A little bit before 10 p.m. on July 13, 2013, Kelly Brown Douglas’s phone started buzzing with texts. The verdict in the case of the state of Florida vs. George Zimmerman—who was charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin—was in. Douglas ’79, a religion professor at Baltimore’s Goucher College and an Episcopalian priest, turned on the TV and watched in stunned silence as Zimmerman was exonerated.
They’re called “phreakers,” and they can do with a phone what hackers can do with computers. Few were more skilled—or more feared—than Matt Weigman, a blind teenager from East Boston. Using his heightened senses, he made himself untouchable. What he lacked, the FBI says, was the good sense to know when to hang up.
Boston has no shortage of nonprofit groups. The provocative question at the heart of venture capitalist John Simon’s GreenLight Fund—which cribs the best initiatives from around the country and imports them here—is whether we have the ones we really need to solve the city’s problems.