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Kevin Cullen

Boston teen foretold his own death

By Kevin Cullen
Globe Columnist / October 2, 2011

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Jaivon Blake was a 16-year-old eighth-grader. But he was smarter than that sounds. Maybe clairvoyant. He knew he wasn’t going to make it. He knew he would die before his time, and he wrote a poem predicting just that.

I send out my farewell to all my haters

You can no longer hate no more

Now I’m gone

One of those haters rode up to Blake and his friend as they walked to a store on Geneva Avenue in Dorchester to get some snacks. The hater was on a bicycle, and he pulled a gun from his waistband and shot Blake and his friend until the gun clicked and it was empty.

Then he pedaled away.

This was last Sunday afternoon. Blake’s blood pooled around him on one of the most beautiful days of the year, as people nearby and all around town sat on their porches, watching the world go by, or on their couches, watching the Patriots game on TV.

Blake fell dead in a triangle of death, a few blocks that are as dangerous as any in Boston. It is saturated by police but no show of force can prevent the lethal cynicism of someone who would shoot a 16-year-old and 14-year-old in cold blood on a hot day.

Patrolman Pat Flaherty was on a bicycle, too, and it is very possible that the killer on a bike watched Flaherty disappear around a corner before he made his move. Flaherty doubled back on hearing the shots and he put compression on the 14-year-old’s wounds, probably saving the boy’s life. Officer Stephanie O’Sullivan was in a cruiser, two blocks away, when she heard the shots and she, too, was soon on the ground, doing CPR on Jaivon, in what would be a futile attempt to save his life. Flaherty and O’Sullivan are rookies and this is not the last time they will do something like this.

You would think the execution of Blake, in the middle of a sunny Sunday afternoon, might have provoked some community-wide introspection. We live in a town where we have spent the better part of a week wringing our hands over the failings of millionaire baseball players while children are gunned down 15 minutes from Fenway Park and most Bostonians seem barely to notice. We act as if our opinion on a baseball team matters and is of some huge, cosmic importance and yet when boys are murdered in broad daylight in Dorchester, we act as if there’s nothing to say, nothing to do, nothing that can change any of it, as if this is what happens and will always happen in neighborhoods like that.

The Rev. Jack Ahern, the priest who will preside over Blake’s memorial service, was struck by all this. He marveled at the attention paid to a mishap involving Red Sox owner John Henry on his yacht.

“John Henry falling on his boat got more attention than two kids getting shot in the street in the middle of the afternoon,’’ he said.

On Friday, Father Jack met with Blake’s mother to talk about the service for her son. She handed the priest the poem Jaivon had written, foretelling his own demise. It is called “Thoughts of a Mine.’’

“I couldn’t read it all the way through at first,’’ Father Jack said. “I was so overwhelmed. The idea that a 16-year-old boy could sit there and write this, and seem to know that he was going to die violently. And then to have this vision of a kid riding away on a bicycle after shooting two other kids.’’

The cops say Blake was not on their radar screen. He wasn’t in a gang. He didn’t have a record. He didn’t go out of his way looking for trouble.

Neither would he back down from someone who tried to intimidate him or hurt him, and in the end that might be what this was all about.

“Can you imagine if this happened in Milton, or Brookline, or any other place where this is not supposed to happen?’’ Father Jack asked.

The National Guard would be on the street. Politicians would be falling over themselves. The TV stations would do live shots.

But this happened in Dorchester, along the mile of death that runs from Bowdoin Street down to Geneva Ave, and because of this the murder of children is regarded with far less concern and attention than the exploits of people paid millions to play children’s games.

They will dispatch Blake from this world on Wednesday, at St. Peter’s Church on Bowdoin Street in Meetinghouse Hill.

Father Jack and the great Doc Conway, a priest who works with the poorest kids in the city, and the Rev. Gene Rivers, a minister who has seen far too many young black men die in his time, will preside over a nondenominational service.

Maybe one of them will read Jaivon’s poem.

Maybe the rest of us should memorize it.

Now I’m gone but where will I go

Up in the sky or just hit a down fall. . .

I say what’s on

My mine at this point in my life and (mine) could be cut short any time

So before I go let me say bye.

Kevin Cullen is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at cullen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GlobeCullen.