The headlines on the Boston Herald today are astoundingly ominous, and it’s not apparent the tone is intended by either the police or newspaper.
Now, keep in mind that a 21-year-old college student was killed last week when police fired a pepper spray cartridge into a (literally) riotously happy crowd of Red Sox fans.
“Hooligans on notice,” the Herald front says. “COPS: DON’T MESS WITH US.”
Right. Because we’ll kill you.
The immense headline refers to a story inside, which itself bears the headline:
“Cops: Don’t even think about rioting.”
Because we’ll kill you.
Lest readers think I’m being insensitive to Boston’s finest, who must be all torn up inside over the death of a pretty young thing with her whole life ahead of her, check out what “one source” said for quoting in the Herald:
“We’re not going to stand back this time. Once they start acting up, we’re going to go in and take them out ... our response is going to be swift and sudden. Any bad behavior will simply not be tolerated.”
What kind of police force does Boston have that policy such as this is given at all — and then given anonymously instead of addressed directly by a named official? Yet other anonymous sources claim the officers responsible for Victoria Snelgrove’s death truly are distraught, even “devastated.” To any other police department, this could be the time to speak responsibly on the dangers of letting good cheer over a winning team get out of hand, or about the wisdom of dispersing when warned by police, because the consequences can be fatal.
But not in Boston. Here anonymous threats stand in for responsible policy-making. A woman is dead. And the youth have been warned.