Gangsters fascinate me. Not the baggy pants, bling, bling wannabes today. I’m talking about the prohibition gangsters from the 1920’s and 30’s.
When I was a kid I found this used paperback at a garage sale and after reading it I was hooked. It was a book about the life of Dutch Schultz, a New York Gangster who was involved in all the usual criminal activities of the time.
Bootlegging beer was how he made most of his money. Dutch was a bartender at a speakeasy and became known for his violent temper and brutality. He eventually became partners with a bar owner named Joey Noe who had been a childhood friend of his. The two of them decided to supply all the beer to their competition…… whether the competition liked it or not.
“Buy our beer or we’ll kick the crap out of you,” was their business model.
Dutch became well known as a guy that you didn’t mess with. He once hung a guy on a meathook by his thumbs and blindfolded him with a gauze bandage smeared with gonorrhea infected discharge.
“Okay Dutch, lighten up, we’ll buy your beer,” is what I would have said.
I love the names of these old gangsters. Most of them had nicknames, like Jack “legs” Diamond. “Baby Face” Nelson and of course “scarface” Al Capone.
The main reason that these gangsters flourished was because a whole wack of “do-gooders” decided that they would outlaw alcohol for everybody in the country. Try that today and the same thing will happen. Oh, wait a second, it is happening. Only this time it’s marijuana that is prohibited and the gangsters are at it again..
Prohibition was bullshit, just like the marijuana prohibition today. It just gives these gangsters a vehicle to make a whole boatload of money. Prohibition never stopped the drinking, it just made it more dangerous.
No doubt about it. Alcohol wrecks a lot of lives but you can’t micro manage the whole goddamned world. Shit’s gonna happen. Gangsters back in the day used to run numbers which is actually just a lottery. Not anymore, the government took it over.
There’s big money in vices. Legalize marijuana and watch that tax money come rolling in, that’s what I say. What the heck is so wrong with baked goods that make you happy. As a matter of fact, the white sugar in brownies causes more damage than the dope.
I think the dope runners of today should have cool nicknames like the old prohibition gangsters. I want to get my smoke from guys like “Lucky” Lamar, “Machine Gun” Mattias or even “Marijuana” Mike, but no, it’s just plain old Lamar, Mike and Mattias. Thanks anyway boys……your gangster names suck, but the product is fantastic. You can’t win them all, I guess.
Back to Dutch Schultz.
He got murdered in 1935 at the age of 33. Probably by another gangster with a really cool nickname.
Note To Children:
Stay in school kids, crime doesn’t pay.
If you want a nickname……try for something like “Mathematics Mike” or “Businessman Bob.” It’s a way better life and you probably won’t end up massacred in a pool of your own blood on a restaurant floor in New Jersey. Unless that’s something that you want, then go for it.
Read up on some prohibition gangsters.