Time to Tame the Wamp

by Nicholas Vaughn
Class of 2015

After a thrilling two-time state championship win, the Braintree High School Lady Wamps basketball team deserves all the hype they can get. Yet, despite a couple of pictures here and there in the newspapers, it’s not the only thing Braintree is going to be remembered for in the month of March. After seven broken windows, various arrests, and a hundred angry Bostonians, Braintree has become the laughing stock of New England. Towns in Maine have heard about the chaos that erupted on the MBTA last Monday when Wamp Nation took over the Red Line. As someone who rode on the “Wamp Train,” I can honestly say there needs to be something done to calm down Wamp Nation.

Now don’t get me wrong- Braintree High has some of the best school spirit in the state. Our spirit weeks are always a success and we have some of the best fan showings for the state tournament games. However, it has gotten to the point where our school spirit has given our school a poor reputation. Let me describe exactly what I experienced while riding on the “Wamp Train.”

A smashed Red Line train window. Picture provided by the MBTA

A smashed Red Line train window. Picture provided by the MBTA

Arriving at the Braintree T Station, there was a sea of blue and white teenagers crowding the lobby. Two policeman looked powerlessly at us as one by one we pushed our way through the turnstiles to the train. After getting to the concourse, we waited about five minutes in anticipation for the doors of the train doors to open. Once the doors opened- madness erupted. Pushing, shoving, screaming- the students scrambled into the cart. Students stood on the seats. Students sat on the ground. Students stood shoulder to shoulder in a jam packed carriage. That is only the beginning though. As soon as the train started moving, chaos took over. Kids started banging on the windows and roofs. Whistles and cowbells were ringing in the air. Kids clapped and chanted to “Let’s go Braintree!” You would bump into the person next to you with every turn. Drunken teenagers swayed back and forth. Some kids were even smoking in my cart. Kids fell on top of one another. A window was smashed in. One boy threw up. We were sweating like it was a 100 degree summer day. It reeked of beer, smoke, and teenage body odor. Everyone stuck their head out the door for the sweet release of fresh air at every stop. Commuters stood wide eyed outside of our cart, irritated that they were going to have to wait for another train to arrive unless they wanted to get vomited on by some intoxicated sophomore.

This behavior continued on until we got to Downtown Crossing. There, Wamp Nation sprinted to the Orange Line. Boston Police officers yelled at us to quiet down, otherwise they would not let us on the train. But it was too late – the doors already opened and in swarmed the Wamps. One woman sat helplessly in the cyclone of blue and white, trying hard to ignore the kid next to her smoking an e-cigarette and the girl in front of her blowing a whistle every five seconds. There was no right or wrong on the Wamp Train. It was just mob mentality from Braintree to the TD Garden.

This was just on one train cart. There were several others that were worse off than this one. A rumored seven windows were broken, five arrests were made, and there were a whole lot of Bostonians a little more than vexed at Wamp Nation.

So how can we stop this madness from happening again in the coming years?

The answer is that there needs to be more enforcement. Part of the reason why all of the vandalism occurred in the first place was because there was no one to stop the kids from doing it. If we station one or two policeman on each “Wamp Train,” students will be less tempted to commit these mob mentality based crimes. They will be intimidated and will not want to draw a policeman’s attention to themselves.

That being said, Braintree High School needs to address the problem directly to the students. We should not have been rewarded with a pep rally after what happened four days prior to it. I understand that its point was to recognize the girl’s winter sports accomplishments, and it was trying to make the best out of a bad situation, but we should reward those teams independently for their hard work – not the whole school. In reality, students just viewed the pep rally as a way to get rid of the last fifteen minutes of their classes on Friday. Mr. Lee needs to announce something over the loudspeaker, or call a school assembly, and explain why what happened is so unacceptable. There is no doubt that the individuals who broke the MBTA windows and the individuals who got arrested deserve to be punished- but there is a lot more to the story of the Wamp Train than a few misdemeanor crimes. There are still going to be a lot of students who deserve to be penalized who will go unpunished. If we increase enforcement on the T and address the issue to the student body, we will be able to stop this town tragedy from happening again.

Nicholas Vaughn is a student in Advanced Placement English Language and Composition