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Sunday, January 13, 2008

Stay off the main drag

“Please if possible stay off Dorchester ave until the community gets more information,” writes a well-known Dorchester community activist with an incendiary temperament. This sentence was part of a mass email sent out in response to a targeted killing on Monday that was followed by a possibly related non-fatal shooting on Wednesday. Never mind that the latter actually took place an couple of blocks away from Dorchester Ave (just as close to Codman Square as to Dot Ave, in fact, but unfortunately you can’t get anybody worked up anymore by writing about crime near Codman Square). Anyway, the email message from the aforementioned community activist includes the following sentence in bold type, referring to the first crime, which did in fact take place on Dot Ave:
This was not a random shooting.
But surely if you want to get people scared and worked up, it would be much scarier if it really were a random shooting. Nobody is safe when violence is random. If it’s targeted, it’s less likely to affect the general public.

In any case, the remedy is supposed to be to stick to our safe residential streets and not venture out onto big, bad Dot Ave. In reply, a calmer community activist pointed out that that’s the worst possible way to keep Dot Ave safe: if we cede it to the gangs, if good people stay away, then it will become the territory of the violent. We need more sunshine, not more hiding.

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