Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Dorchester, Killing High Housing Costs has set up a Google Map that pin-points all the homicides that have taken place in Boston thus far in 2008. The pins are appropriately blood-red, and though I am not certain about this, I'm fairly sure that the viewer has the ability to zoom all the way into these points and see the grizzly murder scene and the corpse at street level.

Below the interactive map, the viewer will see the complete list of homicides, and the discerning individual will notice that the city of Dorchester accounts for over half of the homicides to date with 12, notable since the next city with the highest tally is Roxbury, with a paltry 3. Some of you may view this in abject horror. But residents of Dorchester take a different stance on the alarming statistics plaguing their fine city: it's all good in the hood.

First, a bit of context. Dorchester, historically, is a city of firsts. The very first public elementary school in America, the Mather School, was established in Dorchester in 1639 and still stands today as a testament to their stalwart dedication to education. Of course, I probably need not delve into the quality of the public education system we have in Massachusetts, so this tidbit clearly speaks for itself and for the residents of Dorchester. Furthermore, the Walter Baker Chocolate Factory, the first chocolate factory in America, was built in Dorchester in 1765. And maybe most impressive, the first community health center in America, the Columbia Point Health Center, was birthed in Dorchester in 1965.

So what does this all point to? Well, you have education, health care, and chocolate, which are obviously the 3 main features a family looks for when it plans to settle down in a chosen city. Those three things alone are enough to sway people to do just about anything, and the 3 things that ultimately make the world go round. It is then no wonder that Dorchester is the hot-spot in Boston to buy a home and so attractive to the populace. This means that housing, especially in a down market, will be going like hot-cakes in D-town, and coupled with the weak dollar, makes for nearly untenable cost-of-living situations that the residents can't stand for, even while having their tempers tempered with delicious, delicious chocolate.

And so, what does an educated town do? You guessed it: homicide. Much like in the short story "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson, a select few are chosen to sacrifice themselves (perhaps unwittingly) to combat the tide of rising housing costs. A homicide here and there sprinkled throughout the year will tend to keep undiscerning families away, keep costs down, and generally provide a sense of security for the residents of Dorchester knowing that they won't have to live in fear of their lives being taken over by an influx of bad economy and new faces. Rather, they merely have to live with the relatively mild fear of being killed as an example of the city's core values. Also, don't forget the excellent health care. The map doesn't show the vast number of citizen-examples there were close to death.

Yes, Dorchester is a city of firsts. It only makes sense that they would look to their saving grace as being murder in the first degree.


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