- Politics and Social Issues
John Gotti Lost a Prison Fight -- So What!!??
Here's the issue:
In 1996, after being incarcerated for four years, John Gotti, the convicted head of New York's Gambino crime family, got into an altercation with a black inmate. After the two exchanged heated words, the inmate, one Walter Johnson, punched Gotti in the face and knocked him to the ground.
Ok, this type of thing happens in prisons all the time. After all, prisons are filled with violent, anti-social persons who are quick to use their fists (among other things) to settle disputes and exact revenge.
And most of the time, the public rarely hears about these incidents. But since it was John Gotti who was involved (and not John Q felon), it automatically became a hot story.
And to a lot of people, especially ones on internet message forums and on Youtube!, there seemed to be something "weak" or "shameful" about a big, bad, tough mob boss getting beaten up in the can.
After all, "Johnny Boy" Gotti was known for being a tough guy who was good with his fists.
Growing up, Gotti had plenty of "rumbles" on the streets of New York. And as a "goodfella in training," Johnnie Boy was known for his quick temper and fast fists, a guy who was used to collect "bad" debts or "encourage" debtors to pay up!
Heck, even after becoming boss of the Gambino's, Gotti was arrested for assault and battery after getting into fisticuffs over a parking spot.
So, of course, John Gotti had a reputation as being a tough guy. And by all intents and purposes, he was a tough, hard man; he wasn't what you would call, using a term Gotti liked to use, a "lay down Sally."
But still, the almighty John Gotti lost a prison fight jn Marion federal penitentiary to a convicted bank robber and suddenly Gotti was a "punk," a "wannabe," a "poser."
But here's the thing: even tough guys lose fights and get beaten up. If a tough guy loses a fight, does he cease being a tough guy?
Mike Tyson lost to Buster Douglas, then he lost to Evander Holyfield. Was he not a tough guy because he lost?
Holyfield lost before fighting Tyson as well as after. So what? Both guys regrouped and resumed doing what they were good at: kicking butt!
As far as John Gotti goes, I'm not defending the guy's criminal exploits or trying to elevate him into something that he was not: he was a gangster, a criminal, a thug.
But I can give him his due as a tough guy and as a guy who took his prison sentence without whining, ratting, or breaking. Him getting beaten up in a prison fight doesn't erase anything about Gotti.
And another thing to remember is this: John Gotti was nearly 56-years-old when he was assaulted by his attacker, who happened to be much bigger than Gotti and much younger (28). So, it wasn't exactly an evenly-matched fight!
And being true to his tough guy "mobster" code, Gotti refused to rat on his attacker. He told the prison authorities that he "fell down." John took his lumps just like he did his life in prison sentence: without complaining!
The fact that Gotti reached out to the violent Aryan Brotherhood prison gang to exact vengeance on his attacker means that Gotti's venom still ran strong and he was ready to meet a challenge, an affront, any way he could.
John Gotti was a gangster, a killer, a robber, and a thief. But he was, without a doubt, a genuine tough guy!