The Mob vs Gangs

This morning after mass I stepped into our parish hall for hospitality. I sat and had coffee with another “old guy” who is just a year younger than me. Bill lives in a community outside of Frankfort named Gateway. It is an over 55 community. He started discussing how he loves it there, and how he has suddenly become allergic to mowing the lawn. Age triggers many allergies you know. He took to hiring a sixteen year old grandson of a resident. The kid cuts a hundred lawns a month at $20 a cut. That is amazing money for a teen ager 20 x 100 = $2000. Our conversation drifted to where we grew up. Bill in the Bridgeport neighborhood, and me in Burnside. We both attended Catholic high schools, Gordon Tech and Mendel. Our sports teams competed against each other.

Our conversation drifted to how the mafia dominated his neighborhood. He told of being in a neighborhood restaurant with his parents when two men dressed in long black overcoats and black fedoras came in. One stood at the door to prevent anyone from coming or going. The other walked through into the kitchen looked at everyone there then moved into the lady’s room to do the same. Finally the guy went into the men’s room to search it. Evidently he didn’t find who he was looking for so the two of them left. “There is no doubt in my mind that the guy they were looking for would have died on the spot,” said Bill. I couldn’t top that story, but it brought to mind that even though we don’t hear about mob killings anymore like when we were kids, we hear about gang killings daily. They are so common we don’t even get upset about them anymore. Then the idea that killing people on the streets is a long time Chicago tradition came to mind. Shooting people on the street has been part of our culture, and has been for almost a hundred years.

The next time I read the shooting count, like this morning, six wounded, one dead, it will just pass like the mob killings of my youth. It isn’t about gun control it is about eliminating bad people within the community. I have to admit, however, that the mob limited killing to their enemies while the gangs will kill anyone in the way. Therefore, they are not the same and I shouldn’t compare the mob to gangs. Gang killing is not just the result of rivalries, it is often a rite of passage. In some cases killing is necessary to prove you are man enough to join a gang.

I also remember that if I had any ideas of joining a street gang to cause trouble, the trouble would have been mine. My Dad would have punished me in a way that hurt long and hard, killing would have been too easy on me.  I truly believe that the current gang problem is the result of kids being raised in fatherless families. There is one thing fathers are good at like dispensing punishment, deprivation, banishment, or some other form of misery to their kids who err. The problem is that mother’s never wait for the father to come home, and they dispense justice immediately. If the job was too big for Mom she relied on the famous standby  “wait until your father gets home.” That wait was enough to make me change my ways.

“Ah, the good old days!”

One Response

  1. I always knew my dad wanted to kill me. He just needed a little nudge. I was careful.

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