It was on this day in 1947 that one of the most infamous men in the world died: Al Capone. As a youth, I grew up with Capone - figuratively, that is. I grew up in Berwyn, Illinois, the nextdoor neighbor of Cicero, a suburb of Chicago and Capone's base of operations during the Roaring Twenties. My father grew up in Cicero, however, during Capone's heyday. When he was 18 years-old, my father was 6'2", well built, and had slick black hair. He also carried a violin case - he was a musician in Chicago's Civic Orchestra.
"I was such a dummy, in those days," he said. "I didn't know why people were cutting a swathe for me when I walked down the street."
Yes, the era was terrifying when Capone ruled. He preyed on vulnerable people and took their money because they needed liquor and partying to ease the pain of the Great Depression. He killed off rivals and gave Elliott Ness and the FBI nightmares. He was outrageously arrogant and flaunted himself in front of the authorities because he was careful in his deals.
But not careful enough: with all the murders and the racketeering, Ness and the FBI finally , nailed him - on income tax evasion. H was sent to Alcatraz. All of the inmates hated his arrogance. Once he was stabbed. When e was released, he had no more influence in the mob. Times had changed. He died of a heart attack (brought on by syphillis contracted as a youth).
Then a new kind of gangster appeared: saavy and less flamboyant. Men like Tony Accardo and Sam Giancana lived relatively quiet, more sedate lives. They were, however, just as deadly as Capone.
Where are our gangsters today? Those men of quiet control who had more money than God? It's interesting to note a slight parallel between gangsters and televangelists: their flamboyant lifestyles speak of the power they have over vulnerable people.Now, the only way to curb them is to investigate their finances. Will they be chastised in any way?
Many of them are morphing into "prosperity" mega-churches. Their head honcho is a man who resides in Colorado Springs.