Whitey is not so special
My pal Dan and his wife, the beautiful Cari, were visiting from Florida the other day, and we had lunch, al fresco, at the Daily Catch, in the federal courthouse.
Which, by the way, is the most aesthetically pleasing courthouse in the country, hard by the inner harbor, which itself is gorgeous.
Like the courthouse, and my pal Cari, Boston Harbor’s beauty is taken for granted. The other day there was a tall ship docked next to our table, and some city kids clambered off it, their smiling faces suggesting they just had an experience they would never forget.
There were fireboats spraying water into the air, shepherding a group of swimmers, their bright head caps bobbing, toward Rowe’s Wharf.
Suddenly, this sweet summer scene was rudely interrupted by a motorcade of black SUVs, their windows darkened, sirens blaring. They hung a left at the Barking Crab then sped toward the Expressway.
“What’s that?” Dan asked, raising his voice to be heard over the cacophony.
That’s Whitey, I told him. “They drive him to and from Plymouth like that every day,” I added.
Maybe it is because they have an outsider’s perspective, but Dan and Cari looked at each other, then looked at me and asked, “Is that really necessary?”
It’s a good question.
This is not meant to be a criticism of U.S. Marshal Jack Gibbons and his guys, because they are the best and are just following orders. The question is about the necessity of those orders. And others.
Is some Philip Seymour Hoffman-like villain from the “Mission Impossible” movies lurking down the street at Louis, pretending to covet ridiculously priced suits while waiting to spring Whitey by firing surface-to-air missiles at the SUVs?
The only people who care about Whitey are his family, and even then only his brother Jack has bothered to turn up at the courthouse every day. Whitey turns 84 in September. Not exactly a flight risk.
Does Whitey really need to be housed in a special unit in Plymouth? Why not let him bunk with detainees from Dorchester and Roxbury and his native Southie at the closest jail on Nashua Street?
It would save a lot on gas.
It would also divest Whitey of the sneaking suspicion that he is special. Because he’s not. He’s a thug with a good vocabulary.
Six weeks into his trial, I’m wondering why they didn’t just charge him with the 30 guns they took out of his wall in Santa Monica. That would have been a two-day trial, after which he would have been introduced to his cellmates at San Quentin.
“Mr. Bulger,” the guard would say, “this is Mr. Smith from the Crips. This is Mr. Blake from the Bloods. Oh, and this is Mr. Hernandez from the Latin Kings. Enjoy your stay.”
Instead, we have this multimillion-dollar fiasco, in which taxpayers suffer the indignity of paying for the defense of a preening serial killer who has stashed millions all over the place that the government can’t find.
It has been an article of faith that this epic trial was necessary for victims to have closure. But I don’t see that happening. The Donahue family is no closer to learning for sure who that second man in that back seat was who murdered Michael Donahue.
Instead, they and other families have been subjected to an endless procession of thugs, murderers, and drug pushers cutting deals and walking free, as long as they point the finger at Whitey.
And Whitey gets to sit there, pompous and self-important, swearing at witnesses who dare to tell the truth and swear under oath that he was a rat, an informer, a killer of women. His wildly inflated view of himself as someone special is reaffirmed every day by the screaming cavalcade that brings him to and from the courthouse named for Joe Moakley, his old neighbor from the projects in Southie.
Kevin Cullen is a columnist for The Boston Globe.