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Front-Page News

This Week at MHC

Mount Holyoke College News and Events Vista The College Street Journal Archives

November 7 , 2003

Front-Page News

Lawless Enforcer Mount Holyoke criminologist Richard Moran reviewed the memoirs of Edward J. MacKenzie Jr., a brutal Boston gangster, in the October 26 Chicago Tribune and found it both gripping and horrifying: “In my 25 years of studying crime and criminals, I have never come across a book quite like Street Soldier: My Life As an Enforcer for Whitey Bulger and the Boston Irish Mob. One-third of the way through, I had to put it down, because I was so shaken by the depraved life and gruesome events that it openly describes,” Moran wrote.

“Even today, at 45 and more than 10 years into retirement as an enforcer for James ‘Whitey’ Bulger—the Irish gangster from South Boston who is second only to Osama bin Laden in terms of how much reward money the FBI is offering for his capture — MacKenzie still projects the image of a dangerous man. A self-described violent predator, he is quick to remark that he feels no remorse for the damage he has inflicted on others.”

In fact, Moran has more than read the book. He knows MacKenzie and has had him share his experiences with a class at the College.

“‘I have never lost a night’s sleep,’ [MacKenzie] said at one of my classes’ seminars at Mt. Holyoke College,’” according to Moran’s review. “‘I did what I had to do to survive. Like a lion, I was a predator, and the streets of Southie was my Serengeti. Does a lion feel remorse when he returns to the pride after a kill?’ He answered his own question. ‘Of course not. He feels good. His belly is full, and his predatory instinct has been satisfied.’”

On another subject, Moran was quoted in an October 27 piece, also in the Chicago Tribune, regarding findings that police and prosecutors are, for a variety of reasons, often unable to identify new suspects for serious crimes after a suspect had been tried and found not guilty or set free as a result of appeal.

“Prosecutors and police can become so wedded to initial theories of how a crime occurred that it can be difficult, they acknowledge, to start anew when an inmate is set free,” the Tribune noted. “‘For prosecutors and police, these cases are more to them than just having made a mistake or a mistake was made,’ said Richard Moran, a professor of sociology and criminology at Mount Holyoke College. “‘They have gone to court and argued these people are guilty. They need a full emotional commitment to that position, otherwise how can they prosecute them and send them to prison? That is difficult to change.’”

The Big Picture Anthony Lee, associate professor of art, discussed the work of Diane Arbus on Forum, a program of National Public Radio member station WQED in San Francisco. Lee, cocurator of Diane Arbus: Family Albums, now on display at the Art Museum, was joined by Sandra Phillips, senior curator of photography at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and Vicki Goldberg, a photography writer whose article on Diane Arbus appears in this month’s Vanity Fair. The one-hour radio program, which aired on October 24, was timed to coincide with the opening of the Diane Arbus Revelations exhibition at SFMOMA. also reported on the San Francisco and Mount Holyoke Arbus exhibitions in an October 28 article titled “Diane Arbus’ Strange Faces and Places.”

Taking Her Lead MHC’s third annual Take the Lead conference attracted 38 high school juniors from across the United States this fall. Among them was Kara Schnabel of Barrington, Rhode Island, who was profiled in the October 28 edition of the Providence Journal. In “What This Girl Wants Is a Way to Make a Difference,” reporter Jessica Ullian wrote about Schnabel’s experience during Take the Lead, and how the skills she learned will help her work toward her goal of creating an “armchair travel” club for elderly residents of her town. “The conference, now in its fourth year, is a four-day workshop in which teenage girls are asked to come in with an idea about how to change their worlds, and leave with a plan to do so,” the story read. Patricia VandenBerg, MHC’s executive director of communications and strategic initiatives and the founder of Take the Lead, told Ullian, “It’s a very exciting program. We get these high-achieving young women who really have a desire to make a difference in the world, and we are able to help them do that.”

Ballot Measures When offered up to six choices from a field of 14 candidates, how can a voter best maximize her vote? Douglas Amy, professor of politics and an authority on voting systems, helped the Daily Camera of Boulder, Colorado, answer that question for its readers in light of an impending City Council election. In “Vote Once—or Six Times,” Amy explained that the more candidates a voter picks, the less weighty the voter’s support for any one of them becomes. “If a voter agrees with the viewpoint of Boulder’s political majority—socially progressive, slow-growth and environmentally concerned—voting for six like-minded candidates would make sense,” wrote staff writer Greg Avery, quoting Amy. “But, for someone who dislikes the status quo, Amy recommends voting for only one or two candidates who promise to change things. Forgoing four or five votes may not feel empowering to a voter, Amy said, but it will make it more likely that at least one member of the council is someone that voter supports.”


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