St. Valentine's Day
1. This bit of contrived
motive came directly from the Chicago Police Department, almost immediately
after the massacre. Although booze hijacking was a routine part of the
business, there is absolutely no evidence to suggest a scenario of this type was used
to set up Moran's Northsiders.
There is solid evidence that one of the participants may not have been part
of Frank Nitti's usual stable of Capone gunmen. Other evidence strongly points to
front line participation by a number of very familiar Capone hitmen.
there any actual
evidence the Clark
Street lookouts were waiting for Moran? The implied assumption here is that
the lookouts could possibly hope to identify
among a group of similarly dressed men entering a building from across a
busy Chicago Street in mid winter during a snow fall. Given the otherwise careful
planning of this operation, if you assumed anything, it would be that the people
targeted to be hit had entered
the garage that morning and were successfully eliminated.
4. Although it defies both
the evidence and logic (for those paying even a little attention to Chicago
mob hits between 1924 and 1928), you will find this number in almost all
major texts on the subject. My own research starts the count at eleven
Capone participants on or about North Clark Street that morning.
6. Funny how so many false
leads on the crime were immediately given to newspaper reporters by various
police brass. Strange that Moran's top people gathered at their
obscure booze depot, seemingly dressed for a very important meeting and
carrying thousands of dollars in cash.
7. The autopsies showed
that the two Capone shot-gunners began firing at the same time as the two machine-gunners. Again, virtually every major book describing the crime
states the shot-gunners only stepped up to fire after the initial shooting, to
"finish off" two of Moran's men.
9. In the mid-1990s,
several researchers given access to 1960s FBI wiretap information on Chicago
mobsters excitedly announced an entirely new history of Prohibition Chicago.
Unfortunately, almost all the information was an embarrassing concoction of lies, macho
posturing and seemingly calculated misinformation. For a time, it seemed
that Tony Accardo participated in every major 20th century combat incident except the raising of the flag
over Iwo Jima.
11. At first glance,
killing George Moran appears to be Al Capone's primary goal. But I am convinced
by the available evidence the real objective of this crime was not to target aging Northsider
George Moran. The goal was to eliminate the Northsider gunmen working for Moran who
had spent the
previous two years actively hunting Jack McGurn and the team of Capone killers who
successfully ambushed Hymie Weiss on October 11, 1926.
St. Valentine's Day Massacre
Sensational crimes breed reams of newspaper print, media coverage and (eventually) books. The St. Valentine's Day massacre may be the prototype hyped national crime-- primed by the 1921 Sacco and Vanzetti trial, a precursor to the outrageous 1935 Lindberg baby kidnapping trial, a distant cousin to John Kennedy's 1963 assassination and the 1995 O. J. Simpson murder trial. Today, there are no "trials of the century" or "crimes of the century"; many dozens of murder investigations and court trials now automatically qualify for gavel to gavel coverage by the networks, cable news outlets, and every major newspaper in the nation.
The sensational exception has become just another mass media cliché.
Intense media scrutiny can provide enhanced public oversight which, in theory, brings out the truth. O. J. Simpson may have been found "not guilty" at the close of his criminal trial, but blanketing media coverage and exposition allowed the thoughtful to understand that someone guilty of a double murder had been acquitted.
The media did little factual analysis and in-depth research in 1929, when five Northside gangsters, their auto mechanic, and a gangster "hanger-on" were murdered in a Chicago garage by Al Capone's organization. Cynical Chicago crime beat reporters who worked in a town on the take, and wanted to live to write another day, dutifully repeated information fed to them by ineffectual local police officials (many of whom were themselves on gang payrolls). We are left with a seventy-seven year trail of books, virtually all of which reverently pass down a series of fairytales as to how these killings went down.
Recent efforts to explore old FBI files brought new focus on a theory of the crime first discussed by author John Kobler in his 1971 Capone biography. Given the FBI's disconnect with the history of organized crime until the late 1950s, and the fact that J. Edgar Hoover ran the Bureau not as a crime fighting unit, but to enhance FBI public relations and assemble reams of celebrity character assassination material, any FBI information on the subject of organized crime pre-1958 is suspect on its face.
What follows are the top ten myths
about the St Valentine's day massacre. These are the so-called "facts" traditionally pasted
onto the story of the crime over the years, all of which are unsupported by
any academically referenced historical research. Without credible
references from either multiple or unimpeachable sources, these fake "facts"
remain nothing more than assumptions, fabrications, charming anecdotal
family myths, or sensational theories.
Part III will appear as a chapter in book form...