One reason people have a difficulty in general with the subject of organised crime, and this is in addition to the fear that these gangs could victimize yourself as well, is that organized crime is often associated with a specific 'culture'.
In the society we live in today we have all been conditioned not to criticize cultures we do not specifically belong to ourselves.
I was reading a book on organized crime the other day by Alan Block, a professor of law at the Penn State University, "East Side - West Side: Organizing Crime in New York", and he uses the terms 'society' and 'culture' in relation to the organized crime phenomena but unfortunately doesn't give further explanation.
One interpretation is that the criminal culture at times also represents a 'subculture' which is therefore a counter trend to conservative and liberal mainstream society.
Look at the music industry for example which must represent the epitome of youth culture/counter culture. How many songs in the charts at the moment can you think of whose lyrics are riddled with innuendos suggesting that 'ganstas is cool!' or appear to be almost openly advertising the sex industry or drug use?
And this is the very same music our kids are listening to, the generation of the future.
Many of the Mafia bosses were cool dudes in their youthful days complete with cool shades, fast women and living the very same lifestyle idealized by the music industry.
But arguably it isn't just the music industry that is to blame but the film industry as well.
The rich profits organised crime rakes in each year usually ends up being laundered and invested in legitimate concerns. The popular story is that of the nightclub owner who invested the proceeds of a bank robbery in buying his club. In the East it is rumoured that the film industry in China is more or less completely controlled by the Triads. So the next time you watch that martial arts film.........
Could this be the culture Alan Block was referring to?
But to what extent does this 'culture' interface with what has been termed 'American Culture'?
Has American Culture itself been shaped by organised crime and hence the Mafia?