Mark Wahlberg: The Way We Were

(1) savin HillLast Friday I wrote about Mark Wahlberg. I noted how a woman at the Harvard Divinity School, Judith Beals, was given a prominent public platform from which she spewed out half-truths if not outright lies opposing Wahlberg’s request for a pardon. I wondered when writing it what part of the Divine she is associated with. Being from a Catholic tradition myself I grew up with the idea of forgiveness and being pardoned for my sins. She apparently is from the school far removed from those who pray the Lord’s Prayer preferring that Wahlberg go through life with a mark of Cain of as another Hester Prynne never able to erase the folly of his youth.

That is a particularly egregious aspect of her opposition to Walhberg’s request . He did not commit the act as an adult but as one captured in his teenage age years where foolish judgments are common. Abetting his puerile thoughts and behavior was his involvement in illegal drugs like marijuana and cocaine, substances further impairing the ability of a kid to act as a responsible adult.

(1) savin hill 3I mentioned that juvenile misbehavior was treated differently than that of adults. If it is decided a juvenile committed a crime he is not found guilt, he is found delinquent.  Traditionally we separate the acts of youngsters from those who are supposedly mature. Ms Beals callously uses Wahlberg’s actions as a 15-year-old to triumph her command that he never be forgiven. Surely, MS Beals has no idea what it is to grow up in gangs and on the streets.

Wahlberg’s actions were his taunting and throwing rocks at a group of black school children on two days in June at Savin Hill Beach. They are outrageous actions which were responded to by the attorneys working in the Civil Rights division of Attorney General Francis X Bellotti’s office. One boy, who I assume is Wahlberg, was sued civilly. An injunction issued against him ordering him not to do the acts again and to stay away from the school the children attended.

There does not appear to have been anyone injured as a result of his thoughtless actions. No criminal action followed. The main Boston newspaper failed to report the Savin Hill incident at the time it occurred.

Take away the drugs for I did not grow up in the drug culture and perhaps there go I. It is easy to see myself in Walhberg’s shoes. I spent my teenage summers at Savin Hill beach. As young boys we did many thoughtless things hanging around there. Fights were common in the pecking order of the peer system especially if outsiders who we didn’t know intruded on our grounds. The beach was our neighborhood (or as today would have it  “hood”). Strangers were not welcome.

I don’t recall there being any incidents with African-Americans. I don’t recall any African-Americans coming to the beach. Of course my time was before the federal court decided that the poor urban kids had to be bused around to achieve racial balance in the public schools while the lily-white suburbs remained unaffected. Had African-American kids come to the beach, who knows what we would have done for we weren’t too bright when it came to tolerating differences especially when collected in our gang and sometimes the worst of us seemed to carry the day.

It was beyond fights though that young inner-city tough boys with time hanging heavily on their hands found themselves involved in. We constantly tried to impress the other one or come up with harebrained schemes. I shiver now thinking of them. I am too embarrassed to mention some we did which thankfully we were never caught doing.  Thank God, no one was injured as a result of these shenanigans. Having mentioned blowing up the PT boat that was moored a strong swim away on the Freeport Street of the inlet you can get an idea of our rowdiness.

I forget the details of their penance now but those directly involved in blowing up the boat went to confession and were forgiven. As for the other matters, it was left to the individual to decide what option he would follow. But having done them and sought forgiveness like the addict we found ourselves enmeshed back in them.

Wahlberg was young and stupid and did violent things like others of us. Most of us having not been caught in our juvenile indiscretions grew up. We stayed out of trouble and lived fairly productive lives serving our country, state, community and family.

Wahlberg has achieved great fame in his life. This should not be held against him. As an adult he is a good and charitable man. He has done much helping others not as fortunate as himself for which he should be commended. Wahlberg is an example that should be held up to all to show dumb acts as a juvenile will be forgiven and washed away if you live a good life and give back to the community.

 

10 thoughts on “Mark Wahlberg: The Way We Were

  1. Matt,

    On a separate issue, the case of Mark Rosetti, have you heard about the case described in the youtube video below, in which Michael Romano Sr. is suing the FBI? Apparently, Mark Rosetti sent his right-hand man David Clark to kill Romano’s son (and a police officer) in 1994, and this happened while Rosetti was an FBI informant. Romano Sr. tried to take matters into his own hands and go after Rosetti and Clark. He is serving 21 years right now. It’s not entirely clear to me from the video if that sentence is related to going after Rosetti/Clark, but the video does state that the FBI charged him with going after Rosetti/Clark.

  2. Looks like the case I referred to is related to this incident:

    ” In August 1994, Romano was arrested with Ponzo after Boston police watched Ponzo hand a bag of cocaine to someone. In the pursuit that followed, Romano was seen tossing away another bag. Friends and family were shocked by the arrest. Two weeks later, on the night he was murdered, Romano was in Ponzo’s car along with Ralph Puleo when the trio discovered they had a flat tire. Romano volunteered to change it and the other two men walked to the nearby Stadium Café, operated by Robert Cirame, to wait.

    As Romano was changing the tire a man walked up to the automobile and began kicking the tires. When Romano inquired as to what he was doing, the man pulled out an automatic, pressed it to Romano’s cheek, and pulled the trigger.

    In a tragic twist to the night’s event, six hours after Romano’s murder, State Police Trooper Mark Charbonnier made a routine stop of a van driven by a paroled killer only to get into a deadly shootout. Law enforcement officials believe that David Clark, a mob associate connected to Salemme, was on his way home after shooting Romano. While Charbonnier was speaking with him, Clark pulled a gun and began firing. One slug hit the trooper in the stomach just below his bulletproof vest. Life-flighted to Beth Israel Hospital, Charbonnier died on the operating table. Before he went down, Charbonnier was able to get off a few shots of his own wounding Clark in the left arm and head. Clark was rushed to Massachusetts General in critical condition, but would survive. ”

    http://www.americanmafia.com/Allan_May_9-11-00.html

  3. Should have included one other paragraph. Here’s the full excerpt:

    “In a tragic case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, Michael P. Romano, Jr. was killed on September 2, 1994. The twenty-year-old Romano had been an outstanding hockey player at Wakefield High School. Married to a schoolteacher, Romano had a young daughter and another child on the way. Believed to be in some financial straits, Romano got involved with Enrico M. “Rico” Ponzo, a mob wanna-be and local drug pusher. Ponzo also had a reputation of pushing guns to those in need. He first came to the attention of law enforcement in 1986 when he allegedly supplied the guns that took the lives of two young men in a brutal killing in a park in the North End section of Boston.

    In August 1994, Romano was arrested with Ponzo after Boston police watched Ponzo hand a bag of cocaine to someone. In the pursuit that followed, Romano was seen tossing away another bag. Friends and family were shocked by the arrest. Two weeks later, on the night he was murdered, Romano was in Ponzo’s car along with Ralph Puleo when the trio discovered they had a flat tire. Romano volunteered to change it and the other two men walked to the nearby Stadium Café, operated by Robert Cirame, to wait.

    As Romano was changing the tire a man walked up to the automobile and began kicking the tires. When Romano inquired as to what he was doing, the man pulled out an automatic, pressed it to Romano’s cheek, and pulled the trigger.

    In a tragic twist to the night’s event, six hours after Romano’s murder, State Police Trooper Mark Charbonnier made a routine stop of a van driven by a paroled killer only to get into a deadly shootout. Law enforcement officials believe that David Clark, a mob associate connected to Salemme, was on his way home after shooting Romano. While Charbonnier was speaking with him, Clark pulled a gun and began firing. One slug hit the trooper in the stomach just below his bulletproof vest. Life-flighted to Beth Israel Hospital, Charbonnier died on the operating table. Before he went down, Charbonnier was able to get off a few shots of his own wounding Clark in the left arm and head. Clark was rushed to Massachusetts General in critical condition, but would survive.”

  4. Matt, you are 100% correct: This Harvard Divinity School professor has zero notion of what it was like to be teenager in Dorchester. She has no conception of how many good kids in gangs (groups) did impulsive, wild, crazy, wrongful and harmful things. She is your typical Ivy League pinched faced liberal: holier than thou, better than us, wiser than us rabble from city streets. She, without sin, casts stones at a man for what he did as a fifteen year old boy. No doubt, some of her Harvard and Globe colleagues applaud her stone throwing. Has Harvard deleted the ethics/morality classes on forgiveness and the quality of mercy or has she simply elected to skip them? It’s ironic: an obscure aging fading female professor throws stones at a successful talented popular middle aged man because he once threw stones when he was a boy.

  5. All this discussion of “forgiveness’ comes back to a problem with a Federal law and the law of several states. Despite the right to keep and bear arms being an enumerated right in the Bill of Rights, these Federal and state laws deny the right to keep and bear arms to convicted felons, even those with successful acting careers or as singers in boy-bands. States such as the Commonwealth of Massachusetts take it a step further, allowing Chiefs of Police to deny the right to keep and bear arms based on whether they consider someone “suitable”, convicted felon or not, with the definition of who is “suitable” left to the Chiefs of Police. Prop firearms in movies and television are usually real firearms firing blanks. Mark Wahlberg is prohibited from holding a firearm in his hands, and those that hand him the firearm can also be prosecuted for providing a convicted felon a firearm. Now that Mark Wahlberg’s criminal record is more well known, there can be no excuse by those in the industry that they did not know of his criminal record. This limits the roles and the locations that Mark Wahlberg can work. Do you really think that Mark Wahlberg is seeking a pardon so that he can vote and serve on a jury?

    There are those who believe that once you are convicted, serve your sentence, are no longer in government custody, and return to your community, then all your civil rights should be restored – the right to vote, the right to serve on a jury and the right to keep and bear arms so that you may defend yourself and your family. In other words, this is forgiveness. Free men can defend themselves. Slaves can not. Mark Wahlberg does not want to be a slave.

    http://www.keepandbeararms.org/information/XcIBViewItem.asp?ID=2360

    1. Ed:

      Good post. I’ve wondered why he was seeking the pardon and the grief that goes with trying to get one. I don’t think it is because he want to fire a gun (as I understand it if the firing pin is not in a weapon it is not considered a weapon) but I’d guess the guy is interested in going into politics and there may be some places felons are prohibited from holding office. There is a good argument to make that once the sentence is served all the rights should be restored but as we’ve seen in the sexual offender area those people tend to repeat their actions. I’d suggest once you commit any type of crime you’ve lost some of your rights as a free man: once you get involved so that the state has some control over your life you’ve diminished your freedom even if it only involves reporting to a probation officer. The best way to be truly free is to stay out of the government’s hands and the best way to do that is not to give it something to go after you for.

      1. A firearm without a firing pin is just that – a firearm without a firing pin, subject to the same transfer and possession laws as a firearm with a firing pin installed. Weapons converted to shoot blanks other than revolvers typically have some gas restriction device in the barrel so that the mechanism will still work with the blanks. A serious problem like the bullet encountering an obstructed barrel and what is colloquially known as a “Ka-Boom!” (“KB” for short) may occur if you fire a live round in such an adapted firearm, which is why prop masters keep such weapons under close control. The hot gas and debris from a blank fired in a blank firing weapon can blind or kill those too close to the end of the firearm’s barrel.

        Have you not seen the FBI and other agencies arrest several people recently in possession of inert explosives and weapons incapable of firing?

  6. I would not cast doubts on Mark Wahlberg’s sincerity nor on his charity. In 2001 he formally set up his Charitable Foundation for youth. He’s given millions to Dorchester-based youth organizations, including the Colonel Daniel Marr Boys & Girls Club in Savin Hill. It’s true he was a wild youth, too quick with his hands. So were 1,000s of his contemporaries from Dorchester. Bear in mind, the crimes of assault and battery he was prosecuted for and convicted of occurred when he was 16. His “civil rights offense” for throwing stones at other youngsters occurred when he was 15. It seems he had fist fights, threw punches, exchanged hands (charges were dropped on one assault charge) until perhaps his early 20s. Who hasn’t? In Dorchester, most physically fit scrappy youngsters and young men have engaged in spontaneous hand to hand struggles. The occasional fisticuffs, brawl, donnybrook, free for all, scuffle, scrum, rumble was par for the course. Few grew up unscathed. Everyone was testy and tested. Most were ready, willing and able. As Jimmy Costello said to an adversary who was about to take an offensive stances, “Don’t put ’em up unless you know how to use them.” Most of the lads knew how. Black eyes, bloody noses, split lips, scraped knuckles and knees, bumps and bruises were a walk in the park? It seemed at half the parties, dances, City league, YMCA or CYO football, basketball, or hockey games, the lads on the sidelines would be polishing up their skills, their moves, their shots at the Golden Gloves. In the barrooms and clubs, local and downtown, scuffles were part of the scene. That’s why they had bouncers. That’s the fact, Jack. Mark Wahlberg is asking for a pardon for a crime he committed at sixteen years of age, as a juvenile. Granting it will send a powerful message to young people: you can turn your life around. You can hang up the gloves. You too can decline an invitation to dance. You can reverse course, recognize your wrongs, make amends and recover. Society too should recognize communities and families get stronger when youthful transgressions are forgiven and men and women are accepted for the kind of persons they have become and not for “the way they were.” Let’s move on. Focus on the present and future. Remember the good men do, and let the wrongs be interred with their bones. Even federal judges and federal prosecutors and other old fogies, sometimes fly off the handle, err egregiously, lash out at innocent victims, and do far worse than split someone’s lips, and society should pardon them too if they’ve righteously repented and reformed. You know it takes a lot of humble pie to do what Mark Wahlburg has done. Wouldn’t you like to see some judges, lawyers, academics and reporters humbly ask society for a pardon?
    Anyway . . . . to get the rest of the story on Mark Wahlberg read this from Bill Forrey of the Dorchester Reporter:http://www.dotnews.com/2014/wahlberg-begs-our-pardon-appeal-relies-good-he-does-dot

  7. Hi Matt,
    Wahlberg’s petition for a pardon suggests that there were two separate legal actions in 1988: He was found guilty of assaulting the Vietnamese men by a judge in Dorchester District Court and sentenced to two years in jail, with the sentence to be suspended after 90 days. Separately, in Suffolk Superior Court, Wahlberg was found guilty of two counts of criminal contempt for violating the 1986 injunction obtained by then-Assistant Attorney Gen. Joan Entmacher, the chief of Frank Bellotti’s Civil Rights Division. As previously noted, that was the case involving Wahlberg’s role in the stoning of the black children at Savin Hill beach. The judge ruled that the sentences should run concurrently, so Wahlberg was back on the streets after 45 days in Deer Island.

    So I gather that Beals’ claim to fame stems her role in the 1988 contempt case. It would be useful if she would clarify exactly what she did do, since her opinion piece creates the impression she was involved in all facets of the case. And since she’s strongly opposed to a pardon for Wahlberg’s hate crimes, I can’t help wondering what Beals made of the fact that he was given a sentence that would free him from prison after only 45 days in jail. Did she think the sentence too lenient? And if so, did she protest to the judge, or at least to her superiors? Inquiring minds want to know.

    1. Dan:

      Thanks for the good information. I did not know about the contempt finding. Perhaps you are right that she did have some input into contempt case but even then in 1988 she was still a rookie lawyer so it would have been minimal. There are a lot of questions that remain open but I wouldn’t trust Beals to give the right answer because of the way she obfuscated the matter in her op-ed.

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