Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Taunton, Massachusetts

What's not to Love?

Uneasy feeling on streets

TAUNTON - Jessica Corriera, 19, got so tired of being harassed when she took her baby out for walks that she got a license to carry pepper spray for protection.

Yes, she had to apply to the state for permission to protect her baby, wait for the application to be processed (which included a criminal background check and fingerprinting), and on top of that, pay $25 for the sacred privilege.

"I don't feel safe around here," Corriera said one recent morning as she walked her 5-month-old baby in a carriage to the store.

Nor should you, Jessica, knowing that the Commonwealth of Massachusettss cares more about getting their $25 than they do about allowing you to provide for the safety and well-being of your child. What are you trying to be? A responsible parent? There's no room for dangerous subversives like that here in the People's Republic.

"I got the pepper spray for our protection," said Corriera, who lives on Fourth Avenue near St. Jacques Church.

I just hope she's equally prepared to defend yourself in a court of law should she ever have to use it.

You're honor, I would submit to the court that it is an integral part of my client's cultural heritage to approach strange women on the street, grab his crotch, and bestow such complimentary remarks as, "Yo, Chiquita! You want some of dis? Back dat ass up and gimme some!"

Subsequent to my client practicing his constitutionally-protected right to cultural expression, the defendant violated said civil rights by ruthlessly assaulting him with pepper spray. Her subsequent screaming has left my client with deep emotional scarring that will now haunt him for the remainder of his days.

"I go for walks with my son on these streets all the time and there's always punks and weirdoes hanging around."

Now, what exactly could she be referring to? I mean, come on, it's not like the Bristol County prosecutor's office just lets admitted child molesters roam the streets at will.

Oh, wait...never mind.

OK, so maybe they let one sex offender go free. At least they're keeping all the other criminal scumbags locked up, right?

Well...not exactly.

Matt Mello, 22, also of Fourth Avenue, says he doesn't "feel safe at all on my street."

"The police are on my street every week, sometimes twice a week. There's a few houses where there's always trouble and drugs," he said. "They harass me and they even harass my father."

You mean the special crime-fighting street lights and anti-crime fences they installed a while back aren't getting the job done?


Kara Narciso said she does not feel safe taking her children for walks in the Oak Street area near the fire station.

"I don't want my son exposed to the stuff and the people I see around there," she said.

Again, what could these people possibly be talking about? Massachusetts is the proverbial "tough on crime" yardstick, to which all other states should be compared - or so our elected officials would like us to believe.

Do these people honestly think there are deranged lunatics walking the streets of Taunton who would bludgeon them to the edge of death with a hammer over a few dollars?

Can't say as I'd blame them for it.

Instead, she takes her children to Boyden Conservation Refuge on Cohannet Street, but even that area has been vandalized over the past year.

Narciso also takes her children to Hopewell Park, where on a recent morning she was playing baseball and running bases with her son Noah, 4.

"We like it here," she said as her 7-week-old son Elijah slept in his carriage. But...

Wait for it...wait for it.

"My husband is looking at property in New Hampshire."

The parents of a young child are looking to escape an environment of drugs, vandalism, and violent street crime by moving to a state where all you need to buy a scary-looking "assault rifle" is a driver's license and a clean record? How can that possibly make sense?

Senator Barrios? Representative Linsky? Toomey?


To paraphrase Sergeant Al Powell from Die Hard - you got yourself a good man there, Kara.