Today, Mafia families in former strongholds like Cleveland [!!!], Los Angeles and Tampa are gone.** La Cosa Nostra—our thing, as its initiates called the mob—is in serious decline everywhere but New York City. And even there, things aren’t so great: Two of New York’s five crime families are run in absentia by bosses behind bars.
The Mafia’s ruling Commission has not met in years. Membership in key cities is dwindling, while the number of mob turncoats is soaring.
“You arrest 10 people,” says one New York FBI agent, “and you have eight of them almost immediately knocking on your door: `OK, I wanna cut a deal.'”
The oath of omerta—silence—has become a joke. Ditto for the old world “Family” values—honor, loyalty, integrity—that served as cornerstones for an organization brought to America by Italian immigrants during the era of Prohibition.
“It’s been several generations since they left Sicily,” says Dave Shafer, head of the FBI organized crime division in New York. “It’s all about money.”
Which doesn’t mean the Mafia is dead. But organized crime experts say the Italian mob is seriously wounded: shot in the foot by its own loudmouth members, bloodied by scores of convictions, and crippled by a loss of veteran leaders and a dearth of capable replacements.
“Mob informant” was once an oxymoron, but today the number of rats is enormous—and growing with each indictment. And the mob’s storied ability to exact retribution on informants is virtually nonexistent.
“There is no more secret society,” says Matthew Heron, the FBI’s Organized Crime Section Chief in Washington.
“In the past, you’d start out with the lowest level and try to work your way up,” Heron continues. Now “it’s like playing leapfrog. You go right over everybody else to the promised land.”
How tragic is this? I mean, you know, from a mythical, ‘badass of the streets’ standpoint. Who are the rappers gonna look up to now?
Just in case they need a reminder of how it’s done, here’s some vintage Michael Corleone, one of the baddest mob bosses to ever grace the screen. Remember this scene where, during the baptism of his sister’s child, he simultaneously implements the execution of the heads of the five families? One of the most coldblooded moments in film, ever.
Aw, what the heck…here he is again, giving his brother Fredo the literal kiss of death. Fredo is officially fucked after this and everybody (but him, perhaps?) knows it.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a fair fight if I didn’t put up a slice of Tony Soprano doing the damn thang, too. There’s nothing sexier than a man who’ll leave some teeth on the floor (as long as they’re not yours, natch). This one’s a little NSFW, so make sure to adjust your volume if you’re at the office. You know Tony and the f-word are pretty much inseparable.
That’s right, beetches, get a mop. What else is there to do? You want some?!!!
*This post was for us, Cort. Nobody loves, or understands, a good mobster like we do.
**On a side note, who the frick knew Cleveland was once a mob stronghold?!?! I certainly didn’t. WTF?!?! I thought it was (fairly) safe here!!!