Families of the victims, not involved in the criminal underworld, where if you play, you know the risk and can play.
A fund designated to help South Boston, (for the rest of the post, I will refer to the neighborhood nickname, Southie).
I just finished reading the biography of Whitey by Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill that just came out. I don’t want to spoil the book, but give my take on it.
The sociological study in the beginning was interesting. First the Irish in Newfoundland, which is heavily Irish. They were welcome there as long as they were fishermen and didn’t aspire to anything else. Then many moved to Boston, where they were known as “Two boat Irish.”
Read South Boston historian Thomas O’Connor and you find out what a hard place it could be to be Irish in Boston. The Brahmins had Boston’s institutions all sewn up and old money ruled. Southie was an isolated, closed off place with bridges and Boston Harbor separating it from the rest of the city.
This is a story of the gangster and the politician. James Whitey Bulger and his younger brother, former Massachusetts State Senate President William Bulger. Between them, they created a powerhouse, in which you might have well renamed Southie “Bulgertown” for the period.
Southie is a part of my life, though I am not from there. It is my wife’s home neighborhood. Therefore, I pay attention to things that happen there.
I had a great review of my Moriarty book that said, no matter what, the good Professor could never be a Robin Hood. Neither could Whitey.
Two incidents in the book caught my eye. One was an arrest of Whitey by one of my wife’s uncles. Another was the killing of the first owner of the bar she went to in the Savin Hill section of Dorchester. It happened in a phone booth on Morrissey Blvd. by Linda Mae’s. I’d been to the Bulldogs as well. (It’s gone now).
I read the book wondering if Billy, who had been writing letters to get Whitey out of Federal prison went into politics, because of all the lobbying he’d been doing.
Those who know me, know what a wiseass I am. The last time we were in Boston, we were riding on the Red Line, where the train crosses the Neponset River, from Quincy into Dorchester. Used to take this train all the time, now other than the route itself, everything down to the train cars and the people were different. I whispered to Elaine and pointed to the marsh on the Dorchester side, there’s a body there, and one there and one there. Whitey’s greatest hits. Instead of an Indian burial ground, Whitey Bulger’s. These are the bodies that are known. (Elaine hit me of course, but that isn’t news).
Forced busing was what really made Whitey’s criminal career. The neighborhood was in turmoil (busing helped to change it completely). Now though, you had all these young men, having problems at South Boston High School or dropping out altogether. Perfect fodder for Whitey. Imagine being a Southie cop on the thin blue line, protecting buses rolling up the hill every day. Heck of a way to be portrayed. People in Southie just saw it as people more powerful than they were shoving it in their noses. Instead of the Brahmin elite, it was Judge Garrity, who lived in Wellesley and would not be affected. Educationally, there was to be no benefit. Just violence. There were rumors Whitey was going to arm Southie kids and Mayor Kevin White (who Elaine and I ran into on our second date, walking his dogs on Beacon Hill) was concerned he was on a hit list. Mayor White was talked about as a possible Presidential candidate, but that was all gone. Whitey’s criminal career and Billy’s political career were growing. Billy was even interviewed on CBS’s Sixty Minutes, and Billy said of Whitey, “He’s my brother.”
Do I think Billy is involved? I don’t think he knows detailed, but helped him on the lam. I don’t know what the government has on him. I would have enjoyed speaking with Billy Bulger classical scholar. For he is that as well.
Billy has no clout any more. He’s like the old Communists I saw in Eastern Europe in 1999.
Again, I wont give away the book. Read it and form your own opinion.
- Key hearing set for April 19 on James ‘Whitey’ Bulger immunity claim (boston.com)
- James ‘Whitey’ Bulger: Ex-Mobster on trial for murder (boston.com)
- Report: Rifleman Wanted To Kill Whitey (bitterqueen.typepad.com)
- Collusion: Whitey Bulger and the FBI’s international trade off for domestic information (sluggerotoole.com)