The Hyping of Whitey and Thoughts Upon Gangsters:

I have finished my rough draft of the my book on the 100 gangster murders that occurred in Boston in between 1956 and 1976. I now have to go back over it and send it out to some others for them to look at and comment on. Then I hope that I can make it available for others to read.

I’m not sure many care about these things but I felt the need to do it because I sought to have a foundation from which to launch into my tale of the hyping of an ordinary brutal criminal into a super criminal which could only happen in the small world of Boston. Looking at the other murders while writing my book allowed me to stand  back from the Whitey Bulger craze.

I can only wonder at how naïve the people are. There was no one in the Boston media who took a critical or objective view of what was happening in the crime scene in Boston? Or, was it not naivete but a deliberate attempt to accomplish a hidden object by making a mountain out of a mole hill.

The hyping of this low-life gangster went from those on the far right such as Howie Carr and Alan Dershowitz to those on the far left such as the Globe reporters and Alan Dershowitz. Did I say Dershowitz was on the far right and the far left? I suppose I did. He is the type of guy who wants to stick his unpleasant visage in the public’s eye and will join any cause that provides such a forum.

But as for Howie Carr, I’m not sure he was naive – he was more crafty – he had decided making a particular politician into the personification of evil was the best way to get a good following of haters. He understood that one way to do that was to elevate the purely local hoodlum into a monster criminal. Carr was a guy who always lived off the appeal to people’s most racist tendencies. Do you remember him playing the Mexican music when he read off the named of Latinos that appeared on the police blotter?  Does he still? Or is it now unnecessary because of his “you know where I stand” wink at others.

One thing my book showed me is that birds of a feather stick together. Almost all of the guys that were murdered in the Boston Gangster Wars had association with other gangsters. Many of their associations began at the places our wilder friends would go off to when they disappeared from the neighborhood. Sort of like the well-off kids from the suburbs who would go to boarding schools. Only the schools our wilder friends went to were not named Philips something or other, Exeter, or Groton but had more homey names  such as Shirley or Lyman.

Whenever you see a gangster you find the people he (there is an occasional she such as Dorothy Barchard) hangs around with are other gangsters. That’s often why recycling them in and out of prison has so little effect on them. They have plenty of friends no matter where they are.

What was one of the big, big, surprises during the Whitey revelations was that one of the groups that found a common bed with the gangsters was the FBI. It was not that J. Edgar Hoover was in his dotage when he decided he would join up with gangsters. He died in 1972 after being the head of it for 48 years at age 77. He decided to partner with the gangsters ten or so years earlier in he beginning of the 1960s. It was one of the worst decisions he ever made yet for some reason the FBI continues to this day to do so. Maybe since so many people now object to naming the new FBI building after Hoover they can call it the Top Echelon Informant Home.




4 thoughts on “The Hyping of Whitey and Thoughts Upon Gangsters:

  1. Hi Matt:
    Boston Gangster Wars sounds like a decent title. But if you’re writing for a general audience, working Whitey into the title makes more sense. A brief sketch of Boston would help explain the culture that produced our gangsters. I think exploding the Bulger myth is a great theme. Good luck!

    1. Dan:

      That’s a good suggestion working Whitey into the title which I’ll consider but he had so little to do with the gangster killings during this time it might be a real stretch. But I agree with you it would attract more people. Thanks.

  2. Hi Matt and thanks for your well written article.

    1. In your opinion what was the reason for Flemmi refusing to be inducted into the Patriarca crime family? When many of his criminal contemporaries such as the Salemme brothers did join.

    2. What is your understanding of the former Boston police detective William Stuart, as I read that he was one of those who was indicted for the William Bennett’s murder?

    3. How were Poulos, Daddieco and Sonny Shields connected to the Roxbury Group?

    1. David:

      1. That’s a good question. For one thing we don’t know for sure whether he was a member of the Mafia or not. They don’t keep any record books and Flemmi is a notorious liar. If he wasn’t, it must have been because he felt no need for it. He wasn’t a North End guy and was more a South End/Roxbury guy. He was part of Wimpy Bennett’s crew along with his brother Jimmy who also as best we know was not a Mafia guy. I recall that he did have some trouble with Larry Baione according to his debriefing. He had a $3000 numbers hit through a Baione bookie who got arrested so he went to collect and ended up in a fight. He did though at least have good relationships with it; he gave the FBI the layout of Jerry Angiulo’s office so the bugs could be planted there. He also had the information on Vanessa’s at the Prudential Center and the mob induction ceremony that was bugged. I’d suggest it a toss up whether the was a member or not.

      2. Billy Stuart used to direct traffic down at State Street and Congress Street when I practiced law in Boston and I would nod at him when I crossed the street. He’d smile back. He seemed like a nice guy. Later rumors told otherwise. He was indicted as an accessory after the fact to the murder of Billy Bennett, the third of the Bennett brothers murdered, but beat the rap. As an assistant DA some in my office believed he was involved with Billy Kelley in the murder of George Hamilton a Canton business man. I saw him coming out of the grand jury a couple of times and I nodded at him. He did not smile back.

      3. Poulos, Daddieco and Shields were part of the group who planned the murder of Billy Bennett along with Richard Grasso, Salemme and Steve Flemmi. Grasso would be murdered a week or so after the murder. Shields was the shooter but he was acquitted of the murder but later admitted his involvement. Poulos was murdered by Flemmi as you probably know in Las Vegas. Daddieco went into the federal witness protection program. He testified against Stuart and Shields but the jury did not believe him.

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