“Graffiti is one of the few tools you have if you have almost nothing. And even if you don’t come up with a picture to cure world poverty you can make someone smile while they’re having a piss.” — Banksy, Banging Your Head Against a Brick Wall
The Union Leader on line this morning featured the headline, “Man gunned down on Manchester street was talented graffiti artist.” Now I am curious. A “Graffiti Artist.” As for Graffiti, the Queen city is not lacking in it. According to the Manchester Police Website,
Graffiti is a crime. Graffiti is vandalism! Graffiti is a crime in Manchester! The term graffiti is used if it appears on property without permission. The term originated in the late 1960’s although unsolicited markings have been around forever. Each year, millions of dollars are spent cleaning up graffiti from neighborhoods across the country. Some consider graffiti art. However, defacing public or private property is not a form of accepted art. Graffiti lowers neighborhood appeal, lowers property values, drives away prospective home buyers, attracts prostitution, and can lead to other criminal activity such as drug dealing and shoplifting in the area. Paying attention to smaller quality-of-life issues, such as graffiti, pays big dividends and can prevent the downward slide of society.
So there is that…The article fails to share if Donnelly ever took to public or private flat spaces to exercise paint can and Sharpie, but in the personal paradigm of readers, I am confident the question looms large.
31-year-old Mark Donnelly, a Nashua native, and current resident of the Queen city was headed to a party in the company of two other friends. During their trek via shoe leather express, a woman approached and asked for money.
Donnelly and one of his pals, started giving the gal the business and being rude at which point, the woman served them verbal notice she was going to, “get her boyfriend.” The Six-foot-two-inch, 225 pound Donnelly responded to the woman to go ahead and get her boyfriend that he would fight him, according to Pat Grossmith of the Union Leader. Donnelly and his cohorts continued on their journey for a few blocks more when they were confronted by an individual in a car who showed a gun. While one of Donnelly’s pals did the prudent thing and ran, Donnelly responded, “I’m not a bitch, I’ll fight you one-on-one.” Multiple shots rang out and Donnelly lay dying on the ground.
So today we read the UL renderings as is usual and customary, lauding this fallen soul as having a, “great heart,” and a, “good soul; He was a good guy.” Others who knew Donnelly described Donnelly, “As a father of a 7-year-old daughter,a two-year-old daughter; A talented graffiti artist and a man with a warm heart and kind soul.”
Alas, the dichotomy emerges…Enter his pal Brian Dauphine who told the UL,
“I told him not to get into any trouble before I left … You know Mark, always gettin’ into fights when he drinks … even with a gun in his face he still didn’t back down. It’s just so hard to believe someone so benevolent was taken so soon. It still doesn’t feel real. I just seen him.”
Tragic indeed it is, that two small children are left without a father, no less the heartfelt loss of Mark Donnelly’s family either. A couple of aspects of this sad tragic story simply cannot be avoided. First, just because a person is six feet tall, does not make them bullet proof. Second, it does not matter that the criminal in the car with the gun is much smaller. Guns clearly equalize size and strength deficits. Third, when one has a family, its time to curb the libations, stay home with the family and dispense with the, “Come at me, bro” big man-behavior when the “bro” is packing heat, let alone the plain stupidity factor here.
In hindsight, running away, “like a bitch[sic]” might have been a better risk and a more prudent course of action than challenging an armed thug and calling his bluff. At least running, his chances of being shot would be somewhat reduced. For Mark Donnelly, that was clearly a losing proposition.
And of course, the usual knuckleheads use this story as a pretext to talk about, “Stand Your Ground,” while anybody with even minimum brain matter, knows, this ain’t it.
Finally, a hard thumbs down to Pat Grossmith at the UL for neo-canonizing this guy. Indeed, conventional social sensibilities dictate that readers hear from family and friends who knew the depth of the man beyond the UL portrayal of an unwed father, Graffitist, drinker and fighter. But dying in a silly, inane confrontation one substantially contributed to, will not bring about hero or martyr status, only a Darwin award.
The object lesson here is clearly multi-tiered. First, stay home and be a father(mother). Second, Put the plug in the jug and don’t start fights, especially with people you do not know because the final outcome could be fatal. Finally, do not choose to participate in a gunfight...sans gun.