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The Life And Times Of Al Capone Essay, Research Paper

The Life and Times of Al Capone

by Bill Rollindubeys

Alphonse Capone was born in New York City by two parents Gabriel

and Teresa Capone. Capone’s parents immigrated to the United States in

1893 from Naples, Italy. Capone came from a large family and was the

fourth oldest of nine children. (Kobler 10). As a child, Capone was very

wise when it came to living on the streets of New York. He had a clever

mind when it came to street smarts. As far as school goes, Capone was a

near-illiterate. He came from a poor neighborhood in Brooklyn, so education

was not a top priority.

At about the age of eleven Capone became a member of a juvenile

gang in his neighborhood. While this was taking place, around the year

1900, about eleven percent of all the foreign born population in the United

States were Italian. Capone was forced to either deal with a miserable low

wage job with a hopeless future or make an improvement for himself by

committing first minor, then serious crimes. Al Capone’s philosophy was

that laws only applied to people who had enough money to live by them.

While in the ?Bim Booms? gang, Capone was taught how to defend himself

with a knife, and with a gun. By the time Capone reached the sixth grade he

had already become a street brawler. Capone never responded well to

authority and for this very reason his schooling would soon come to an end.

While attending school, Capone was responsible for beating a female teacher

and knocking her to the ground. The principal of the school rushed in and

punished young Capone and for this very reason he would never return to

school again. (Sifakis 603)

After dropping out of school, Capone took up jobs such as working as

a pin-setter at a bowling alley, and working behind the counter at a candy

store. Capone was terrific at pool, winning every eightball tournament held in

Brooklyn. He also became an expert knife fighter. Although the ?Bim

Booms? gang was the first gang Capone ever entered, he was quickly picked

up by the ?Five Pointers?. The ?Five Pointers? was the most powerful gang in

New York city. The gang was headed by Johnny Torrio, and was made up of

over 1,500 thugs who specialized in burglary, extortion, robbery, assault, and

murder. While working as a strong arm enforcer under Torrio, Capone

learned all the lethal tricks that would help him get from rags to riches in no

time at all. Capone was very grateful to Torrio. Torrio first set Capone out to

do all of his ?dirty work?. Capone was sent to beat up loan shark victims

behind on their payments, then a pimp, beating up girls who were holding out

on their nightly take. Torrio finally got Capone a job as a bouncer at the

Harvard Inn. By this time Capone was recognized by his gang as being a

vicious fighter with both fists and knives. He also became an excellent

marksman with both a revolver and automatic weapons. This was due to

many months of shooting empty bottles in the basement of the Inn. Capone

was later promoted to bartender at the Harvard Inn. At this time capone

recieved the scar which would give him his famous nickname, ?Scarface?. It

is really not known how Capone ended up with a scar that extended four

inches across his left cheek. Capone often lied about how he got the scar.

On December 18, 1918, Capone was married at the age of 19, to a 21

year old Irish girl named Mae Coughlin. A short time later Albert Francis

Capone was born to the couple. At the same time this was going on, in New

York, Johnny Torrio moved his operations to Chicago. Torrio’s prospects in

New York looked low because Capone was charged for two murders. He

was released when a witness lost her memory, and evidence suddenly

vanished from the court. Al Capone knew that he had Torrio to thank for

this. A few days later, Capone got into a fight with another man and killed

him. Rather than being charged again, Capone called Torrio and received an

invitation to move to Chicago. (Nash 604)

As Capone arrived in Chicago, Capone was given a job as a bouncer at

Torrio’s newest club, The Four Deuces. Capone was known as an aggressive

man, hospitalizing most of the drunks he evicted. Men were hospitalized

with broken arms, broken legs, and skull fractures. Capone was repeatedly

arrested for assault, but was always released thanks to Torrio’s police

connections. While working at The Four Deuces, Capone strangled at least

twelve men with his bare hands. The bodies were dragged to the basement

through a trap door that led to the alley behind the club. There a fast getaway

car would always be waiting for Capone to flee in. The underworld of

Chicago at the time was being run by a fellow named "Big Jim" Colosimo.

Colosimo was a flamboyant man. He dressed in expensive suits and was

covered in diamond jewelry. He was always seen eating at expensive

restaurants, and owned all the brothels, saloons, and gambling dens in

Chicago. (Nash 605)

Johnny Torrio grew very jealous of Colosimo and soon sent for his

most loyal hitman, Al Capone. When Capone arrived in Chicago, he was

assigned the small jobs as a bouncer and bartender to disguise Torrio’s real

reason for sending for him, to kill off "Big Jim" Colosimo. "Big Jim"

Colosimo was killed on the night of May 11, 1920. (Nash 606) The reason

for his death was due mostly to the prohibition act to be passed in 1920. The

act forbid alcohol to be distributed to all the bars in Chicago. Torrio, the

nephew of Colosimo, often asked him to start an underground operation that

could supply all the bars with beer and liquor, but Colosimo always answered

with a firm no. In this, Al Capone was soon to become the great distributor

of alcohol in Chicago during Prohibition. (Allsop 56)

Al Capone’s mob ran the streets of Chicago. While Capone’s street

mob was at its peak, it consisted of over 1,000 members and half of the

Chicago police force. Capone’s payroll at the time consisted of police

officers, state’s attorneys, mayors, legislators, governors, and even

congressmen. (Nash 608) At the time Capone was known as the "King of

Chicago". Being the king of Chicago had its downfalls. Numerous threats

on his life were made, he was shot at in streets, and even had poison slipped

into his food at clubs. In a near death experience a rival gang member, Dion

O’Banion, shot 1,000 rounds into the Hawthorn Inn where Capone was

staying. After he had cheated death, the arranging of O’Banion’s death

would be marked as one of Capone’s greatest accomplishments. This

assassination was done by Capone’s two best hitmen, John Scalise and Albert

Anselmi. Unfortunately for Al Capone all was not well after the murder of

Dion O?Banion. Capone?s last effort was to kill the last major leader of the

O’Banion’s street gang, Bugs Moran. This was ordered as the St. Valentine’s

Day Massacre. Capone’s men dressed as police officers and lined seven of

O’Banion’s gang members up across a garage wall. The gang offered no

resistance because they thought it was a regular police routine. Instead

Capone’s men opened up over 1,000 rounds of machine gun fire slaughtering

the members. Unfortunately for Capone, Bugs Moran was not present among

the seven men who were killed. (Nash 112)

Capone’s downfall was caused by one of his own business agents who

ran Capone’s dog and horse race tracks. The man’s name was Eddie O’Hare,

one of the best undercover men hired by the IRS. He informed the IRS

where books reflecting Capone’s income could be seized. Capone had never

paid any type of income tax and for this very reason he was brought up on

charges of tax invasion in front of the federal court. Capone offered the

federal government $400,000 to drop the case against him, but they rejected

the offer. Capone was convicted and given the maximum sentence which

was a $50,000 fine, court costs of $30,000, and eleven years in jail. (Nash

116 ) Capone started his sentence in an Atlanta prison. In 1934 he was

transferred to Alcatraz, also known as ?The Rock?. Five years later he was

released from Alcatraz as a helpless paretic, due to the untreated syphilis he

got from prostitutes. Later that year, Al Capone was judged insane and was

released to the care of his family. (Sifakis 613 )

In January 1947 Capone had a massive brain hemorrhage and died.

His body was removed from his estate in Florida and transferred back to the

seen of his underworld triumph, Chicago. The family held a private

ceremony at the cemetery, but were affraid of grave robbers taking the corpse

so they reburied Capone in a secret place in Mt. Carmel Cemetery. (Kobler


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