by Gerald Boerner
Today’s historical event is offered more as a disincentive rather than as a model. Stories glamorizing the gangster groups that ran wild during 20s and 30s, like Bonnie and Clyde, abound. They make great stories for movies. They offer opportunities to compare their exploits with legendary characters like Robin Hood. But these gangsters were at best “bad people” and at worst sociopaths.
During the Prohibition and Great Depression of the early 20th century, these opportunists made the best of the trade in illegal alcohol, prostitution, gambling, and bank robbery. In many cases, as with Bonnie and Clyde, this also included the murder of innocent people and attacks against the institutions of our city, state, and federal governments.
Our examination of Bonnie and Clyde today is not intended to glamorize them, but to present the essential facts about their lives, behaviors, and misdeeds. The consequences of their actions resulted in their brutal murders by authorities; they did not get to abuse our court system to avoid or delay justice.
That is not to say that the people, police, state, or whomever should take the law into their own hands, but it does reflect upon the consequences of breaking the law. GLB
“Americans accept that gangsters are running the government.”
— Tim Robbins
“I decided that if the police couldn’t catch the gangsters, I’d create a fellow who could.”
— Chester Gould
“The great nations have always acted like gangsters, and the small nations like prostitutes.”
— Stanley Kubrick