TIME society

Boston Mobster Whitey Bulger Pens Remorseful Letter to Teen Girls

Apponequet Regional High School students, Mollykate Rodenbush, Brittany Tainsh, and Michaela Arguin (from left), hold the handwritten reply from Whitey Bulger.
David L. Ryan—The Boston Globe/Getty Image Apponequet Regional High School students, Mollykate Rodenbush, Brittany Tainsh, and Michaela Arguin (from left), hold the handwritten reply from Whitey Bulger.

"If you want to make crime pay, go to law school"

James “Whitey” Bulger, the Boston crime boss who was convicted of 11 murders, has penned a letter to three 17-year-old girl in which he admitted he “wasted” his life.

The girls wrote to the now 85-year-old, who is serving life at the federal penitentiary in Sumterville, Florida, as part of a National History Day competition on leadership and legacy – but they never thought he would answer. “It wasn’t what we were expecting at all,” said Brittany Tainsh, one of three who wrote Bulger.

In the letter, dated Feb. 24, Bulger offered the three teens advice. “My life was wasted and spent foolishly, brought shame + suffering on my parents and siblings and will end soon,” he wrote in the note, which was excerpted in The Boston Globe Saturday.

“Advice is a cheap commodity some seek it from me about crime – I know only one thing for sure – If you want to make crime pay – ‘Go to Law School,'” he continued.

The letter is the first hint of remorse the defiant crime boss has ever shown since being convicted of involvement in 11 murders in 2013. He was caught after spending 16 years on the run. Even at his trial, Bulger showed no emotion as he was handed two life sentences plus five years.

In the letter, Bulger added that he “took the wrong road,” calling his brother William, a former president of the state Senate and of the University of Massachusetts, “a Better Man than I.”

“Don’t waste your time on such as I – we are society’s lower, best forgotten, not looked to for advice on ‘Leadership,’ ” he concluded.

Bulger is the subject of the upcoming film Black Mass, which stars Johnny Depp as the notorious crime boss.

This article originally appeared on People.com

TIME Crime

Boston Marathon Bomber Apologizes for the First Time

"I am sorry for the lives that I've taken"

(BOSTON) — Moments before a judge sentenced him to death, Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev broke more than two years of silence Wednesday and apologized to the victims and their loved ones for the first time. “I pray for your relief, for your healing,” he said.

“I am sorry for the lives that I’ve taken, for the suffering that I’ve caused you, for the damage that I’ve done — irreparable damage,” the 21-year-old former college student, speaking haltingly in his Russian accent, said after rising to his feet in the hushed federal courtroom.

After Tsarnaev said his piece, U.S. District Judge George O’Toole Jr. quoted Shakespeare’s line “The evil that men do lives after them. The good is often interred with their bones.”

“So it will be for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev,” the judge said, telling Tsarnaev that no one will remember that his teachers were fond of him, that his friends found him fun to be with or that he showed compassion to disabled people.

“What will be remembered is that you murdered and maimed innocent people and that you did it willfully and intentionally,” O’Toole said.

Tsarnaev looked down and rubbed his hands together as the judge pronounced his fate: execution, the punishment decided on by the jury last month for the attack that killed three people and wounded more than 260.

The apology came after Tsarnaev listened impassively for about three hours as a procession of 24 victims and survivors lashed out at him for his “cowardly” and “disgusting” acts and urged him to show some remorse at long last.

Tsarnaev assured the victims he was paying attention.

“All those who got up on that witness stand and that podium relayed to us, to me — I was listening — the suffering that was and the hardship that still is, with strength and with patience and with dignity,” he said.

The outcome of the proceedings was never in doubt: The judge was required under law to impose the jury’s death sentence for the April 15, 2013, attack that authorities said was retaliation for U.S. wars in Muslim lands.

The only real suspense was whether Tsarnaev would say anything when offered the chance to speak. And if so, would he show remorse? Or would he make a political statement and seek to justify the attack?

During his trial, he showed a trace of emotion only once, when he cried while his aunt was on the stand. And the only evidence of any remorse came from Sister Helen Prejean, the “Dead Man Walking” death penalty opponent, who quoted him as saying of the victims: “No one deserves to suffer like they did.”

His apology was a five-minute address peppered with religious references and praise of Allah. He asked that Allah have mercy upon him and his dead brother and partner in crime, Tamerlan, but he made no mention of the motive for the bombing.

He paused several times as if struggling to maintain his composure. He faced the judge while speaking but addressed himself to the victims.

Tsarnaev admitted he carried out the bombing — “If there’s any lingering doubt about that, let there be no more” — and added: “I did do it along with my brother.”

Outside court, some bombing survivors said they doubted Tsarnaev’s sincerity.

“It really does not change anything for me,” Scott Weisberg said.

But another survivor, Henry Borgard, said: “I was actually really happy that he made the statement. I have forgiven him. I have come to a place of peace and I genuinely hope that he does as well.”

U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz said Tsarnaev left important things unsaid: “He didn’t renounce terrorism. He didn’t renounce violent extremism.”

Tsarnaev will probably be sent to the death row unit at the federal penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana, where Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh was executed. It could take years or even decades for his appeals to work their way through the courts.

In May, the jury condemned the former college student to die for joining his older brother in setting off the two pressure-cooker bombs near the finish line and in killing an MIT police officer as they fled. Tamerlan, 26, was killed during the getaway.

At his sentencing, a somber-looking Tsarnaev, wearing a dark sport jacket with a collared shirt and no tie, sat between his lawyers, his chair turned toward the lectern from which the victims spoke. He picked at his beard and gazed downward most of the time, only occasionally looking at the victims.

“He can’t possibly have had a soul to do such a horrible thing,” said Karen Rand McWatters, who lost a leg in the attack and whose best friend, 29-year-old Krystle Campbell, was killed.

Campbell’s mother, Patricia Campbell, looked across the room at Tsarnaev, seated about 20 feet away, and spoke directly to him.

“What you did to my daughter is disgusting,” she said. “I don’t know what to say to you. I think the jury did the right thing.”

Rebekah Gregory, a Texas woman who lost a leg in the bombing, defiantly told Tsarnaev she is not his victim.

“While your intention was to destroy America, what you have really accomplished is actually quite the opposite — you’ve unified us,” she said, staring directly at Tsarnaev as he looked down.

“We are Boston strong, we are America strong, and choosing to mess with us was a terrible idea. So how’s that for your VICTIM impact statement?”

Bill Richard, whose 8-year-old son Martin was the youngest person killed in the bombing, noted that his family would have preferred that Tsarnaev receive a life sentence so that he could contemplate his crimes.

Richard said his family has chosen love, kindness and peace, adding: “That is what makes us different than him.”


Boston’s City Hall Is Getting Gender-Neutral Bathrooms

“Today marks a historic moment in Boston,” Mayor Martin Walsh said

Employees and visitors of Boston’s City Hall will be able to use gender-neutral bathrooms in the building.

Boston Mayor Martin Walsh signed an executive order on Thursday to immediately establish the restrooms on the fifth floor, outside Walsh’s office and the City Council chamber. In a statement, the city said Boston was among the first City Halls to do so in New England.

“Boston thrives on diversity, and is an inclusive city,” Walsh said in the statement. “This change will foster a safe and welcoming environment for employees and visitors, and will go a long way as we continue to work towards improving the lives of those who love and call Boston home.”

And following up the statement with a tweet, he called himself #WickedProud to make this happen.

Read next: States Battle Over Bathroom Access for Transgender People

MONEY Sports

This Is Probably Why Boston Doesn’t Want to Host the Olympics

Travelpix Ltd—Getty Images Boston's Faneuil hall, cafes and Quincy market.

Half of Massachusetts doesn't want to host.

In early 2015, not long after Boston was selected as the U.S. Olympic Committee’s bid to potentially host the 2024 summer games, a poll indicated that locals were kind of meh about the prospect. In a survey by Boston NPR station WBUR, nearly half (48%) of Bostonians said they were “excited” about the possibility that their city could host the Olympics. Still, 43% said they were not excited.

When the issue was phrased slightly differently, 50% of Boston residents surveyed said they “support” the city hosting the Olympics, while 33% said they “oppose” them.

So while the locals may not be quite as excited as the Olympic Committee might have hoped, at least the people want to host, right? Maybe not. In the latest survey from WBUR—this one statewide rather than being limited to the Boston area—only 39% are in favor of the city playing host to the games. Slightly less than half (49%) of Massachusetts residents are opposed.

The survey didn’t explore the reasons why people are pro- or anti-Olympics. But it’s a safe bet that money is a big factor. Olympic host cities routinely wind up spending far more than they originally budget to prepare for the games. For instance, organizers of the London 2012 summer games estimated that the city would drop $4 billion in order to host, and in the end the city’s bill was in the neighborhood of $15 to $20 billion. Critics also say the economic upside of being host, through increased tourism and such, is often overstated.

Research from No Boston Olympics, the opposition group with a self-explanatory name, indicates that Boston organizers have already estimated that the city would spend $14.3 billion to host. That’s before any cost overruns. And there are always overruns, typically around 200% or so.

No wonder the folks up in Massachusetts aren’t welcoming the Olympics with open arms.

TIME Terrorism

Family of Boston Terrorism Suspect ‘Unaware of Any Radicalization’

Usaamah Rahim was killed Tuesday after authorities said he lunged at them with a large knife

A lawyer for the family of a man killed by terrorism investigators in Boston earlier this week said Thursday they were shocked by accusations that he was radicalized by extremists and were under no suspicion that had been the case.

Usaamah Rahim, 26, was shot and killed Tuesday after authorities say he lunged toward them with a large knife that he bought on the Internet. An FBI affidavit filed Wednesday stated Rahim had initially planned to behead someone outside Massachusetts, but later changed his mind to “go after” the “boys in blue” instead, a reference that officials took to mean police. The document states Rahim discussed his plans with at least two people, including 26-year-old David Wright, who was charged Wednesday with conspiring to conceal or destroy evidence.

Earlier on Thursday, Boston Police Commissioner William Evans told NBC that Rahim was allegedly plotting to behead conservative blogger and anti-Islam activist Pamela Geller. But Evans called the idea “wishful thinking.”

“The family is unaware of any radicalization,” Ronald Sullivan, an attorney for Rahim’s family and a Harvard Law professor, said during a news conference. Sullivan said the family is ready and willing to “enter into a joint relationship with investigators to get to the truth.” Rahim’s private burial was scheduled for Friday.

MONEY Travel

Southwest Airlines Flights Priced from Just $49 in Flash Airfare Sale

Joe Amon—Denver Post via Getty Images

Wanna get away?

From now until 11:59 p.m on Thursday, Southwest Airline is offering super cheap fares nationwide in a new sale. Tickets for some of its shortest flights are available for just $49 each way, and many more routes are priced at less than $100.

For example, there are $99 trips from New York to New Orleans and Houston to Chicago. On shorter-haul flights such as Los Angeles-Las Vegas and Boston-Baltimore/Washington, fares start at $49 one way. Cross-country routes, like Los Angeles-Atlanta, are available for $149, a bargain compared to the usual prices nowadays.

Unfortunately the promotion won’t work for last-minute travel, as the sale applies to departures between August 25 and December 16 of this year. Plus some holiday periods are blacked out, including around Labor Day and Thanksgiving. Another key bit of fine print to note is that the sale does not apply to flights on Fridays or Sundays.

Be warned: Southwest’s site might be buggy right now because of the high web traffic it’s attracting due to the sale.

This promotion is the latest from the popular airline, which tends to get relatively few complaints from passengers, is about to add wider seats, and is known for great customer service—though, of course, not everyone feels that way.

Read Next: Why Travelers Should Love It When Travel Stocks Tank

TIME Crime

Boston Terror Suspect Linked to ISIS Propaganda

Everet Joint Terrorism Task Force Investigation
Dominick Reuter—EPA Everett and Massachusetts Police assist federal authorities in an investigation in Everett, Massachusetts, on June 2, 2015.

Usaama Rahim was shot and killed by members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force after police say he lunged at them with a knife

(BOSTON) — The man who was shot and killed by terrorism investigators had been spreading propaganda for the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) group online, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee said Wednesday.

Rep. Michael McCaul, a Texas Republican, opened a congressional hearing on terrorism with a reference to the shooting of Usaama Rahim on Tuesday.

Rahim was shot by members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force after police say he lunged at them with a knife when they approached him to question him outside a Boston pharmacy. Boston police and FBI officials say Rahim had been under 24-hour surveillance after they received some “terrorist-related information.”

A law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation told The Associated Press that Rahim had been making threats against law enforcement. The official was not authorized to release details of the investigation and spoke on the condition of anonymity.

McCaul said the terrorism task force was investigating Rahim because he had been “communicating with and spreading ISIS propaganda online… These cases are a reminder of the dangers posed by individuals radicalized through social media,” McCaul said.

Boston police and the FBI said Rahim was shot after he went after officers with a large military-style knife and refused to drop the weapon.

Rahim’s brother, a well-known imam, has disputed the police account of the shooting. He said his brother was shot as he waited for a bus to take him to work. “He was confronted by three Boston Police officers and subsequently shot in the back three times,” Ibrahim Rahim wrote on his Facebook page. “He was on his cellphone with my dear father during the confrontation needing a witness.”

Ibrahim Rahim couldn’t be reached for more comment. In an email, he said he was traveling to Boston to bury his brother.

Usaama Rahim was shot outside a CVS in Boston’s Roslindale neighborhood. A spokeswoman said Rahim had worked for CVS since March. Police said they have video showing that officers did not have their weapons drawn when they approached Rahim and that they backed up when he initially lunged at them with the knife. Police planned to show the video to civil rights leaders and clergy Wednesday during a meeting at police headquarters.

Boston Police Commissioner William Evans said Rahim had been under 24-hour surveillance by terrorism investigators. The FBI arrested an Everett man Tuesday in connection with the Rahim investigation. David Wright, 26, is scheduled to appear in federal court in Boston on Wednesday afternoon. The charges against him have not yet been disclosed.

Authorities also searched a home in Warwick, Rhode Island, but would not confirm that was linked to the Boston shooting.

Evans said authorities had been watching Rahim “for quite a time,” but “a level of alarm” prompted them to try to question him Tuesday. He said authorities knew Rahim “had some extremism as far as his views.” The Suffolk district attorney’s office and the FBI said they will investigate Rahim’s shooting, a routine procedure for shootings involving police. The Council of American-Islamic Relations will monitor the investigation, spokesman Ibrahim Hooper said.

Boston voter registration records for Rahim list him as a student. Records indicate that as recently as two years ago he was licensed as a security officer in Miami, but they don’t specify in what capacity.

Yusufi Vali, executive director of the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, said the center’s security firm hired Rahim as a security guard for a month in mid-2013. Vali said Rahim did not regularly pray at the center and did not volunteer there or serve in any leadership positions.

Vincent Lisi, special agent in charge of the Boston FBI office, said authorities “don’t think there’s any concern for public safety out there right now.”

Associated Press writer Eric Tucker contributed to this report from Washington.

TIME Accident

Massachusetts Man Calls 911 After Leaving His Baby in a Car

He will not face charges and the baby was found safe

A man in Massachusetts frantically dialed 911 on Wednesday after he had already boarded a train to let authorities know he forgot his baby daughter was in the back of his car.

The father had dropped off his older child at daycare and then boarded a T train at the North Quincy station, 7News reports. A half hour later, realizing his mistake, he contacted an emergency dispatcher, who contacted police to sent to officers that would find the vehicle.

“While this was one of the worst days of my life, I know that we were also very fortunate as it was a mild temperate day and I had come to my senses before too long,” the man said in a statement. NBC News reports the child was “never in distress” and was later turned over to her mother. The man will not face charges for leaving the child in the car.


TIME cities

This Transit Authority is Apologizing for a Horrible Winter With a Day of Freebies

MBTA Offers Hope For Faster Recovery; Baker Blasts Keolis
John Blanding—Boston Globe/Getty Images Passengers wait as MBTA commuter rail train pulls into the North Beverly station in Beverly, Mass. Feb. 17, 2015, running on a special storm schedule because of the snow.

The T is free on Friday

After a record-breaking snowy winter, Boston is apologizing for months of terrible commutes with a free Friday on public transit.

In addition to free rides on the T, businesses around the city are offering discounts and freebies on Friday to anyone with a CharlieCard, the pass to use Massachusetts transit, the Boston Globe reports. Riders can get a free doughnut at Dunkin’ Donuts or a coffee from Alltown or Cumberland farms. Discounts are available at the Museum of Fine Arts, the Franklin Park Zoo the New England Aquarium and others. The measure will reportedly cost the Department of Transportation $5 million.

[Boston Globe]

TIME Sports

How One Woman Won a Marathon and Barely Broke a Sweat

Rosie Ruiz Finishes Boston Marathon
David Madison—Getty Images Rosie Ruiz at the finish line of the 1980 Boston Marathon

April 21, 1980: Rosie Ruiz finishes first among women runners in the Boston Marathon, but officials later revoke her medal

To observers at the finish line, Rosie Ruiz must have seemed like the fittest athlete ever to run the Boston Marathon. On this day, April 21, in 1980, the 26-year-old New Yorker finished first among the marathon’s women runners in near-record time — just over two and a half hours. Even more impressive: When officials crowned her the winner, she was barely sweating, according to Mass Moments, the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities’ online history almanac. Her hair was still perfectly styled, and her face was hardly flushed after the 26-mile race.

Ruiz made winning a marathon look easy. And it was, using her signature strategy: Don’t run the whole thing.

Officials were dubious, however, partly because of her unsweaty nonchalance and partly because no one — neither competitors nor spectators — could remember having seen her during the first 25 miles. When witnesses came forward a few days later to say they’d seen her run onto the course from the sidelines just a mile from the finish line, her medal was revoked.

Ruiz’s own admissions might have given her away in any case: She acknowledged that she’d only started training 18 months earlier, by running around Central Park. And she’d only ever competed in one other marathon: the New York Marathon, where she’d had a notably slower (although still impressive) time.

Legendary runner Kathrine Switzer — the first woman ever to officially compete in the Boston Marathon — was instantly suspicious when she spoke to Ruiz after the race, which she was covering that day as a television commentator. Switzer asked what Ruiz’s intervals had been, per TIME; Ruiz replied, “What’s an interval?”

More deception was revealed when New York Marathon officials looked into Ruiz’s 24th-place finish in that race and discovered that she had used a similar strategy to qualify for the Boston Marathon — by taking the subway instead of running most of the course. According to the New York Daily News, Ruiz explained the fact that she was wearing a marathon number by telling fellow subway riders that she had twisted her ankle and just wanted to see the end of the race.

She may not have had much training as a distance runner, but she seemed to have a great deal of practice in bending the truth. Even her application for the New York Marathon was based on a lie: An Associated Press story reveals that she submitted the form after the deadline had passed, but then got “special dispensation” by claiming she had a fatal brain tumor.

And while Ruiz never faced criminal consequences for faking her race finishes, she later ran afoul of the law for unrelated reasons. In 1982, she was charged with stealing $60,000 from the realty company she worked for, and in 1983 she was arrested for selling two kilos of cocaine to an undercover detective, per the AP.

Meanwhile, Boston Marathon organizers have made it harder to follow in Ruiz’s fraudulent footsteps. An unscrupulous couple who finished first in the senior category of the 1997 marathon were quickly found out, despite having registered at the course’s computer checkpoints, because they failed to appear on video shot at secret locations.

Read more about the history of the Boston Marathon, here in the TIME archives: A Long Running Show

Read next: Survivor: Last Year’s Marathon Was for Boston. This Year’s Is for Me.

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