Only in Massachusetts…

Saturdays are supposed to be slow news days. It must be a full moon, though, because I find myself with a full slate of Massachusetts lunacy.

First up, in the “too ironic to be fake” category, the Boston Globe has the story of Margaret “Meg” Sanders, 23. She was a tireless activist for numerous causes. She lost her parents to AIDS when she was very young, and worked on AIDS awareness, domestic violence, and other social causes. She was so devoted to those that she didn’t even have a driver’s license — she rode her bike whenever she could.

And she was on that bike when she was run over and killed by an armored car the other day.

Next, we have an artist, named Barry Moser. Barry’s made quite a tidy living out of doing religious illustrations the past few years. In fact, recently he became the only artist to illustrate both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible and publish them. He’s also illustrated a book of religious poetry written by a friend of his.

It’s quite a record of achievement. Especially for a professed agnostic.

On the other hand, we have the story of a World War II veteran who waited over 60 years to collect his Purple Heart. Charles W. Pearl was a gunner on a B-17 when a piece of flak sliced his forehead open. He declined to report the injury at the time, though, because he was afraid he might be separated from his buddies. Instead he used a septic pen on it, then bandaged it up himself. At a reunion, enough of his buddies were still alive to corroborate his story, so he was finally awarded the long-overdue Purple Heart.

What really makes this story stand out is that Pearl is a constituent of John Kerry’s…

Finally, we have a followup to a story I touched on last week. In Newton, Massachusetts, a suburb due west of Boston, the firefighters are very unhappy with some budget cuts. They held a “picket” last week where they repeatedly cut into the street, deliberately tying up traffic and, at one point, causing one of the biggest traffic jams north of Houston. (Or maybe New York City, but I’m trying to be relevant here.) Meanwhile, police stood by and watched as their union brothers violated the law and inconvenienced literally tens of thousands of people.

I thought it was stupid then, and I think it was stupid now. All they managed to do was to alienate and anger hordes of people — people who very well might have been sympathetic to their cause, had the firefighters gotten their attention in some other way.

Among those less than impressed with the conduct of the Newton Public Safety officials was Governor Mitt Romney. He announced that if anything like that happens again, the local police better do their jobs and keep the streets clear. And if they don’t, he’ll send in state police to deal with it.

Color the firefighters unimpressed.

The head of Newton firefighters’ union scoffed at the governor’s threat of calling in the state police if the protesting jakes ever tie up traffic during rush hour again.

He added they might even stage another commute-busting picket again.

“Nothing is ever going to be taken off the table,” union head Fran Capello vowed yesterday. “Would we do it again? Who knows?”

According to the report, the firefighters have been without a contract for two years. That’s certainly something worth getting worked up about, but I don’t see the cause-and-effect relationship here. Just how does pissing off thousands of people, even endangering some (I heard reports of a couple of rescue vehicles stuck in the jam the firefighters deliberately caused), many of whom don’t even live in Newton, help you get a more favorable contract?

I am really, really glad I live so close to Massachusetts. It gives me such a warm, fuzzy feeling every time I’m reminded of just how lucky I am to be on this side of that border.

(Update: Several people have tried to correct me, saying it was a “styptic pencil.” I think they’re probably right, but the original article clearly called it a “septic pen.”)

Stupid is as stupid does. II
Common Sense Prevails


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