why it matters
i wonder what the commenters might have to say about the photograph of the ambulance on middle street at 2am last night, and the comment contributed to that post suggesting it was at the scene of a severe beating delivered to a patron leaving one of the downtown bars? (we don't have professional journalism upon which to rely in the absence of rob mills, which is both an expression of sincere appreciation for all rob contributes to this community, as well as an indictment of the local paper that it doesn't bother to fill the void in his absence--we'd all be reading it if someone would be writing it).
bob tugbiyele volunteered a compelling presentation about the "broken windows" theory of neighborhood management and policing at a recent downtown neighborhood association meeting, and you can consider my posts here an homage to the sentiment. no, a glass of unfinished bar booze standing in the street the next morning is not a big deal in and of itself, but it speaks to several troubling possibilities that i find unacceptable: first of all, it's the responsibility of the bars to make sure patrons are not leaving with open containers of alcohol, and they are CLEARLY not doing that. (license commissioners are invited to offer opinions either here or in their meetings on the subject, and to propose sanctions for violations, if they have the balls to actually do their jobs, which, to this point, it is my completely biased and personal opinion that they are not). second of all, it's obvious that the police are doing what they can to respond to direct incidents of violence, like fights in the street and/or in the bars themselves, but unless and until everyone else down here refuses to look the other way while it is happening, the police alone are not going to be capable of being everywhere at all times. it's up to us to have the downtown we want.
a commenter here previously suggested a prior incident indicates gang presence based on the victim of a stab wound refusing to let on about how, where and by whom it was delivered. it's possible that's similar to the case of the beating last night, or it's possible that you or i could just as well have been the victim--who is to say. i say i am not willing to accept that anyone is being beaten or stabbed or even threatened as a result of choosing to patronize any of the establishments in downtown lowell. it's been further suggested that talking about it is why other people might choose not to buy or rent living accommodations down here, but i'm quite convinced that anyone not choosing to live down here as a result of someone being honest enough to talk about it is exactly the kind of person we wouldn't want down here anyway.
it's urban and it's mixed-use down here--which means noisy and dirty and congested at the best of times, and dangerous, dirty and empty at the worst. i'm voting in favor of noisy, clean(er), busy and safe. i think that is something that can work for everyone. now it's up to us.