Confession: I Would Have Made a Miserable Mobster
I appreciate my wonderful followers so much, that I am going to give you and them fair warning. This hub has no lacy-edges, hummingbirds or walks with the sheep herder’s pretty daughter in a eutopian meadow of yellow flowers.
This hub is rough, violent mentions of violent men and women, and does not take time out for an early American religious hymn where everyone’s voices on stage and in the audience can blend in lovely harmonies. And there will be no tears flowing from anyone’s eyes.
There will be, during the reading of this hub, total literary amazement, gasps of complete-disbelief that one untrained, non-college degreed obscure writer from the hills of rural northwest Alabama could even dream up the text of this piece completely without phoning his friends or what few of his high-class friends would even dare to help him with this project.
Say hello to "Bugsy"
14 YEARS OF "MOB RULE"
The “American mobster era,” 1924 through 1938 spelled violent days and nights; bloodshed from criminals and civilians flowing in the gutters and 14 years of fear for the common man and a flimsy-sense of prosperity enjoyed by the likes of Al Capone, John Dillinger, Baby Face Nelson and Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker, to name a few infamous hoods who ruled Chicago, New York, Boston and other major cities in the United States.
Local cops were helpless as well as the nameless district attorneys who wasted taxpayer monies in arresting these brazen-hoods only to set them free in a court that had no real evidence of their crimes. These were professional criminals in every sense of the word. Trust among the worst of these men and women was a dusty relic and honor was mostly a working tool to gain another hood’s support.
Not only did these henchmen and henchwomen deal illegal booze, but drugs, guns, porno, brothels, gambling and actually got away with it with minor “slaps on their wrists” by police, judges, and officers of the court who were on the criminals’ payroll—and the “arrests” were just for show to keep fearful citizens from voting the court officials out of office.
Hollywood took more than “a lion’s share” of the big bucks made from glamorizing the criminal element in films and later, television shows that were tailor-made pitting good versus evil on a weekly-basis with “good” (only on film) winning the “war on crime.”
In my first meetings with my “friend,” black and white television, I clearly remember cheering for Robert Stack as Eliot Ness and his agents on “The Untouchables,” and other action drama’s that took America like a wildfire in a dry wheat field. Who can forget Edward G. Robinson, “see?” as well as James Cagney who relished in playing the bad guy gang leader dressing “to the nines” and having a different girlfriend for each night of the week?
For me, it was a huge dilemma. Do “I” want to be a gangster or drive a truck when I grow up? All of you have been there and it is not easy to think in these terms when you are between the ages of nine and twelve. So after more television and more gangster-based shows, I arrived at a serious life-conclusion:
A moment with Al Capone
Alphonse Gabriel "Al" Capone ( January 17, 1899 – January 25, 1947) was an American gangster who attained fame during the Prohibition era. His seven-year reign as crime boss ended when he was 33 years old.
Born in the borough of Brooklyn in New York City to Italian immigrants, Capone was a Five Points Gang member who became a bouncer in organized crime premises such as brothels. In his early twenties, he moved to Chicago becoming bodyguard and trusted factotum for Johnny Torrio, head of a criminal syndicate illegally supplying alcohol, and politically protected through the Unione Siciliane. A conflict with the North Side gang was instrumental in Capone's rise and fall, Torrio had been precipitated into retirement after North Side gunmen almost killed him, thereby bringing about Capone's succession. He expanded the bootlegging business through increasingly violent means, but his mutually profitable relationships with mayor William Hale Thompson and the city's police, meant Capone seemed safe from law enforcement. Apparently reveling in the attention, such as the cheers when he appeared at ball games, Capone made donations to various charities and was viewed by many to be a "modern-day Robin Hood". However, the Saint Valentine's Day Massacre of North Siders damaged Chicago's image, leading influential citizens to demand action from central government.
The federal authorities became intent on jailing Capone and prosecuted him for tax evasion in 1931. The case was highly politicized and both prosecutors and judge later received preferment. During prior and ultimately abortive negotiations to pay the government any back tax he owed, Capone had made admissions of his income; the judge deemed these statements could be used as evidence at the trial, and also refused to let Capone plead guilty for a lighter sentence. The effect of such decisions by the judge was added to by the incompetence of Capone's defense attorneys. Capone was convicted and sentenced to a then record breaking 11 years in federal prison. Replacing his old defense team with lawyers expert in tax law, his appeal grounds were strengthened by a Supreme court ruling, but Capone again found his status as a symbol of criminality meant that judges decided in his disfavor. Already showing signs of syphilitic dementia by early in his sentence, he became increasingly debilitated before being released after 8 years. On January 25, 1947, he died from cardiac arrest after suffering a stroke. Capone's conviction had negligible effect on the prevalence of organized crime in Chicago.
I Would Have Made a Miserable Mobster
Here are the heart-breaking reasons why:
- There is no way that I could be as pedantic as Al Capone or John Dillinger. Did you ever see these two or any famous mobster “ever” wearing a shabby wardrobe in public?
- I could never be as gregarious as Bugsy Siegel. What a warm personable man he was when he was not taking a rival mobster’s life for trying to “move in on his turf.”
- I am unable to wear a “poker face” around the clock. Fact: pro-mobsters always look serious. This instills fear in the common folk.
- I have an uncomfortable perspiration problem and if I were a mobster “doing a bank job,” the bank teller would sense my fear and take me out with a good right hook.
- I could not, even if I tried, live on pasta, Pastrami sandwiches, veal with marinara sauce, and red wine. I am a man who likes a grilled burger with chips every now and then.
- If my boss, giving me a test to see if I am loyal, sent me to just take over a betting parlor, one angry look from the owner and I would break down and apologize.
- When I had gained the trust of the higher-up’s in “mobdom,” and they put me in charge of several prostitutes, when the higher-up’s were out of town, I would tell the prostitutes to get out of town . . .you are free and I would give them each $500.00 to show them how sorry that I was for trying to be their pimp.
- I cannot see myself cursing every other word like Robert “Jimmy Conway” DiNaro, Joe ”Tommy DeVito” Pesci and Ray “Henry Hill” Liota in “Goodfellas.” Please, for decency’s sake. Can you at least try to use a clean string of words every once in a while?
- I despise (and cringe) at the thought of shooting a firearm.
- I equally despise (and cringe) at the mere thought of taking a “snitch’s” life.
- I do not see myself as an “enforcer,” an evil mobster who beats people up all day for the mob. And ‘enforcers” do this heinous act to people who owe mobsters huge amounts of money for gambling debts.
- Using “strong arm” tactics to make some influential politician sway their vote in favor of a mob-based construction project is not “my cup of tea.”
- Actually drinking tea is one of my love’s. Drinking whiskey, wine and vodka everyday with the “fellas” is not what I would like. Being a mobster is bad enough without adding alcoholism to the equation.
- If I were a married mobster, do you see me as an adulterer? Talk about guilt.
- Gambling is something that never got my attention. Besides money is too hard to come by to gamble away.
- If I were made to be a “hit man,” in the mob, I would give the person whom I am to “hit” a heads-up for I think the person would appreciate a sporting chance. What would I say to my bosses if I didn’t succeed? “Hey, that guy was half-Jack Rabbit he was so fast in getting away.”
- Mobsters in the old days were known for staying out all night long doing what mobsters do, but with me, I do like to “hit the hay” at a reasonable hour.
- I was raised to have a healthy respect for police officers, so that is a strike against me. Example: If I were having breakfast at a local diner and a uniformed police officer were to stop at my table and say, “Were you on main street around 2 this morning?” I would start stammering and say, “yes,” although I was home fast-asleep for my fear of how rough policemen (and women) can be with mobsters would kick-in instantly.
- Mobsters usually got complimentary dinners, clothes, and cars out of respect by merchants in their town, but I would insist on “paying my way,” for I had much rather have a good friend than a fearful acquaintance.
- My bosses would have problems giving me a mob name. In “Goodfellas,” a mention is made of “Jimmy Two Times,” for he always repeated things, but with me, Kenneth “The Coffee Freak” is not a mob name that commands respect, so there you have it . . . reasons why I did not make being a mobster my place in life.
What about Kenneth “The Ghost”? Huh?
American Mafia Tid-Bit
The American Mafia, an Italian-American organized-crime network with operations in cities across the United States, particularly New York and Chicago, rose to power through its success in the illicit liquor trade during the 1920s Prohibition era. After Prohibition, the Mafia moved into other criminal ventures, from drug trafficking to illegal gambling, while also infiltrating labor unions and legitimate businesses such as construction and New York’s garment industry. The Mafia’s notorious characters such as Al Capone and John Gotti have fascinated the public and become a part of popular culture. During the latter part of the 20th century, the government used anti-racketeering laws to convict high-ranking mobsters and weaken the Mafia. However, it remains in business today.
The American Gangster,
The “war to end all wars” was over, but a new one was just beginning—on the streets of America.
It wasn’t much of a fight, really—at least at the start.
On the one side was a rising tide of professional criminals, made richer and bolder by Prohibition, which had turned the nation “dry” in 1920. In one big city alone— Chicago—an estimated 1,300 gangs had spread like a deadly virus by the mid-1920s.
There was no easy cure. With wallets bursting from bootlegging profits, gangs outfitted themselves with “Tommy” guns and operated with impunity by paying off politicians and police alike. Rival gangs led by the powerful Al “Scarface” Capone and the hot-headed George “Bugs” Moran turned the city streets into a virtual war zone with their gangland clashes. By 1926, more than 12,000 murders were taking place every year across America.
Source: FBI Chronicles
Warren Oates did a tremendous job of being John Dillinger
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