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Advocate

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Horror in Winthrop

  As a former police officer with 28 years on the job, I have seen America improving over my lifetime, but we seem to be less and less shocked by acts of unexplainable violence which many times have racial components attached.

  What happened on Saturday, June 26 should have never happened in Winthrop or any other community. I agree with the commentary very much. America in general and Boston, in particular, have had a complicated history when it comes to race.

  However, while many residential neighborhoods around us still exhibit high levels of segregation, there are other parts of the city of Boston which have grown leaps and bounds and hardly resemble the Boston of 1974 when racial tensions spilled over into the streets over a federal court order that divided up kids in neighborhoods like multicolored jelly beans in a jar. The federal judge in this case even stated his job wasn’t to improve the equality and quality of what was being taught in the school system nearly 50 years ago – his job was demographics of who sat next to who in the classroom.

  As a result, instead of folks holding our elected officials accountable, folks turned on each other. Boston residents of all colors and shades saw each group as the other’s enemy when the real architects of racial unrest were never held accountable.

  As someone who grew up in lower Roxbury/South End in the ’50s and ’60s, we seemed not divided from each other. Most of us were working-class families struggling along, trying to raise families and trying to make the futures of their children better than theirs. As a child of that era, I had all kinds of friends and their color was secondary. The bind that held us together wasn’t race but geography.

  I believe the problem with violence today is that too many in society, in government and especially in the news media have been very successful with the politics of division. I certainly believe that what just happened in Winthrop when victims were most likely selected by skin color does not define us from each other.

  We may never truly know what happened that day or why someone would do the things that were done by the culprit. Suffolk D.A. Rachel Rollins stated that the killer had hate in his heart. I believe the shooter had no heart but that hate seemingly must have been housed in his mind.

  We need to stop dividing and start uniting. Society is all of us together. Race, however, remembers a festering sore for all of us. We need to address the current climate in this country and start working one by one in improving life for all. We can’t wait for the government to act and we must trust ourselves. We can’t live in fear and call ourselves a free people. We are not as bad as many say but we are not as good as we need to be. That work continues.

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