Friday, June 6, 2008


I'm currently reading Philip Carlo's biography, The Ice Man; Confessions of a MAFIA Contract Killer. True Crime isn't my usual choice of genre, but having seen parts of a documentary about Richard Kuklinski on one of the hobo channel clones I decided I wanted to read a little more about the man.

In the chapter Mob Guys and Crooked Cops, Mr. Carlo recounts an exchange between Richard Kuklinski and a pair of west coast hoodlums called "Rat Face" and "Ferret Face":

"That for me?" Richard asked, friendly enough, but not liking either of these men.

"Yeah, that's for you," Ferret Face said. "You got any ID?"

"Do you have any ID?" Richard asked.


"Then why should I?" Richard wanted to know.

They all stared at one another. Uncomfortable seconds slipped by. Richard reached inside his jacket and pulled out a short-barreled pistol.

"This is my ID. Its called .357," Richard said. "And in this pocket, I've got some more ID - it's called .38." Richard added, showing them both his guns, solemn-faced, staring at them, deadpan.

A few sentences later, Mr. Carlo comments:

"In those days there was no screening for drugs or weapons and Richard was able to walk onto the plane without being questioned or challenged. Without incident he made it back to Hoboken, delivered the suitcase, was paid, and as far as Richard was concerned, it was a done deal."

Now, I'm quite prepared to stipulate that Richard Kuklinski was and remains one of the most brutally dangerous men alive on this planet. Even so, he managed to travel by air without incident or apparent danger to anyone else on the airplane while being demonstrably well armed.

Tell me again about how much safer the airport Nazis make our air travel experience.

While I suspect Mr. Carlo might disagree (the passage, read in context, comes across as being more than a little disparaging of the historical practice) I suggest this passage from his book nonetheless makes clear that the presence of weapons doesn't determine the presence of threat, rather that their availability offers additional potential response in the event of threat/danger as a result of some other person's actions.

The point being that, while I'm heartily glad that Richard Kuklinski is a lifetime guest of the state (Update: and has since died as such), it is the intentions of the individual, not how well armed s/he may be, that makes security measures necessary. Only those measures that confront this fact directly should be seriously considered; all else is mere theater to support the manipulation of the many to the benefit of the politically adroit few.

Update: I made several minor edits to this post to correct stylistic errors after returning home from work. Haste also makes nonsense of a questionable argument too.

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