|Al Capone--CEO of the Chicago Organization from 1925-1931.|
The Mob Museum in Las Vegas is a must-see destination for anyone who wants to understand the extent of underworld influence in the United States. Every dollar spent on consumer products and/or services in America has a hidden mob tax built into it. The cost of hijacking, extortion, labor racketeering, theft, payoffs, protection, and influence peddling are all factored into the final price of doing business. The main reason the underworld exists is to make large amounts of tax-exempt money for its members who disdain holding a regular full-time job where people have to work for a living. Gangsters consider working people "suckers."
Politicians roundly deny it, but they are addicted to the life blood of politics--dirty money. When we hear about the "deep state," organized crime should be its synonym. "We're even bigger than U.S. Steel," boasted racketeer Meyer Lanksy before government officials.
|The Mob Museum at 300 Stewart Avenue in Downtown Las Vegas.|
My wife and I enjoyed our visit to the Mob Museum. We saw a ten foot section of the actual St. Valentine's Day Massacre wall, replete with bullet holes and many other gangland artifacts including a Thompson machine gun. The museum also offers two interactive law enforcement workshops.
The first workshop was on use of force. We were outfitted with a police utility belt and a 9 mm firearm which shoots electronic impulses that sound and feel real. First, they checked us out on the use of the gun and police procedure, then we did a full-scale video simulation of a convenience store robbery. The goal was to make the thief drop his gun. I was slow on the trigger and the bad guy shot me.
Next, we had a simulation with a real person in a confined space. The guy had a gun and an indignant attitude. He turned and started running. My wife virtually shot him in the back. She felt terrible afterward; the pretend gunman gave her a dirty look which made her feel worse. Knowing when to shoot or not is a split second decision that could result in the death of a suspect or your death. What a sobering object lesson in use of force!
|Fred "Killer" Burke on his way to Marquette Prison.|
The first scientific crime lab in America was established at the University of Chicago in response to the rampant mob warfare in Chicago and the St. Valentine's Day Massacre in particular. Investigators were able to match the bullets from the St. Valentine's Massacre to test bullets fired from two Thompson machine guns belonging the Fred "Killer" Burke placing him at the scene. The same "choppers" were used in the assassination of New York mafioso Frankie Yale and the Milaflores Massacre in Detroit which cut down three men.
We also were able to do some DNA matching which doesn't help me on my current project but was fascinating nonetheless. I passed on the simulated cadaver investigation exhibit, but my wife--a former nurse--was all over it. I can recommend both workshops. The rest of the museum tells the narrative of organized crime in America and internationally.
Gangsters have fascinated Americans since the early 1930s when Hollywood produced the film Little Caesar with Edward G. Robinson, followed closely by Scarface with Paul Muni and real-life former gangster George Raft. Warner Brothers Pictures specialized in the crime genre that launched the careers of James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart. Later actors to benefit from this public fascination with the mob are Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra, Robert Deniro, Joe Pesci, Ray Liotta, Al Pacino, and many others. With the advent of cable television, the popularity of crime films and true crime programming continues today and shows no signs of abating.
|"I'm innocent. I didn't see nothin'."|