Saturday, October 8, 2011

Gangs of the 20's, 30's, and Today

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1) Describe the gangs of the 10s. Why did they come about? What were they selling? What were the weapons they used? Where were they located?

Gangs had already been in existence but in different forms. Originally, they were mostly bands of cowboy outlaws that were known for robbing banks and trains. These gangs were located out in the “wild west”, not in the urban cities, such as New York and Chicago, as the new, modernized gangs were now mainly located.

The Prohibition (Eighteenth) Amendment, which prohibited the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors was the main reason that the gangs of the “0s” came about. It brought into being a new kind of criminal�the bootlegger. Prohibition ended the legal sale of liquor and thereby created a demand for an illicit supply. The young men who became involved in these groups were against the idea of alcohol being made illegal. So, the men banded together into gangs and decided to take the unlawful way around the whole ordeal and began their own bootlegging businesses. They also started up their own speakeasies. The Prohibition Amendment was supposed to decrease the violence and alcohol related diseases and deaths, however, the rise of violence and deaths increased by extreme numbers int the thirteen years of its existence.

Alcohol was the main issue of gangsters in the 10s but opium drugs and marijuana were also being sold or exchanged. Gangs involved themselves in other illegal areas as well. Gambling rackets, prostitution, labor racketeering, loan-sharking, and extortion are just some of the other operations that occupied their time.

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To defend themselves against the police and other intruding gangs they outfitted themselves with pretty tough weapons. The Tommy machine gun and the Assault Rifle were just a couple of dangerous weapons they used.

) What were the characteristics of the gang members? What were their ages? Their attitudes towards killing people? The gang bosses?

Most of these men were older teenagers or men in their twenties. Al Capone started in the “gang” business when he was about 6 years old. Johnny Torrio became the leader of the James Street Boys gang and allied them with the Five Points Gang in 104 when he was years old. Albert Anastasia joined Giuseppe Masserias gang when he was only 18.

These young men were really good at handing out violence. They had no problem with taking other men’s lives. To me, the reasons for these killings (alcohol and drugs) were not worth killing someone over. It just doesn’t make sense. It amazes me at how easily and violently they killed one another back then.

Gang bosses were held in high esteem. They were also the most sought after by the police and other gangs. The gangs wanted to hit the gang bosses because if they did then they would have hit the center, the heart of the gang. Normally the gang boss was the person who established the gang or who had been given the position by the founder. They were the main leader and that’s why they were so sought after.

)What role did the police and government play in the 10s? How did the average person view the gangs/gangsters/bosses?

The police and government didn’t play much of a role in the 10s because at this time the police officers were easily able to be bribed and therefore were willing to stay out of the gang affairs. Most men were against prohibition and therefore supported what the gangsters were doing. They were making it possible for the police officers to obtain the alcohol they needed. Over time, government officials began to see that the citizens as a majority did not agree and like the Prohibition Amendment that was established. They began to change their views on it and started asking for it to be divested.

4) Describe how these gangs influence us today?

Like all gangs, these influence us by just existing. At the time they had a major influence of the politics and some major labor unions. Today, they affect us by being able to compare them to the gangs of today. Like I stated previously, gangs of this form really started and took off in the 10s. They pretty much set the standard for the gangs of today.

1) What were the gangs like in th 10s? How old were these criminals? Who were they? What did they do? Why did they come about?

The gangs from the “0s” to the thirties didn’t change much. The ages stayed somewhat the same and the violence in which they fought hardly changed at all. They still fought with extreme fierceness. Some aspects stayed the same but the motives altered slightly. Their main focus wasn’t alcohol anymore, it was banks. The depression hit in 1 and money was the issue now. They came about because they needed money and stealing from banks was the only way they were going to get any money, what with the depression going on and all.

John Dillinger was the most famous of all U.S. bank robbers, whose short career of robberies and escapes from June 1 to July 14 won media headlines. Dillinger twice barely escaped FBI entrapments and shootouts in Minnesota and Wisconsin. His end came through a trap set up by the FBI, Indiana police, and one Anna Sage, a friend and brothel madam. This well-publicized “lady in red” drew Dillinger to the Biograph Theatre in Chicago, where, on emerging, he was shot to death.

Another well-known “0s” gangster was Lucky Luciano. At the age of 10, he was already involved in mugging, shoplifting, and extortion; in 116 he spent six months in jail for selling heroin. Out of jail, he teamed up with Frank Costello and Meyer Lansky and other young gangsters; he earned his nickname “Lucky” for success at evading arrest and winning craps games. In 10 he joined the ranks of New Yorks rising crime boss, Joe Masseria, and by 15 had become Masserias chief lieutenant, directing bootlegging, prostitution, narcotics distribution, and other rackets. In October 1 he became the rare gangster to survive a “one-way ride”; he was abducted by four men in a car, beaten, stabbed repeatedly with an ice pick, had his throat slit from ear to ear, and was left for dead on a Staten Island beach�but survived. He never named his abductors. (Soon after, he changed his name to Luciano.)

) Compare and contrast the gangs of the 10s to the 10s.

The gangs of the “0s and the “0s were a lot a like. When you think about it there wasn’t much to separate them. The ages of the men participating in the gangs had relatively stayed the same. They were also using the same violent tactics they had used just a decade ago. Some of the gangsters had started in the “0s” but just hadn’t gotten big until the “0s.”

However, the most important difference was that they were taking part of the gangs for totally different reasons than before. In the “0s” it was about the Prohibition issue, in the “0s” it was about attaining money and the easiest way to do that was to rob banks. Another change was that the police started to crack down during the “0s” so the gangsters had to be more careful about what they said and what they did. Unlike when they could just bribe the police, they now were out to get you. Location of the gangs changed too. Now, the gangs were not just primarily located in Chicago and New York, they were spread around, out into the mid-west. Their different kind of work didn’t allow them to stay in one place, they had to move around or they would get caught.

) What role did th police and government have with these gangs? How did the public view these gangs?

The police and government got much more involved in the “0s” than in the “0s”. The reason for this was that money was now getting stolen and this was becoming a much more important problem than that of the Prohibition matter of the last decade.

In the 10s police were mainly dealing with alcohol and its distribution. Like I said, many of the police officers were alcohol consumers and were willing to turn their backs to the gangs related crimes. But, this new motive was more illegal and had no benefit to the police officers, therefore, they were more apt to do their jobs.

Although these gangs were going around killing people as they robbed banks, the public viewed these gangs as a diversion of what was going on with the Depression. They followed the criminals stories and adventures. The public felt they suffered a loss when one of the notorious gangs were captured and tried.

4) How have these 10s gangs influenced us today?

Again, they have influenced us by appearing in our entertainment today.

1)How are the gangs of today different from the early gangs? Similar? Give four similarities and four differences.

Gangs of today have changed in many ways and at the same time always sharing some similarities.

One difference between gangs of today and gangs back then was now there are just about the same number of women involved in gangs as men. Back in the “0s” and “0s” there was rarely an existence where women were involved in the violent atmosphere of gang life. Today, women are out there to get into the action and get involved just as eagerly as men.

The ages have changed slightly as well. Today, you can find practically little children running around in gang relations. Whereas back in the time, gang members usually stayed around the age of 0 or a little older.

Today, gangs like to express themselves artistically. Gang members are now recognized by tattoos and/or their dress. Gangs sometimes give themselves symbols that they post around their area. There are other methods they use to give their groups identification also.

The reasons for joining gangs have changed drastically. In the past individuals joined to get a part of the action, whether that be with bootlegging or bank robbing, the group members then were looking for a economic income. Today, it seems that gangs have nothing better to do than just band together and cause trouble, kill people, and act like families.

This one of the things that have stayed the same throughout the years of gang existence. All the gangs have considered themselves members of a “family”. I would say that, that is a weird idea of a family, but then that is sometimes all the family these young people have, only each other.

) What did you notice about the average age of gang members today? Why the change in age?

The ages of gang members has seemed to have gotten lower and lower as the years went by. Today they are little kids joining these terrible past times. The question is why, why are these little children joining these gangs? Well, I believe it’s because of the influence these children are being exposed to. Normally gangs are in the city and that calls for close proximity. The kids can look out their windows and see the gang violence going on.

Another horrible fact, is that most of the time these kids have been raised by gang associated parents. In this case, the children are being exposed to gang operations right within their homes.

Movies and video games are another big influence on children. They have gotten so violent throughout the years it’s no wonder children think it okay to kill. Most movies, when they involve gangs, idolize the gang members and try to make them look cool. Children like to mimic their role models and act like them. Children in gangs...who let this happen?

) Why is it hard to get out of gangs?

It is extremely hard to get out of gangs once you have been a member because of a few reasons.

I think the main reason is that when you are a part of a gang, you know what’s going on or what did happen. Gangs who cause trouble make up almost the whole entire group. Therefore, if you are part of a group when they do something, then you will obviously know about it. This causes problems, especially when you want to get out of the gang. The other gang members don’t trust you to not narc on them and thus not letting you out.

Also, if you are trying to get out of something that has had a big impact on your life, it’s going to be tough. When you live in the city, there are people all around you and normally that includes “your” gang. If you try to get away from participating and leave the group it may be hard. Particularly when you pass your gang members or the place where your gang used to meet. You are going to get tempted to go back and be apart of it. If you have made really close friends within the group, it’s going to be hard to leave them. Unless you can convert them, you will get persuaded to come back to the gang.

While being a member of the gang, if you acquired tattoos to identify you with a gang, you are going to have those little reminders with you everyday. You can have them removed, but that is expensive and painful.

So much is affected when you enter a gang. Your whole life is changed. You have to be aware of what is going on, you need to see that gang life isn’t left just on the street. It comes with you into your house and with you to your job. It can affect the people you love most. You need to be very careful, gangs are not the nicest group to deal with.

4) Compare the involvement of police/gov’t today to the “0s” and “0s”. Is it the same? Different? How has the citizens attitudes changed/remained the same? Why might that be?

The police and government in the 10s didn’t hardly exert themselves in stopping the gang violence. In the 10s, they started to pick it up and get involved, but only if the gang had stolen something. They didn’t seem to be too concerned about the violence. Then today police are trying to do everything they can to stop the violence that is killing innocent people.

The citizen’s attitudes have changed a great deal too. Back in the “0s” and “0s” gangs were looked on as entertainment. People looked forward to the stories that were printed so boldly in the newspaper. Today however, people are terrified of gangs and wish them extinct. Gangs of today are sometimes even more violent for no reason. They kill so many innocents.

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