Image via ‘Knight and Day’
Believe it or not, there are some invigorating activities for commuters to engage in while stuck in traffic around here. You know, other than masturbating and listening to sports radio morons spew thinly veiled racism in between rounds of praise for black athletes. You can also fire up your smartphone to check game scores from last night, or see who’s on the upcoming season of “Dancing with the Stars,” sure. But in light of this morning’s #BlackLivesMatter ally protests on I-93, I thought to point out a few landmarks that are worthy of relevant reflection.
THINK ABOUT POLICE BRUTALITY
Those stuck in traffic heading south on the interstate can imagine the horror of other drivers as two Boston Police Department officers pursued Mark McMullen on the same road a few years ago, after McMullen failed to stop for them following an alleged hit-and-run on Blue Hill Avenue in Mattapan. After chasing the perp 17 miles to Rockland, the cops reportedly shot and killed McMullen through the passenger side door, claiming later that the vehicle was driving at them. You can get mad about #BlackLivesMatter protests all you want; to each his and her own. Nevertheless, attorneys with the ACLU say, “Evidence suggests McMullen’s vehicle had already been stopped, he had no weapon, and that the many officers at the scene were not in danger.” Bottom line: If you care more about sitting in traffic than you do about that killing—and more than you do about the fact the officers who shot McMullen were awarded the department’s highest medal “in recognition of bravery”—then I suppose that’s just the kind of selfish prick you are. Still, it’s something to think about.
Between the big box store blight of the South Bay Center and the Level 4 BU Biolab is the South Bay House of Correction, and if you look closely you can see the silhouettes of bodies in the prison windows. While rolling by the inmates, taxpayers may want to consider what a joke it is that Suffolk County and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts actually call such facilities houses of “correction” when such an insignificant amount of their budgets actually goes toward rehab and reentry programs.
THINK ABOUT THE MOVIES
We’re not saying everyone is a hypocrite on this one. Obviously a lot of the same people complaining this morning were hammering Tom Cruise and company when filmmakers closed I-93 for the making of Knight and Day. Even though it was unrelated to his production, Ben Affleck caught a lot of the heat for those delays since he was filming The Town at the same time. So if you need someone to get mad at today, it seems rather fitting to retroactively lambaste Xenu Cruise and Cameron Diaz, even if it’s just for associating Boston with that garbage movie.
While we’re beating up on Hollywood … Passing through the Savin Hill area, drivers can ruminate on everybody’s favorite local celebrity Mark Wahlberg, who allegedly threw rocks and hurled racial insults at schoolchildren around there back in the day. Note how Wahlberg may be trying to clear his record in order to become a volunteer police officer, and when you’re done with that try rethinking why people are chaining themselves to the highway.
THINK ABOUT THE HOMELESS
It’s never easy to imagine the people who don’t have a place to stay in this kind of weather, but they’re here, and they now have a new spot to crash and find services at the Southampton Street Shelter right off I-93. Things have been difficult for the homeless community, as well as for the administration of Mayor Marty Walsh, since the closing of the bridge to Long Island, but there’s finally some progress, and that’s something to think about too.
THINK ABOUT MORE TRAFFIC
And how a decade of development for the 2024 Olympics will affect that.
THINK ABOUT ART
And hope. From a Boston Globe piece about the gas tank off I-93:
The 40-something-year-old tank, which holds 331,000 barrels of liquefied natural gas, was one of a pair looming over Morrissey Boulevard. It was actually its twin that was first painted with six splashes of color in 1971 by former nun turned graphic artist Corita Kent …
“It seemed a neat thing to do with the tank’s oval form,” she said at the time. “To me it represents hope, uplifting, and spring. It’s a joyous expression, joining heaven and earth together.”
Of course, most of the people getting ridiculously mad about today’s actions are probably among those who believe Kent clandestinely hid the profile of Ho Chi Minh in the blue part.
THINK ABOUT HAIRCUTS FROM THE 1970S
THINK ABOUT THE REASON
This may sound crazy to some, but what if we all listened to the people blocking roads? It’s hard to do, since the media prefers to quote authorities, but their voices are out there. You can start with this line from protester Nguyen Thi Minh Thu, issued in a press release this morning:
We must remember, Ferguson is not a faraway Southern city. Black men, women, and gender-nonconforming people face disproportionately higher risk of profiling, unjust incarceration, and death. Police violence is everywhere in the United States.
A Queens, NY native who came to New England in 2004 to earn his MA in journalism at Boston University, Chris Faraone is the editor and co-publisher of DigBoston and a co-founder of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism. He has published several books including 99 Nights with the 99 Percent, and has written liner notes for hip-hop gods including Cypress Hill, Pete Rock, Nas, and various members of the Wu-Tang Clan.