Today the newspapers have been filled with the story of the arrest of the reputed Boston Mobster, James “Whitey” Bulger in California. He has been on the lam for sixteen years.
Whitey Bulger was a legendary figure in South Boston (“Southie”).
“Southie” used to be a predominately Irish community, with enormous rates of poverty.
“Whitey” was viewed there as a Robin Hood character – stealing from the rich to give to the poor.
Even today (June 23rd 2011) I heard one old Southie man say “he never let people go hungry”.
And a young Southie woman said “He’s 82 years old, they should have left him alone. I am sure that he has changed. I am sure”
But it is entirely clear that this semi-folk hero was capable of abominably vicious, cruel, and murderous behaviour.
Today’s news surprised me. I had thought that James Bulger was either dead, or that he was beyond the reach of the law in some remote or obscure place.
I give kudos to the FBI which, overcoming past and documented corruption in the Whitey Bulger case, acted like the RCMP and “got their man”.
If you are interested in the Southie story I urge you to purchase the following. It’s a sad, truthful and poignant story of Southie and Whitey Bulger. (It’s a tale which both increased my understanding, and made me weep.)
Here is a review of the book.
Here is the first chapter.