Last 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.
I 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.