Measure of a Life

One of my daughter’s close friends, who she met back in Pre-K, passed away recently. David Francazio was barely thirty years old when he died, but he managed a lifetime in those years.

David died while surgeons tried to replace his ailing heart, a condition he had endured his entire life yet never let it interfere with living. The surgery failed, David’s heart as a caring young man never did.

His days were few but full. And there is no better way to live.

While life is short, we should never measure it by the number of our days but by who we’ve touched with the days we have. There is no better yardstick of life than the advice given by the Wizard of Oz to the Tinman

“Remember, my sentimental friend we are not judged by how much we love but by how much we are loved by others.”

There are two things every living creature shares: birth and death. While it may seem counterintuitive, there is nothing more natural than dying. The duration of our lives is never one of certainty, but it is one of opportunity. David used that opportunity to its fullest extent. There is no better tribute to achieve than Living life.

Death is not the end; it is the beginning of a new phase. Whatever lies beyond this life, I find it hard to believe there is nothing. We won’t know until each of us makes that transition, but people like David are the best example of how important life can be. Not in how long we live, but how well we use those moments.

People die and those who knew them are saddened by the void left behind. Yet, for as long as you want, any time you want, you can recall their moments of life in your mind. The memories remind us that one who once was, lives on in our hearts.

At War Against The Mob

In It’s Just the Way It Was: Inside the War on the New England Mob and other stories, Joe Broadmeadow and Brendan Doherty take you inside the investigations, covert surveillances, and murky world of informants in the war against Organized Crime.

Order your copy today!

“Brendan Doherty & Joe Broadmeadow’s new book “ It’s Just the Way It Was ”  is a gripping in-depth, insider point of view from the lawman who saw it all. The Federal Hill politics of the street law & order, decided with the barrel of a gun, will never be told better…”

Joe  Pantoliano
Ralphie Cifaretto from 
TheSoprano’s. 

Book Signings

October 11th   Barrington Books Retold, Cranston, RI  6:00 p.m

October 17th   MCTs Tavern, Cumberland, RI 5:00 p.m.

Read an excerpt https://joebroadmeadowblog.com/2019/09/02/excerpt-its-just-the-way-it-was-inside-the-war-on-the-new-england-mob-and-other-stories/

Excerpt “It’s Just the Way It Was: Inside the War on the New England Mob and other stories”

Read an except from the upcoming book by Joe Broadmeadow and Brendan Doherty. Go inside with investigators who infiltrated the mob. Sit with the detectives as they monitor wiretaps. Come face to face with some of the most notorious mobsters who stalked the streets of Providence, Boston, and New York.

Release Date October 9, 2019 JEBWizard Publishing

Pre-order the Kindle version here, before the release date price increase.

Chapter 3 Grundy’s Gym

In 1978, Brendan walked in the door of Grundy’s Gym in Central Falls, Rhode Island. The experience here would have a lifelong impact on Brendan. Something he could never imagine when he first went in.

It was a real boxing gym, not a studio with mirrors where guys hit the bag and brag to girls that they’re fighters. Like most hard-core boxing gyms, it didn’t have the luxury of a quality cleaning service.

Pungent sweat, punctuated by the snap of leather on leather, engulfed you. Grunts, groans, and the shouts of trainers added to the mix. Marinated in the blood, sweat, and tears from years of boxers chasing glory, the building held the echoes of dreams, despair, and determination.

It was where the thrill of victory rarely interrupted the agony of defeat. Most guys were just happy to survive. It was all part of the less glamorous reality of the boxing world.

Old fight promotion posters and pictures of boxers covered the walls. Fighters who never made it to the main bout yet showed enough heart to earn a place on that wall. Making the wall was an accomplishment, perhaps their only one, but here it meant something.

Dried blood stains covered the floor of the ring, known as the canvas, serving as reminders of bouts that went beyond sparring. There was no Rocky-style soundtrack to underscore the punishing pain. The dingy walls, gray shades of age, echoed and amplified the sounds. It wasn’t music, but it held a certain charm to those immersed in the sport. The only color, besides the boxing trunks, was the purplish-red splotches on bruised bodies.

This place was the real deal.

The owner, Bob Grundy, who later became like an uncle to Brendan, was a character out of central casting for a tough guy movie. He was a Marine Raider in World War II, fighting in the extended operation on Guadalcanal, considered the turning point of the war in the Pacific. He came up the hard way, born and raised in a one-room, cold-water flat in the Darlington section of Pawtucket, Rhode Island.

He worked hard, opened his own construction company, and did well. He was a generous man who gave back to his community. He started his gym after the Notre Dame Boxing Club closed. Bob understood the gym was the only thing between jail and the streets for some young men.

 Bob charged no one for membership. The gym was free if you comported yourself like a gentleman. It was an exciting mix of characters, including ex-cons, pro fighters, cops, and con men.

If Grundy’s gym was the real deal, the authenticity came from Bob Grundy. Bob’s son, Peter, a football star at Bishop Feehan who later became one hell of a fighter, introduced Brendan to the place…

ORDER YOUR COPY TODAY https://amzn.to/2UjTkP8

BOOK SIGNINGS

October 11, 2019 6:00 p.m.
Barrington Books Retold
Garden City
Cranston, RI

October 17, 2019 5:00 p.m.
McTs Tavern
940 Mendon Rd.
Cumberland, RI

Pre-Release Sale: It’s Just the Way It Was

Now available for pre-release order for Kindle.

In It’s Just the Way It Was: Inside the War on the New England Mob and other stories, Joe Broadmeadow and Brendan Doherty take you inside the investigations, covert surveillances, and murky world of informants in the war against Organized Crime.

Make no mistake about it, it was a war targeting the insidious nature of the mob and their detrimental effect on Rhode Island and throughout New England.

Indeed, the book reveals the extensive nature of Organized Crime throughout the United States.

From the opening moments detailing a mob enforcer’s near death in a hail of gunfire to the potentially deadly confrontation between then Detective Brendan Doherty and a notorious mob associate, Gerard Ouimette, this book puts you right there in the middle.

Most books on the mob tell a sanitized story of guys who relished their time as mobsters. As Nicholas Pileggi, author of “Wiseguys,” put it, “most mob books are the egomaniacal ravings of an illiterate hood masquerading as a benevolent godfather.”

This is not that kind of book. This is the story of the good guys.

It’s just the way it was.

Order your Kindle pre-release copy here and check back for information on the release of the print version,

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07WV49RGX

Book Signings

October 11, 6:00 p.m. Barrington Books Retold, Garden City Shopping Center, Cranston, RI

October 17, 5:00 p.m. McTs Tavern, Mendon Rd., Cumberland, RI

It’s Just the Way It Was…

On March 14, 1986, a dark, cold, and quiet night in Providence, Rhode Island, an ex-con with a penchant for violence, dropped into a local bar. He didn’t realize he’d just entered lion territory, and the lions were hunting…”

It’s Just the Way It Was by Joe Broadmeadow and Brendan Doherty

Thus begins the opening lines of a soon to be released book, It’s Just the Way It Was: Inside the War on the New England Mob and other stories, by Joe Broadmeadow and Brendan Doherty.

Coming this Fall

In It’s Just the Way It Was: Inside the War on the New England Mob and other stories, Joe Broadmeadow and Brendan Doherty take you inside the investigations, covert surveillances, and murky world of informants in the war against Organized Crime.

Make no mistake about it, it was a war targeting the insidious nature of the mob and their detrimental effect on Rhode Island and throughout New England.

Indeed, the book reveals the extensive nature of Organized Crime throughout the United States.

From the opening moments detailing a mob enforcer’s near death in a hail of gunfire to the potentially deadly confrontation between then Detective Brendan Doherty and a notorious mob associate, Gerard Ouimette, this book puts you right there in the middle.

Most books on the mob tell a sanitized story from the point of view of guys who relished their time as mobsters. As Nicholas Pileggi, author of “Wiseguys,” put it, “most mob books are the egomaniacal ravings of an illiterate hood masquerading as a benevolent godfather.”

This is not that kind of book. This is just the way it was.

Check out the video preview here https://youtu.be/n_eEP01PkMM

Signup for information on book release date and book signings here https://mailchi.mp/53bba54494da/authorjoebroadmeadow

When in the Course of Human Events…

When did America become a country of people who say “we can’t?”

When did America become a country where our children… our children… cannot afford the medicine we invented?

When did America become the country where we shake our heads at gun violence, wring our hands, and say there’s nothing we can do?

When did America become the country incapable of separating the needy and desperate from those who seek to take advantage?

When did America become the country that runs away from a challenge?

When did America become the country that once put a man on the moon, at the cost of the lives of several willing American heroes, yet is now afraid of risk?

When did America become the country hiding behind the most powerful military in the world instead of projecting that power to protect those who need us?

When did America become the country of people who only listen to others with whom they agree?

When did America become the country where the value of the media is questioned but random, inarticulate social media postings are taken as the truth?

When did America become the country of people whose idea of analyzing a problem consists of Google searches and Facebook polls?

When did America become the country of people who do not have even a basic concept of the separation of powers or the process behind our government?

When did America become the country that hands the power of government over to the highest bidder?

When did America become the country that is a shadow of it’s former self?

And, most importantly, when will America return to the path of greatness tempered by wise and merciful justice?

______________________________________________________________________________

As always thanks for reading, thanks for sharing the posts, and I welcome all to comment and post their own thoughts here.

Click here to check out my books on Amazon

Did a Comma Kill Americans? Grammar and the 2nd Amendment.

Let’s try a different approach to the 2nd Amendment.  Instead of historical analysis, let’s do something simple like a basic grammatical breakdown of the sentence.

Here is the language from the Constitution

A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

A basic approach is to strip out both independent clauses separated by commas thus the sentence would read,

A well-regulated militia shall not be infringed.”

The meaning is unclear, thus the need for the modifying phrases which, one might argue, are subordinate clauses and thus elemental to the meaning. We need to clarify what they modify.

The subject of the sentence is “a well-regulated militia.” Everything else modifies or describes the subject.

The first phrase, “being necessary to the security of a free State,” defines the need for the subject. In different language one might say “To maintain security of a free state, a well-regulated militia is necessary.”

The meaning is the same.

Let’s look at the second phrase separated by a comma. “the right of the people to keep and bear arms.” What does this phrase do? What does it change or describe? The next phrase, also separated by a comma, complicates the matter.

One method is to remove the intervening comma separated phrase and see what that reveals. Thus, we have,

A well-regulated militia the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

Makes little sense without the missing language.  Let’s put it back and take out the last phrase.

“A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms.”

Again makes no sense without the ending phrase. Suppose we add it back without the comma?

“A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

Now it makes sense. The subject of the sentence, “a well-regulated militia,” modified by the phrase “being necessary to the security of a free state,” followed by the phrase “the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

It’s that last comma that confuses things.

If we write it this way, “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” The meaning is clear and brings clarity to “a well-regulated militia.”

Richard Henry Lee, one of the leaders of the revolutionary period, is best known for his resolution in the Second Continental Congress where he said,

That these united Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance from the British crown, and that all political connection between America and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved….”

Lee also had said something very interesting about the right to bear arms.

“To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them…” (emphasis author’s)
Additional Letters from the Federal Farmer, 1788

Perhaps, even back then, the men who crafted the right the bear arms knew it came with responsibility and required training, thus the “well-regulated militia” now makes sense.

As with any sentence, breaking it down to its parts clarifies the meaning. The subject of this sentence is “a well-regulated militia” everything else is there to support and describe what makes up this “well-regulated” entity and the right of the people to equip themselves and participate.

“A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

Could it be a misplaced comma contributed to the unnecessary deaths of thousands of Americans?

Who said grammar doesn’t matter?

Click here to check out my novels and non-fiction books

Facebook Sparks a Memory

A recent Facebook reminder sparked a memory long encased in the past. The post was a notice of a birthday for a childhood friend, Eddie Reilly. When I read the post, a memory burst forth in my mind from August 1963 or 1964. Not sure of the exact year, but I am certain of a memorable moment in my youth and how priorities change.

Several of us were riding our bikes along the then under construction Route 295 in Cumberland. We had ignored any signs warning us against such trespassing. The lure of racing along newly laid asphalt was irresistible.

Riding with normal youthful abandon–without helmets that none of us owned and wouldn’t even consider wearing—we raced up and down, sliding and skidding, breaking many personal speed records.

Now this wasn’t just an ordinary summer day. This was Eddie’s birthday and we were going to his party at the ultimate place for youthful celebrations. The 1960’s equivalent of a trip to Disney World. The mecca of amusement and entertainment to which we looked forward and thought of nothing else for several days before.

We were going to Jolly Cholly’s.

Life did not, could not, get any better than that.

Back on 295, we made one more racing run and then headed home. Approaching the still unfinished off-ramp, there were several layers of road surface. I jumped the first one but misjudged the second one. The front wheel hit the raised edge and the bike stopped dead.

I did not.

Using my enormous acrobatic skills, I used my face to stop my forward motion. It worked.

In the memory I hear others laughing, but I may have made that up. Although my memories of those times laughing would fit in with the character of Eddie Reilly, John Johnson, and whoever else was there.

Standing up, I reached up to wipe the dirt and tar off my face and discovered two things; blood covered my face, and my two front teeth were no longer attached.

Yikes.

I don’t recall crying, but I knew I needed to get home right away. I had to make sure of one overriding concern and there was only one person in the world who could answer the question, my mother.

Jumping back on the bike, I raced home. Blood dripped onto my shirt and the coppery taste infiltrated my throat.  Yet I rode hellbent to seek my mother’s advice.

Dropping the bike in the driveway, I burst into the house. My mother was in the kitchen and I could tell by the look on her face my bloodied appearance was the last thing she expected to see. I had covered my mouth, hoping to conceal the missing teeth since I felt responsible and had now lost them.

“What happened to you?” my mother said, walking toward me. “Where were you?”

“I knocked my two front teeth out.  We were just riding our bikes (which was a true statement, the location wasn’t critical) and I fell off.” 

And then I asked her the most important question. One I considered more important than two missing teeth, trespassing on an interstate highway, or bleeding on the kitchen floor.

“Can I still go to Eddie’s birthday party?”

That was the only thing that mattered at the moment.

My mom cleaned things up. Got the bleeding to stop and then made everything better. “Well, they were gonna fall out anyway. You can if you want.”

So I got to go to Jolly Cholly’s and eat what then tasted like Nirvana but probably was the worst pizza ever. I gummed my way through the cardboard crust, and all was right with the world.

On an interesting side note, the truth of our escapade came out. We were cautioned under penalty of severe consequences never to ride there again. But we didn’t sue the state, the manufacturer of the bike, or anyone else.

We just learned a valuable lesson. No matter what happens, there is always a way to eat pizza.

Every time I drive northbound on 295 and pass the Diamond Hill Road exit I still think of my teeth and how good that pizza tasted.

Reason to Believe

After the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States, I was disappointed and disillusioned about the future. But I am an optimist and have a great deal of faith in the resiliency of the American people and our government.

I am also a firm believer in focusing on the things one can change, not living in a state of mind focusing on or lamenting the past. Trump was the President. At the time of his election, the Republicans held both the House and the Senate. There was the real possibility of multiple appointments to the Supreme Court.

This was the reality of the time.

I looked for a reason to believe Mr. Trump, as coarse as he is, would rise to the occasion and find inspiration to greatness once the politics of the election was over and he sat, for the first time, at the desk in the Oval Office.

I looked for a reason to believe the rhetoric of pitting us against the world would give way to tough but rational negotiation.

I looked for a reason to believe Mr. Trump’s patina of business success would lead him to follow sound economic policies designed to improve the lives of all Americans for the long term.

I looked for a reason to believe the jingoistic, rabid nationalism of many of his supporters would be wisely suppressed by Mr. Trump’s recognition of the changing nature of this world and the interconnectedness of a global community in which we are one among many nations.

But like the lines from the song Reason to Believe, disappointment followed the lies.

If I listened long enough to you
I’d find a way to believe that it’s all true
Knowing that you lied straight-faced while I cried
Still I look to find a reason to believe

Songwriters: Tim Hardin Reason To Believe lyrics © Spirit Music Group

Now, some three years into the Presidency, profound disgust and despair have shattered my optimism and robbed me of a reason to believe something positive will come from this Presidency.

Now I have reason to believe we have a President who openly and notoriously encourages the politics of hate.

Now I have reason to believe we have a President who surrounds himself with sycophants blindly following the President’s policies, walking behind him sweeping up the fetid waste spewing from his tweets and pronouncements.

Now I have reason to believe we have a President who, when he appoints a competent individual to a position of responsibility, soon castigates and isolates them, forcing those with a conscience to recuse themselves from dealing with an irrational President.

Now I have reason to believe we have a President who openly encouraged a foreign government to interfere in the election process. All because it inured to his benefit and, I fear, he will do it again. Most people of character, the kind we usually have leading the nation, confronted with such foreign interference, would have put country before self and removed himself from consideration.

Now I have reason to believe we have a President who attacks sitting members of Congress with unforgivable exhortations to “go back to where they came from.” That any American would applaud such remarks paints a dim view of our society.

Now I have reason to believe we have a President who would launch a personal attack against one of the most respected leaders of the civil rights movement, also a sitting Congressman, with vile and hateful language playing to the basest of the emotions of racial bias.

Yet the Trump Train continues down the track. The engineer has the throttle wide open, blasting through the country, immune to the carnage at the crossings.

The passengers laugh and smile with reckless abandon, drinking in the hyperbole and nonsense. Red-hatted spectators, drunk with the fermented vile of hate, oblivious to the destruction of this once great nation.

But the track, like all things, does not go one forever. Those aboard hold to the irrational belief the engineer knows what he’s doing and will bring the train safely to a stop.

Now I have reason to believe the President does not know where the brake is, doesn’t care to find out, nor does he have the will to use it. He believes this, no matter what happens, he will survive. What happens to the passengers and the train is not his concern.

It never was.

My Country, Love it or Leave it

I wrote a piece critical of President Trump’s despicable Tweets about four sitting US Congresswomen and the responses fit into two categories; those who agreed and those who think people like me should leave the country because we criticize policy or this president. (https://joebroadmeadowblog.com/2019/07/17/when-did-america-become-a-land-of-cowards/)

Reminds me of the pro-war signs (yes there were some) during the Viet Nam war.  “My Country, Love it or Leave it.” Thus, the title and image cleverly designed to lure in those who read it and said, “Damn straight.” (It’s called bait & switch marketing, although they may have stopped reading by this point.)

Trump’s response to the widespread if disappointingly one-sided criticism was to carry on with the message with more tweets.

“In America, if you hate our Country, you are free to leave. The simple fact of the matter is, the four Congresswomen think that America is wicked in its origins, they think that America is even more wicked now, that we are all racist and evil.”

“IF YOU ARE NOT HAPPY HERE, YOU CAN LEAVE!” (https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1151700953030123522)

To oppose or disagree with policy, according to Mr. Trump et al. (you may see that term again), is to be un-American. If I understand his logic–as challenging as THAT is–this means the mark of true Americans is blind adherence to government policy and eschewing open discourse and discussion.

If we accept Mr. Trump’s “logic,” this is what history should reflect and what the future looks like.

If you disagreed with the genocide perpetrated against Native Americans, you should have left the country

If you disagreed with the legality of slavery, you should have just left the country.

If you disagreed with the Jim Crowe Laws, you should have just left the country.

If you disagreed with the denial of civil rights to minority men and women, you should have just left the country.

If you disagreed with segregation, you should have just left the country.

If you disagreed with giving women the right to vote, you should have just left the country.

If you disagreed with the Affordable Care Act, you should have just left the country.

If you disagreed with the Paris Climate Agreement, you should have just left the country.

If you disagreed with the loss of 56 thousand American military members in Viet Nam, you should have just left the country.

If you disagreed with the lack of aid to Puerto Rico or New Orleans after recent hurricane disasters, you should have just left the country.

If disagreeing with the current or future policies of the US Government demands one leave the country, no one would remain after just a few years.

Opposition, dissent, and disagreement are the three of the cornerstones of our form of government. The fourth, the one that makes the whole thing stand firm and tall, is compromise.

Without compromise, nothing works. Without dissent, there is no compromise. Blind adherence to government policies generally comes at the point of a blade.

If you love this country, as most Americans do, you work to right the flaws not ignore them. America is a far better place than many other places in the world. However, it is not perfect and to ignore problems is to be complicit in their continuity.

Dissent may in fact be the highest form of patriotism if the intent is to achieve what could be not just destroy what is.