An insult to the slain
It is sad to think how many trees died last week in order to bring you the earth-shattering news that Elizabeth Warren and Scott Brown made petty remarks about each other.
Entire forests were felled so you could read that Warren made a smart-aleck remark about how, as a college student, she did not pose in the buff like the buff US Senate candidate from the other party did - and Brown’s retort, in which he thanked the Almighty that Warren kept her clothes on.
There were all sorts of stories and columns about how offensive these remarks were, how Brown was sexist, blah, blah, blah.
You want real offensiveness? You want real sexism? For that, you needed to be in the beautiful federal courthouse overlooking Boston Harbor. Because it was there, while all the Brown v. Warren silliness played out, that a well-paid lawyer for the government named Thomas Bondy said things far more offensive, far more sexist, than anything Warren and Brown could dream up.
Bondy, who works out of Washington but stays in fine hotels on your dime when he comes to insult the families ruined by Whitey Bulger and Stevie Flemmi, was busy last week explaining why the US Justice Department doesn’t owe the families of Debbie Davis and Debbie Hussey a dime.
Bondy stood in court and said the slayings of Davis and Hussey had nothing to do with the FBI’s employment of Bulger and Flemmi as informants. Instead, Bondy said, those killings were “common, banal crimes of domestic violence.’’
Really? How common is it for women to be slain by gangsters employed by the FBI? How banal - and by banal I’m assuming he meant trite or commonplace - is it for the FBI to lie to and mislead the families of women killed by their informants?
Bondy repeatedly referred to the two women as Flemmi’s girlfriends. While that was accurate, if somewhat incomplete, in describing Davis, it was downright wrong and outrageous when it comes to Hussey.
Debbie Hussey was Flemmi’s common-law stepdaughter, and he started having sex with her when she was a teenager. Tommy Hussey, Debbie’s dad, says it was when she was about 13. Flemmi says she was a little older. But that’s a distinction without a difference: Debbie Hussey was a victim of child abuse. She was not Stevie Flemmi’s girlfriend; she was his victim.
And so was Debbie Davis. She was a beautiful, 17-year-old kid working in a jewelry store when she fell under the spell of Stevie Flemmi, a charismatic gangster. In 1981, after nine years with Flemmi, she fell in love with another man and decided to move on. Her decision to leave Flemmi is what got her killed, Bondy argued.
But that isn’t why Debbie Davis was killed. She was slain - like Debbie Hussey, allegedly strangled by Bulger while Flemmi, by his own admission, looked on and did nothing - because she knew that Bulger and Flemmi were informants for the FBI.
She was not killed in some fit of jealousy. She was silenced to protect a secret, the unholy alliance between the FBI and two sociopaths named Bulger and Flemmi.
Bondy argued Debbie Hussey was slain because she had become an annoyance. Again, utter nonsense. She was killed because of fear she would expose Bulger and Flemmi’s relationship with the FBI.
Debbie Davis and Debbie Hussey were just two more cases of collateral damage in the FBI’s cynical use of murderers as informants. Dismissing them as “girlfriends’’ who made misjudgments in their choices of boyfriends is more than disingenuous; it’s insulting, to their memories, and to their families, who sat there the other day listening to all this.
If the people in the Justice Department don’t want to pay for or admit culpability in their use of murderers as informants, that’s their business. That doesn’t give them license to insult the living and the dead.