Saturday, April 7, 2012


They proudly answered to the name of mobster, hoodlum, or wiseguy. Notorious gangsters such as Al Capone and Frank Lucas dealt in illegal commodities, convinced they hurt no one.

These men and their henchmen grew rich selling Prohibition liquor from Canada or heroin during the Vietnam War. They took over cities, Chicago or Manhattan, by bribing police, aldermen, even judges.

Often, outlaws were immortalized and ‘goodfellas’ were glamorized. Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker held up gas stations and banks, killing twelve people in the process. A former Texas Ranger, Frank Hamer, had to follow them across nine states before ending their reign in a Louisiana ambush. In such cases, the good guys got justice, while the goodfellas just got dead.

Frank Lucas served time for distributing narcotics, and his stash of two hundred and fifty million dollars was confiscated. Later, he helped convict three-quarters of Manhattan’s Drug Enforcement Agency.

But when a gangster from Harlem, Henry Hill, was arrested for cocaine trafficking, he ratted out the Mafia before entering the Federal Witness Protection Program where, rumor has it, he is living a life of luxury.

Is this proof that crime does not pay, but living on the government’s dime does?


  1. Well, they caught the big boys - or some of them. I wonder how many escaped under the radar? There was something romantic about those old gangsters, but I suppose they were just the same as the punks who hold up gas stations nowadays (they still kill people). Good "G" word!

  2. Very awesome blog!

    I am trying to read all the A to Z blogs, but coming back to the ones I really like.
    Looking forward to seeing what you do all month!

    The Other Side
    The Freedom of Nonbelief

  3. such a cool time! what do we have? scary gangs and drugs!

  4. Somehow the gangsters of then seemed to have more class than the gangsters of the present. It's probably partly do to the glamorization by Hollywood, but there also seems to be more of a culture of thuggery these days.
    I'm not sure about the government's approach to paying off rats or coddling criminals in corrections either one. I'm not sure that we are putting much of a damper on crime.

    A Few Words
    An A to Z Co-host blog

  5. I did a report on Al Capone and the St. Valentines Day massacre back in the day. Love this era. So fascinating.

    Saffron Wine

  6. It always surprises me a bit how much goodfellas are/were glamorized. They were obviously a violent group.

    The Golden Eagle
    The Eagle's Aerial Perspective

  7. You are right about hollywood glamming criminals.
    I think a lot of govt people are criminals. I heard they get inside info and trade on it making substantial profits. Not all of course, but many, and on both sides of the aisle.
    Happy Easter Elizabeth.

  8. Gangsters surely the bad guy glam going on here. Though I dont think it is so much as it is the Hollywood romancing. Gangsters of any ere and age have a hint of seduction I think because someone is always glamourizing them. Like your write.

  9. I think it was because, rightly or wrongly, people felt that'civilians' wouldn't get hurt. Old ladies wouldn't get mugged, little kids wouldn't be offered drugs. Not necessarily true, I know, but that's how it seemed. Now it's as though nobody is safe.

  10. One look at our politicians, a quite a few of them with criminal records and financial scams(reported by the press, not yet by the courts)will show that crime does pay if the public servants are a part of the ring. And the smart manage to pass on the blame to others...its the choice between the devil and the deep sea for the govt, one or two protected criminals or an entire gang behind bars along with corrupt officials.

  11. And yet, we flock to mobster movies, romanticizing this violent slice of life. (However, I'll admit to enjoying a few movies myself.) Then again, I write about murder and chaos.

    Interesting post!

  12. I find this stuff randomly interesting...

  13. It certainly seems that way, the bad guys who confess and turn pidgeon are patted on the hand, and the victims who suffered are waved away.

    So, it would appear. It's difficult to understand because too many officials hide too much information, usually to protect themselves. We never get the full story.

  14. It is true that there was a time when people didn't expect children would be affected by drug sales and bad things wouldn't happen to the elderly. Now, as Sarah stated, anything goes.

    Tim, I can't believe you are reading all the 1500? blogs and returning to some already this month! If I gave out badges, you would receive one!

    Everyone, I will see you at your blog so. Spread the Aloha!


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