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The forgotten father figure PDF Print E-mail
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Written by CRISP Admin   

 

Father

I read with interest the December 11th South End News letter to the editor by Sal Giarratani, "Time for action, not words."

I too read the recently released Governor’s Anti-Crime Council Report. Both Mr. Giarratani and the report missed, or omitted, one very key aspect. This is that the vast majority of gang members and kids who commit street crimes and crime in general are raised without dads in the home.

We have gone from a nation in the 1960s, according to the CDC, where 9% of kids were raised with dads not in the home, to over 28%, a tripling, some 20 million kids today, without a dad in the home.

If we truly want to do something about gang violence and youth violence, it is time to reverse the crazy incentives that have thrown more and more fathers out of kids’ lives.

Here is what needs to be done, in my opinion.

  1. Pass Equal Shared Parenting legislation for fit parents and do it this legislative year.
  2. Reform the Massachusetts Family and Probate Courts and make it harder for a father to be relegated to a visitor. Fathers are not visitors, they are parents. Kids need their dads too.
  3. Reform Title IV (d) of the Federal Social Security Act and remove the perverse incentives that throw dads out of the house.
  4. Reform the Violence Against Women’s Act (VAWA) and make it gender neutral. Enforce due process laws. Make false accusations a crime.
  5. Reform the Crime Bill to enforce due process laws. Make sure mandatory arrest laws are applied equally to men and women.
  6. Do not hand out restraining orders without an evidentiary hearing. Remove the check box off the restraining order form for contact with children. Any restraining order that prevents contact with one’s children must go through, at a minimum, an evidentiary hearing, but even more important, a jury trial by your peers. It is harder to fire an employee in a large company than it is to remove a parent, especially a father, from a child’s life.

The bottom line: dads, fathers do matter. If we want to get to the root of gang and teen violence, we have to find a way to let a dad be a dad and be involved in his kids’ lives. Putting bandaids to the problem will never work. Having a dad in one’s life will.

Dr. Peter G. Hill

304 Columbus Avenue

A walk down memory lane

The other day while walking the streets of my old South End neighborhood that centered around Worcester Square, I remembered the way things were.

Back in the ’50s and ’60s this was a blue collar, working class neighborhood. Many residents worked right across Harrison Avenue at Boston City Hospital. The neighborhood was a United Nations. My old street was East Springfield St. where rents were cheap and children were plenty.

You could still buy fruit and vegetables from a peddler with his horse and wagon. People knew each other and actually liked each other.

We had an endless number of barrooms but very little trouble ever spilled over into the neighborhood.

In the summertime we would watch those part-time soldiers at the old National Guard armory march around neighborhood streets or count how many trucks were in an Army convoy.

Afterward, we would play "War" using our back alleys as the German countryside. Recently, the stick made it into the Toy Hall of Fame. We knew sticks were great pretend toys 50 years ago. It was, after all, never just a stick.

As we got a bit older and our hormones started acting up, we would go down to Franklin Square Park and peek up at the windows of women getting off the bus returning from Copley Square.

We tried to stay out of trouble and mostly did. I worked my way through college working behind the counter of the City Spin Cafeteria. Who could do that today with tuition bills?

The old armory where I watch the soldiers gather and count the Army trucks? Today, I work at the site, now the Fuller Mental Health Center. Now I wear a uniform and march all over the place.

The Immaculate Conception is gone as are my altar boy days. They tore down the old BCH Maternity Building, my birthplace.

The place has changed but things remain forever the same inside me with all those good memories.

Sal Giarratani

Roslindale

Some noise complaint reverb

I was curious to observe the aircraft behavior which Mr. Stewart ("A letter to the FAA," 12/11/08) described on Massport’s Flight Monitor (on the website), so I "played the tape" this morning for around 11 pm on December 8, and was surprised to find that I could not find the ComAir aircraft "circling around." It looked like ComAir (a regional jet) might have wanted to take off, but it didn’t.

Observation of the "tape" at distances of 20 to 40 miles showed that there were apparently two Federal Express DC10s which departed one right after the other, for the same destination, and with different flight numbers: 1017 and 1610. I wonder if this is what was experienced, since being so close together, they would certainly be very loud.

I sympathize with his fears, since loud aircraft noise at 11 pm is most unwelcome.

Nancy S. Timmerman, P.E. Consultant in Acoustics and Noise Control

25 Upton Street

 



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