The rules of the game for criminals

Every now and then I get surprised when I see a glimpse of the business side of criminal conduct. I don’t mean Enron and all the big corporate cons out there. I mean at the street level. I always thought there was no honor among thieves because there weren’t rules to the game.

This is the guy who had the Mafia’s Ten Commandments in his house when he got raided.

Most of the time, I think that is still how it works because these dummies are too drug and alcohol affected to think straight. How can you remember which house to avoid and what to not do when you’re stoned, stupid, and struggling with a crowbar to break into somebody’s shed? And lets not forget that a large percentage of crooks are just brought up wrong. They don’t follow the rules because they don’t know any better. It’s not like in the good old days when the Mafia could rely on the wise guys in the neighborhood knowing how it’s supposed to work. Nope, the Mafia had to go and write down a list of rules. A Mafia Ten Commandments, if you will. They were discovered in a raid in Italy in 2007. Here’s the list:it.

  1. Never look at the wives of friends.
  2. Never be seen with cops.
  3. Don’t go to pubs and clubs.
  4. Always being available for Cosa Nostra is a duty – even if your wife’s about to give birth.
  5. Appointments must absolutely be respected.
  6. Wives must be treated with respect.
  7. When asked for any information, the answer must be the truth.
  8. Money cannot be appropriated if it belongs to others or to other families.
  9. People who can’t be part of Cosa Nostra: anyone who has a close relative in the police, anyone with a two-timing relative in the family, anyone who behaves badly and doesn’t hold to moral values.
“No Sicilian can refuse any request on his daughter’s wedding day.”

Hey, what about that rule from the first Godfather movie about never being able to turn down a request on your daughter’s wedding day? Did they forget that one? Also, I wonder why they had to be specific with the rule about always being available for The Family, even if your wife is about to give birth? Has the Mafia been trying call guys a lot recently when they were in the maternity ward? And doesn’t that conflict with rule #7 about always treating your wife with respect?

Also, I would guess that #8 about always telling the truth must be limited to just questions from your Mafia buddies. This list doesn’t seem like it was done very well. I think they needed their publisher to hook them up with a good editor.

The vicious street gang called Latin Kings came up with a list like this, too. They called it The Latin King Manifesto. It’s three pages long and has a lot of quaint misspellings, but strangely enough, some of the rules are pretty good. For example, Latin Kings are prohibited from shooting innocent bystanders. That’s always a good policy that your neighbors appreciate. They can’t hang out with folks who do “PCP or Crack.” I follow that rule, too. Well, except when I’m at work. They are also instructed to clean up graffiti in their neighborhoods, which probably doesn’t happen too often but sometimes it’s the thought that counts. If you only read these few rules you’d be forgiven for thinking Latin Kings were a warm and fuzzy neighborhood watch group.

Your standard Latin King neck tattoo. Don’t you want to get one? It would make your mother proud.

Unless, that is, you read the rest of the three page list of rules. You know, the ones about beatdowns (just what you think they are), always being ready to shoot rivals, and the exact late-night hours that they must “bust-out,” meaning to be on the street representing the gang. They outlaw beggars in their territory but their members have to be ready at all times to “hold up their hood up to the (utmost), to protect your hood from anyone.” But I ask you, who protects the ‘hood from them?

Uh, this one is actually an undercover cop. But you get the idea.

Lastly, I want to share with you another list of rules I ran into recently. It’s not for some huge criminal organization like La Cosa Nostra or a drug gang. It’s the “Rules 2 Da game of Hoez!!!” Yes people, even prostitution has rules now.

This is a good list. Actually, anyone with a business degree is going to notice that a few are pretty smart ways for marketing and retaining customers. I reproduce them below with all their glorious grammatical errors so you get the full feel of the literature of the street. You can also click the image below to view the list as a larger document. Here ya go, homie:

  1. Always make them need and depend on you so you have power over them. (Power is control)
  2. Make them understand that you don’t need them they need you, and they are replaceable. Never let them no if you need them deep down inside.
  3. Never let no1 get away with sneaking anything cause once they feel they can get away they will always scheme.
  4. No matter how much you like or care for 1 or any of them, don’t trust none of them. (Like Scarface who do I trust?? Me that’s who…)
  5.  Always stay 2 step’s ahead of the game you have them playin..
  6. Don’t let them no all your plan’s. But always try 2 no there’s.
  7.  Make sure you own there mind’s, body’s and soul’s.
  8. Keep your bi on the low as possible when it come’s 2 family and haters. (cause you can’t trust none of them)
  9.  Always try 2 no what’s goin on. (Make them tell on each other).
  10. Give respect when respect’s due. (Follow these rule’s and you should be Gucci.)
Click on this picture to view the full sized document!

I like the reference to Scarface and I can appreciate the thought behind the other rules. I mean, how many times have I felt like I was taking money as a lawyer to screw someone over? I get paid for good service and putting on a show, too. I’ve even met a lot of clients on a street corner. It’s usually just outside the courthouse but the concept isn’t far off the mark. I mean, I always try to stay two steps ahead of the game I have the other side playing just like rule #5. And who am I to argue with the concept of keeping johns, um I mean clients, needing and depending on me so I get paid. It’s good, common sense, people. I get as much up front as I can but after it’s all over they just want to leave. Sometimes I don’t even get a hug.

It’s not just me I’m talking about here, either. While I doubt my investigator would agree with the double entendre I’m playing with here, he certainly always tries to know what is “goin’ on”.  Of course I don’t think either of us are Gucci all the time but we try hard to please.

-Samuel Owen

© Samuel Owen 2012. All rights reserved. Please read important notices and disclaimers by clicking here.
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Author: Samuel Owen

This is my Lawyer Rant. I've put up with new associates trying to kill me, clients being dangerous idiots, and Judges being rude for far too long. It's time for me to tell it like it really is, and it feels good to give back.

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