some of my nightlife has been to attend downtown neighborhood association meetings and take in the presentations and discussions about our quality-of-life issues here, most notably related to crime but extending to other important topics like (my favorite) waste disposal and recycling.
most disturbing this week was to learn that disturbances outside of certain downtown establishments, most notably brian's ivy hall, have resulted in police officers being spat upon and doused with pepper spray by drunken and unruly crowd-members while effecting arrests. this is not to say that all such crowd members were over-served in one particular establishment, (though by proximity one could conclude the probability is highest), but the regional news of this past weekend of an attempted assault on civilian and once-celtic rajon rondo inside brian's ivy hall doesn't contradict a conclusion that there are some problems there. i will first pause to say that i very much like the proprietors of BIH, and have been treated always with respect and generosity by them both in their club and at the various downtown neighborhood meetings they have attended. i've also felt inclined to take their side against various ill-prepared complaints by neighbors who failed to use the proper channels to have their concerns about noise addressed. (i'm happy to say once proper channels were utilized, noise was mitigated, and that one aspect of the club's existence is not under contention at this time, at least of which i know). but this past incident, on top of the abuse of police officers, has me feeling less generous of spirit in return.
word is that rajon was an arrogant asshole in the club, and i have no one's word to the contrary. but two things are extremely troubling, and only one is the breach of peace that occurred in the club as a result of that alleged arrogant asshole behavior. the other is the publicity sought by the club to exploit the incident, bragging on how out of control things get there, and how many people are packed in having that (violent) good time. i happen to know the fire capacity of the club is 450, so when i see the owner bragging on having 700 people in the club on the night of the fracas, i'm tempted to wonder if something is not as it should be. even if the owner was exaggerating and no code violations occurred, it's still disappointing that it's chosen to publicize lowell's incivility by such a prominent public advertisement. the lawlessness by which police officers are put into highly volatile and dangerous situations is exacerbated by public perceptions of lawlessness. the club owners should know better. the club owners should behave better. at some point we are at risk of having a tragedy down here, and i, for one, am not interested to be any part of it. unfortunately, the police do not have the discretion to run from such trouble, and we all owe them a huge debt of gratitude that they're willing to risk their lives and limbs in this way. lets all respect that by building the impression that lawlessness will not stand down here, rather than the opposite.
which is a convenient segue to one of the presentations last night at the neighborhood meeting talking about the "broken windows" theory of policing, and how to generate a campaign to erect signs and enforce statutes on everything from littering to parking away from the curb or in front of hydrants, handicapped signs and crosswalks, to (this one's gonna hurt me) jaywalking and ABSOLUTELY assaults on police officers. this anarchy cannot be allowed to stand. people are being assaulted, robbed and beaten down here. now it's extending to policemen just trying to keep everything enjoyable for everyone else.
time to stand up and be counted.