Crime Causation Al Capone The ultimate symbol of gangster rule is a man by the name of Alphonse Capone, nicknamed Al Capone, who dominates the Chicago underworld and commits crimes such as illegal gambling, prostitution, and alcohol during prohibition. Capone’s life of gang activation began at a very young age and created a multi-million dollar empire of crimes in Chicago. He has been referred to as one of the most notorious criminals of all time. (Stockdale 45).
He was a smart businessman, a good family man, and a generous person who lived a life full of murders and other crimes. His father, Gabriele Capone, was a barber that lived in Naples, Italy, who decided to escape the rural life for the promise of work in the new world. He was one of the 43,000 Italians who arrived in the U.S. in 1894 (Stockdale 7-8). Gabriele was 30 years old, as were his 27-year-old wife, Teresina, and their three sons. He was planning to start a barbershop when he got to America. On January 14, Teresina gave birth to their fourth son, named Alphonse Capone (Bardsley 2). The Capone family lived a very normal life with its barbershop in an Italian district in South Brooklyn. This move exposed Capone to a different kind of life on the streets. He became a member of a junior gang called the Forty Thieves Juniors, which taught its members the art of petty vandalism.
The gang taught the use of violence to get what they want. When he was 14 years old, Al Capone got expelled from school and never went back after hitting a teacher. By this time, Al Capone was destined to live a life of crime (Stockdale 9-11). By the time he was 14 years old, he was an experienced street fighter and had learned how to use a knife and gun successfully. He became a good leader of the junior gang and was introduced to the Five Points Gang in Brooklyn. Al Capone was 16 years old when he was introduced to prostitution, gambling, and extortion (Schoenberg 23–25). Al Capone worked at the Harvard Inn as a bouncer. One night, he tried to pick up a woman that he found attractive, not knowing that her brother was sitting next to her. Her brother jumped up and hit Capone in the face. When Capone became enraged, the other man pulled out a knife and slashed Capone’s face before he fled the Harvard Inn with his sister.This is how All Capone earned his nickname, Scarface (Bardsley 7-9). In 1918, Al Capone got married and had a son with his wife, Mae Coughlin. His son was found to have congenital syphilis, and Al Capone admitted that he had syphilis before he got married.
Al Capone got out of the gang life for a little while after his father died of a heart attack on November 14, 1920. After the death of his father, he resumed his relationship with John Torrio. Torrio then decided to move out of Brooklyn for Chicago. Al Capone had threats against his life, so he moved to Chicago with Torrio. (Stockdale 11-13). John Torrio began a new empire in Chicago after the prohibition law was passed. Al Capone became Torrio’s assistant and manager. Torrio started an operation to purchase the entire city government and police departments. He paid off all the officials and political leaders so his new organization had guaranteed noninterference from the authorities (Stockdale 15–19). Al Capone began running the operation when Torrio had to take his mother back to Italy. Capone helped politicians win elections by kidnapping opponents and threatening voters with violence (Bardsley 14–16). By this time, Al Capone had committed many murders but had not been charged for any of them.
The victims were afraid to speak out because they feared for their lives. Shortly after Torrio came back from Italy, he was shot and almost died. He recovered from this incident and decided to retire from the gang community. He gave full control of the gang in Chicago to Al Capone (Stockdale, 19–21). In Chicago, there was an intense rivalry between gangs that was growing. Each gang was trying to eliminate itself by killing its members. Anytime Al Capone was suspected of a murder, he went into hiding until the situation died down. Al Capone succeeds in making peace with what’s left of the rival gangs (Bardsley 24–26). Al Capone was a very giving person and did many generous things for this community. He made many contributions for the less fortunate, opening soup kitchens for the poor and purchasing food and fuel for families in the winter. His business employs thousands of people, including many poor Italian immigrants.
He paid them very well and took care of them. It was reported that his gross income from all his businesses in 1927 was 100 million dollars (Schoenburg 282-282). Even though he has a ruthless business in hand, he finds time to give back to the community and make public appearances. Unemployed people did not care that the money he gave them was made illegally; to them, money was money. People were in depression at the time, and they were fortunate enough to receive a little something, even though it came illegally. On February 14, 1927, two of Capone’s men, including his hitman McGurn, entered a garage where his rival gang, Moran, and some of his guys were said to be located. The team was dressed in police uniforms and armed with machine guns and shotguns. They shot down seven of Moran’s men, but Moran was never there. The police and all the people of Chicago knew the murders were ordered by Capone. But with no evidence, Capone could not be arrested.
Ever since the St. Valentine’s Day massacre, Al Capone has been known as the most famous gangster of the 1920s. The publicity surrounding the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre was the most any gang event had ever received. It was the only local publicity at that moment that gained national media attention. Capone was immediately noticed by the national media, and writers all over the country began to write books on him (Bergreen 28–31). Now Capone was known all over the United States, and people now knew who he was and what he had done in Chicago. Al Capone was a good influence on many other smaller gangsters as a good influence to them.Capone revealed his newfound celebrity status and used Damon Runyo as his press agent (Bergreen 35–36). Because Capone’s intention was to draw President Herbert Hoover’s attention, all of the publicity had done him harm.President Hoover wanted Al Capone in jail, and he directed all the federal agencies to concentrate on Al Capone and his allies. A few days later, Capone was called before a grand jury in Chicago, but he did not understand the seriousness of the powerful forces that were gathering against him.
In June 1930, after an exhaustive investigation by the federal government, Al Capone was indicted for income tax evasion. One of the most notorious criminals of the 20th century, murder of innumerable people imprisoned for tax evasion (American Decades CD-room). The jury found Al Capone not guilty on eighteen of the twenty-three counts. The judge sentenced him to 10 years in federal prison and one year in county jail. In May 1930, Capone was sent to Atlanta, the toughest of the Federal Prisons, to begin his eleven-year sentence. In prison, Capone took control, getting special privileges from the authorities such as furnishing his cell with a mirror, typewriter, rugs, and a set of the Encyclopedia Britannica. Capone took control because of the wealth he still had. The word spread that Capone had taken over in Atlanta, so he was sent to Alcatraz. Alcatraz prison was so tight that he had no knowledge of the outside world. Al Capone was unable to control anyone or buy influence or friends.While in Alcatraz, he exhibited signs of syphilitic dementia. Capone spent the rest of this felony sentence in the hospital.
Capone spent his last year in the hospital, and on January 6, 1939, his prison sentence expired, and he was transferred to Terminal Island, a federal correctional institution in California, to serve his one-year misdemeanor sentence. He was finally released on November 16, 1939. Capone returned to this home on Palm Island and spent the rest of his life relaxed and quiet. On January 21, 1947, he had a stroke but regained consciousness and began to improve until pneumonia hit Capone. Then a few days later, on January 25, he died of a heart attack. On February 4, his body was buried in Chicago; however, the location of his grave became a popular tourist attraction, so the body was relocated to an unnoticed location in Mount Carmel Cemetery.My Jesus Mercy (Bergreen 605-609) was written on his tombstone.Al Capone was a notorious and intelligent gangster. He used his fame not only to accumulate wealth but also to help people and gain influence in all walks of life. I do not know what causes criminal behavior, but if we put two famous criminals side by side and explain their childhoods, maybe we can get close to an answer.
For example, Al Capone and Charles Manson were two different personalities, but they were both dangerous criminals. Capone and Manson grow up in different environments that are decisive to the development of their characters. Capone had a family but became involved with the wrong people in his adolescence, which, in my opinion, led him to his life of criminal behavior. Manson, on the other hand, had been a messed-up individual since day one. His mother was sent to prison for armed robbery and tried to get Manson in a foster home, but the courts refused and sent him to Gibault School for Boys, where he was always angry. Arthur L. Beeley explains that experience has shown that human beings are basically prone to theft and violence.
In pre-civilized societies, however, sooner or later sanctions evolve that forbid and punish predatory behavior. These morals are calculated to protect the individual in his right to property ownership and the inviolability of his personality. He also explains that in complex urban cultures, such as those of the West, and especially in societies like ours that experience periods of rapid social change, the traditional moral sanctions and the social institutions that define and enforce them tend to become ineffective in controlling the anti-social tendencies of their members. In my opinion, criminal behavior has everything to do with our childhood; if the human race is prone to theft and violence, the only way to stop this behavior is to teach our children how to be good citizens when they grow up. If all the parents teach their children how to be good citizens and follow the rules of society, maybe the tendency toward criminal behavior will end one day.
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