential ticket?

Scot Lehigh says Donald Trump the blustering, self-aggrandizing, truth-twisting, name-calling, character-assassinating, conspiracy-theory-trafficking demagogue” won’t be changing because he can’t. (Boston Globe)

The voices you hear still talking about the idea that Massachusetts could be in play for the Trump campaign are those of crickets, writes MassINC Polling Group’s Steve Koczela. (WBUR)

In an interview with the conservative National Review, a Democratic congresswoman from Ohio who tangled with Bill Clinton when he was president buys into the theory that Trump is a plant designed to deliver the White House to Hillary Clinton. 

Former president George W. Bush, who has largely shunned politics since leaving office and who is skipping the GOP convention because of Trump, has begun helping raise money for Senate candidates who are endangered by Trump’s presence on the ballot. (New York Times)

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

In an opinion that strengthens the hands of banks regarding mortgage errors, the Supreme Judicial Court ruled in a bankruptcy case that a missing signature on one of the volumes of pages of mortgage documents was insufficient reason to invalidate the loan obligation. (Standard-Times)

Darlene Lombos of Community Labor United urges a crackdown on wage theft. (CommonWealth)

The embattled head of the Girl Scouts of the USA, under fire for her leadership style, lagging membership, and stagnant fundraising, is stepping down. (Chronicle of Philanthropy)

EDUCATION 

The Commonwealth Academy prep school in Springfield, which targets underprivileged students, fights back against a trademark violation lawsuit brought by the exclusive Commonwealth School in Boston. (Masslive)

HEALTH/HEALTH CARE 

The union representing health care workers at both Southcoast Health and Rhode Island-based Care New England has sent a letter to Attorney General Maura Healey expressing concern over the proposed merger of the two systems over potential layoffs and higher costs. (Herald News)

Boston University School of Public Health abruptly scraps plans to honor a pioneer brain researchers days after he was quoted in a story raising questions about a BU-affiliated concussion research organization. (Boston Globe)

TRANSPORTATION 

A fast response from heavily armed T police units to a call apparently prompted by two Muslims praying at Wellington Station on the Orange Line renews questions about the “see something, say something” theme that encourages the public to be vigilant and err on the side of caution in the age of terrorism. (Boston Herald)

Gov. Charlie Baker says the T has a “significant climb” ahead. He says his priorities, in order, are reliability, modernization, and expansion. (State House News)

Waze partners with the state Department of Transportation to help reduce road delays for drivers. (Boston Business Journal)

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT 

The House energy bill awards the state’s utilities a special fee worth tens of millions of dollars that would be paid by ratepayers and cover the alleged costs associated with long-term contracts for offshore wind power and hydroelectricity. Critics, including the attorney general, say the fee is unnecessary. (CommonWealth)

The New England Aquarium has received a grant to research a new type of breakaway rope that would be useful for fishermen while minimizing the chance of whale entanglements. (Cape Cod Times)

Sudbury selectmen, citing health concerns, have asked the state secretary of environmental affairs to step in and halt a plan by Eversource to clear-cut an abandoned rail bed and spread herbicide to make way for power lines. (MetroWest Daily News)

They’re baaaack: The first great white shark of the season was detected off Chatham. (Cape Cod Times)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS 

Springfield police arrest three and recover nearly 17,000 bags of heroin. (Masslive)