Portrait of a Violent City

Posted on August 25, 2009


Something about yesterday’s Lynn Item really got to me. Truth be told, I feel this way more than a few times during the year after reading the Item. But there was something a little more poignant yesterday because it’s election season. I try to make this blog a positive place, but sometimes it’s necessary to tell the truth even if it doesn’t paint the city in a good way.

Lynn can be a violent city on any particular day. Take yesterday, when these stories appeared in the Item:

LYNN MEN INVOLVED IN BRUTAL BEATING–Tuxedo Clad Group nabbed in assault.
by Robin Kaminski
Boston — A dozen men clad in red tuxedoes from Lynn, Malden and Philadelphia were arrested early Saturday morning, accused of nearly beating a 22-year old man to death outside of 33 Restaurant in Boston.  ( ed. note: the next day their attire was described as “tuxudoes with red vests.”)



There is something chilling and surreal about the first incident. Red tuxedoes? Philadelphia? Granted this didn’t happen in Lynn, it’s not clear where the second incident happened (Lynn or Saugus) but the third one clearly happened within the city limits.

How many other days have you read the Item and seen 3 or more stories like this that weren’t just in the police blotter but had their own report? Too many. I can remember one summer weekend last year when multiple shootings took place in Lynn, one in the parking lot of city hall.

A month or so ago, an innocent family’s house and car on Sheridan Street got shot full of holes from 40 rounds of gunfire that erupted from a nearby house. How close is too close to the violence? Next door? Down the street? I discovered on a busride conversation to work that a fellow commuter who lives in my neighborhood knows that family. That’s as close as I got.

Violence recently paid a visit to the beach when 2 gang members shot at each other near the Ward Beachhouse.

The beach.

But I digress. The piece de resistance for yesterday’s edition of the Daily Item was a political ad on page A5. Under the title “Running Hard for Lynn” and next to a picture of Mayor Clancy running on the promenade by the beach, it says, “…Chip believes you have the right to safe neighborhoods, quality education for your children, economic opportunities, a cleaner City and healthy environment.”

Let me say I respect Chip, but I am undecided on how I will vote this November. I don’t agree with all the mayor’s stances, but he has stepped up when no one else would to run the city. According to the same ad, “he has passed 8 balanced budgets and increased the City’s bond rating while dealing with the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.” I do not disbelieve this claim or wish to diminish his accomplishments. I can’t blame all the city’s woes on Mayor Clancy.

But I wonder. Where is Chip when 3 homicides take place in his city in one weekend, one in his own backyard? I would like to hear him come out and publicly say “I won’t stand for this!” My sense is that he keeps his mouth shut and allows the police department’s work to speak for itself. Still, it would be comforting to hear his outrage on the violence that plagues Lynn.

Sorry. Reading yesterday’s edition of the Lynn Item just touched me in a funny way.

Posted in: neighborhood