Video: A Mafia hit, and the shock of indifference

posted at 2:40 pm on November 1, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

The interesting sociological question of the day, from CNN (via Joe Gandelman at TMV): Why do the people in this surveillance video act so indifferently to the murder of a man in broad daylight in this Italian town? The clip has scandalized the rest of Italy, where people are treating this as their version of the Kitty Genovese case, but there are a couple of important differences which CNN’s report doesn’t note, although Joe does (video has disturbing content):

Joe compares this to the case of 20 teenagers standing by while a girl got gang-raped in Richmond, which is actually a lot more analogous to the Genovese case than this one, as there are different dynamics at play in the Italian case. The key difference is that the victim of this hit was no innocent bystander, but a “little boss” in the local crime syndicate. Just as in American communities with heavy organized-crime infiltration, the locals know who’s connected and who isn’t. Violence within the syndicate will naturally be seen as the price people pay for belonging in the first place, and the collective victims of the syndicate are not about to risk their lives to save the crooks, or to apprehend the button man once he finishes his work. That may not be a particularly courageous impulse, but it’s certainly understandable.

However, the video of the hit may help to inspire more activism from the victims in order to isolate and destroy the crime syndicates that produces so much violence and misery. There is nothing romantic about the Mafia or its close cousins, here in the US, in Italy, or anywhere else. They’re nothing more than thieves’ guilds, existing for the protection of robbery and corruption. If this can produce the necessary outrage to dismantle one or more of them, then I wish the Italian prosecutors all the best in forcing their citizens to confront it.

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It’s a damn shame.

SoulGlo on November 1, 2009 at 2:42 PM

When in Rome..

the_nile on November 1, 2009 at 2:44 PM

Nobody at the scene wants to be the next person lying on the sidewalk. I’d probably do the same thing and just get the heck out of there.

KSgop on November 1, 2009 at 2:50 PM

You know…

Selective enforcement of the law has some interesting unintended consequences.

… The ripple effects range wide and far. Be it social engineering policies that destroy the worlds economy, turning a blind eye to illegal immigration, putting up with ‘gansta rap, selective outrage of political corruption, a double standard in faux outrage in the media, etc., etc., etc.

Don’t be so surprised… you get what you pay for.

Seven Percent Solution on November 1, 2009 at 2:50 PM

It’s Italy……it’s the mafia…….are we really surprised that no one wants to get involved?

JoeinTX on November 1, 2009 at 2:51 PM

Let’s see the passerby didn’t freak out when they guy running the local whorehouse and a ring of drug dealers gets shot at.
Shocking. This same guy probably burned down his legitimate competitors store a month before this. The shocking thing here? The local cops probably know exactly why this hit happened, the hitter is already back in his home town far from Naples and no one is ever going to do a thing about it.

Rocks on November 1, 2009 at 2:52 PM

“There is nothing romantic about the Mafia or its close cousins, here in the US, in Italy, or anywhere else. They’re nothing more than thieves’ guilds…”

Yep. There are two ways to leave this business:

a) Go to prison.
b) See the guy laying on the sidewalk in the video.

perroviejo on November 1, 2009 at 2:53 PM

Don`t be a snitch mentality as well as self preservation I am guessing. When the only consequences seem to come from crossing the criminals as opposed to the law, what incentives do ordinary people have. A total breakdown in logic I agree but it seems that is where society has been trending and yes, SoulGlo, it is a damn shame.

bluemarlin on November 1, 2009 at 2:54 PM

Should anyone wish to see the unedited version:

http://nothingtoxic.com/media/1256854291/SHOCKING_VIDEO_Deadly_Daytime_Italian_Mafia_Assassination

WARNING: Site generally NSFW (boobies and more)

RedNewEnglander on November 1, 2009 at 2:56 PM

Rent Excellent Cadavers a documentary about the mafia in the 1990s. They were murdering judges and prosecutors right and left. They blew up the Uffizi and killed 5 people and also tried to bow up Milan Airport. Outrage is cheap. Finding enough brave people willing to risk their lives and the lives of their young ones is not so easy.

Blake on November 1, 2009 at 3:06 PM


not indifference

but an extreme fear for the killers –walk away and do as if you have not seen anything.

or you will be next.

compare that with the gang rape. There was no fear factor for the bystanders.

The people that walked away in Naples, I can **understand** (not saying approve) their behavior with those killers.

Those people in Richmond: lowest of the lowest. They should be prosecuted as well

mooseburger on November 1, 2009 at 3:10 PM

Now I feel somewhat guilty for playing Mafia Wars on FB.

Bob's Kid on November 1, 2009 at 3:12 PM

young = love ones.

Blake on November 1, 2009 at 3:12 PM

FWIW:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_laws#Italy

DTogo on November 1, 2009 at 3:19 PM

This stuff has its beginnings in little things.
Police turn a blind eye here. Then they turn a blind eye there.
Here in our city, several years back, we had a massive influx of druggies coming up from Philadelphia. Crime skyrocketed under the Democrat mayor we had at the time. We then got a Republican mayor who got crime under control. All he did was enforce the law. These druggies started getting arrested not just for the drug activity, but for all the behaviors they brought with them from Philadelphia, such as walking down the middle of the street, urinating on the sidewalks, walking out to cars in traffic asking for money, etc. Well, things improved a lot after that and many in the influx community admitted they were not used to getting arrested for things they did naturally in Philadelphia. Suddenly things weren’t so easy here any more. There’s a lesson in there somewhere.

JellyToast on November 1, 2009 at 3:22 PM

Since Sopranos is no more, this is a nice alternative. Got any more Mafia hit videos from Italy to share? Wheres the outrageous outrage from the Italian-American Organization (IAO, pronounced AOooooh!”) that this is a stereotype of Italians created by the media?

Note: there is zero sarcasm in the above comments.

Neo on November 1, 2009 at 3:25 PM

And wait a minute, CNN can show a mafioso getting popped, but we can’t see footage of 9-11 tower jumpers ever again?

Neo on November 1, 2009 at 3:27 PM

Eddie,

The Genovese incident has long since been debunked as editorial sensationalism. But you guys at Hot Air wouldn’t know anything about that, huh?

Good4Onan on November 1, 2009 at 3:28 PM

STOP SNITCHING! NOBODY SAW NOTHIN’!

Dukeboy01 on November 1, 2009 at 3:29 PM

Naples is a cesspool of violence and corruption. It’s like Matamoros but with better looking women.

Mike Honcho on November 1, 2009 at 3:32 PM

The Mafia arose as a reaction to corruption within the local governments…which still exists today and now is inter-mingled with the Mafia. It’s lasted for hundreds of years, and it won’t go away anytime soon. CNN is just milking this for ratings, as evidenced by showing the video.

The comparison to the 20 teenagers who stood by is ludicrous. A group of 20 people could have done something, could have stopped what was going on. They had the numbers, and they chose to do nothing, when there was little risk in intervening.

An unarmed woman(yay Italy’s gun laws!!!) sees a killing occur, and knows if she does anything but walk away, she’s done for as well. There is a huge difference.

MadisonConservative on November 1, 2009 at 3:34 PM

Well, it’s official now. http://tinyurl.com/ylmv9hv

This is a gift to the GOP.

karlant on November 1, 2009 at 3:31 PM

Dede endorses Owens!!!!!!!!!!!

deidre on November 1, 2009 at 3:39 PM

I didn’t think Chicagoland politics reached Italy

Kini on November 1, 2009 at 3:39 PM

The victim was “a “little boss” in the local crime syndicate”?

I’d hit that.

Shy Guy on November 1, 2009 at 3:39 PM

Seven Percent Solution has it correct above. When you screw with the social contract, don’t act surprised when it falls apart.

The Lone Platypus on November 1, 2009 at 3:44 PM

Much more civilized than an Uzi drive-by in LA or New Orleans. It’s nice some old world charm exists,and it’s easier on the general public.

gbear on November 1, 2009 at 3:44 PM

Much of what we think we know about Kitty Genovese is urban mythology.

fivefeetoffury on November 1, 2009 at 3:45 PM

Every single person within 15 feet of that rape should be executed. Even onlookers. They don’t deserve to breathe my air.

In my book, rape is worse than murder.

jimmy the notable on November 1, 2009 at 3:46 PM

Isn’t this the same thing that Joe Biden, Barrack Hussein Obama (Peace be Unto Him. Praise His Holy Name. All Honor, Praise, Glory, Adoration, and Devotion be unto Him. Surrender yourself to Him. Prostrate yourself before Him. Kiss His Holy Feet. Dedicate yourself and all your resources to him. Devote yourself to Him and Worship Him at all times and in all circumstances with every thought, word, and deed. Accept Him as your Lord and Savior and He will Save you and Give you Peace. Serve Him and his Noble, Holy Crusade. All Hail our Messiah, our Savior, the Lord of the Universe, The One, Mister Hope and Change, Mister “Yes, We can!”. Barrach Hussein Obama , … mmm … mmm … mmm Barrack Hussein Obama, … mmm … mmm … mmm … /sarcasm off) and others have said about Afghanistan and the Taliban and al Qaeda?

If the Taliban is the “Local Mafia” in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and if you toss in the war lords and al Qaeda, then we should just let them kill whoever they want and let the people involved, including the innocent citizens who are NOT involved but who are terrorized by them, sort it out.

That’s the Obama-Biden way.

William2006 on November 1, 2009 at 3:55 PM

ScuzzyFavor just endorsed Owens???

Buford Gooch on November 1, 2009 at 3:56 PM

ScuzzyFavor just endorsed Owens???

Buford Gooch on November 1, 2009 at 3:56 PM

Yeah and Gingrich endorsed her before he unendorsed her.

Let’s face it, local GOP leaders in NY are really democrats pretending to be Republicans. Like the guy getting wacked, it’s time to fight back against what is clearly wrong.

Kini on November 1, 2009 at 4:01 PM

FWIW:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_laws#Italy

DTogo on November 1, 2009 at 3:19 PM

I gotta say. That does not seem too unreasonable for a relatively densely populated urban population. You can have a reasonable number of guns and a reasonable amount of ammunition so long as you are responsible and you don’t give access to the guns to a lunatic.

Remember, Italy has not been a frontier territory since about 500 BC

tommylotto on November 1, 2009 at 4:03 PM

The fact that our own government created the witness protection program should speak volumnes on this subject. People know their lives will be ruined if they testify against these guys. I mean what could they do put a cork in the hole in the guys head? lol

sonnyspats1 on November 1, 2009 at 4:04 PM

Ed posts about a Mafia hit just as someone named Scozzafava endorses Owens…..

Hmmmmmmmmmmmm

tommylotto on November 1, 2009 at 4:12 PM

My grandfather was from South Philly.

Sometime in 1930s he was making a delivery stuck in traffic in broad day light. A guy in the car in front jumps out and shoots a guy walking down the street. My grandfather did nothing. Neither did anyone else. I asked why he didn’t go to the police. Basically the answer was, “I had a young family, it was the depression and my family needed my income. It was mafia business.”

Is it right … no but I don’t think this story indicates an end civilization. People have been turning a blind eye to this sort of violence for a very long time. I guess now the difference is we can watch them ignore a mob killing.

peterargus on November 1, 2009 at 3:17 PM

OK, I’m supposed to be surprised that people all over the world are trained to ignore anything that they don’t have to? First question, why should they get involved. Sure it’s a civic duty, but what happens when you do get involved?

If you manage to survive the press setting out to destroy you, either as a glory seeking lunatic who’s really behind the thing, ala Richard Jewell, or as some sort of pathological liar. Then you get to get on the stand and have the Defense attorney rip you to shreds because you accidentally put the wrong time on your statement.

Then the defendant, a poor abused victim of a police conspiracy to frame him of the act, is found not guilty by a Jury of your peers too, and he’s free to come visit you and discuss your testimony. Of course, the Police are powerless until after he kills you too.

Isn’t it just easier and safer to ignore the murder, rape, or robberies and mind your own business? I mean, if you knew the victim, if he or she was family, or perhaps a friend, you’d jump right in there, but not for some stranger.

That’s the way people view the situation, and that’s the problem with not only our country, but the world. We’ve raised a bunch of wimps who think they are more important, more special, than anything that happens around them.

Snake307 on November 1, 2009 at 3:24 PM

blue on blue

noblejones on November 1, 2009 at 3:33 PM

When Italy becomes muslem majority in a couple decades, this will seem quaint and civilized.

Rebar on November 1, 2009 at 3:37 PM

Naples has been a real mess for a while. This isn’t the first time that locals have seen this kind of violence and they know it’s not the last time.

Asher on November 1, 2009 at 3:39 PM

..wonder if the guy used the classic silenced Ruger .22 to do the deed?

VoyskaPVO on November 1, 2009 at 3:41 PM

Intramural murder. The victim was pretty clearly a wiseguy (or whatever they call them in Italy). Bystanders know what’s going on and want, wisely, to stay out of the game. One scumbag acing another — who wants to get into that predicament?

Bleeds Blue on November 1, 2009 at 3:43 PM

The *indifference* is in part because of fear, and in part because it is fairly common in Napoli, and also because a lot of people think that if someone is killed like that on the street, they are involved in the mafia.

No one wants to look or get involved for fear of retaliation. The people on the street that would actually speak out in interviews said they are just used to this stuff happening on their streets. Everybody knows somebody, and no one wants to become the next target.

sarainitaly on November 1, 2009 at 3:51 PM

Don’t be so surprised… you get what you pay for.

Seven Percent Solution on November 1, 2009 at 2:50 PM

Truer words could not be spoken Seven.

Nothing destroys the law faster than selective enforcement.

That’s why the founding fathers held fast to the belief that all men were equal under the law and should be treated equally.

Chaz706 on November 1, 2009 at 3:58 PM

Until the Italians and other EU nations change their attitudes towards gun ownership (fat chance), this sort of thing will continue unabated. Also, for those who think this is horrible, just look at what’s happening on our southern border. In comparison, this incident does not rise to up a level worth mentioning. It makes me sad to say these thing.

c3ichief on November 1, 2009 at 4:08 PM

It’s like when one ghetto thug shoots another. Who cares? The only difference is the mafia guy’s mammy doesn’t appear on the news claiming that her son was trying to keep his nose clean and only got shot because others were jealous of his basketball skillz.

Sharke on November 1, 2009 at 4:08 PM

Uh, seriously, I have been near a fatal shooting. A thug in witness protection opened fire on 4 cops with an automatic, and I was 25 ft away, in the cops line of fire. I went down on mah belly! And crawled like a crab, eating dirt the whole way to get the hell outta dodge. If I came across this, I wouldnt have seen nothing!

di butler on November 1, 2009 at 4:23 PM

where did the shooter get the gun are they not against the law in Italy and damn near everywhere else in the world? /sar

oldernslower on November 1, 2009 at 4:39 PM

Then you get to get on the stand and have the Defense attorney rip you to shreds because you accidentally put the wrong time on your statement.

Snake307 on November 1, 2009 at 3:24 PM

Not even that. With the internet, the next thing you know your life is dissected, misrepresented, lied about and published around the world for infinity. And you have little to no legal protections. Defamation suits cost lots of money. By interjecting yourself into a controversy, you become a quasi-public figure, and lose privacy.

Blake on November 1, 2009 at 4:56 PM

Something about it being a “contract” removed the humanity in it. Clean, neat, very professional. Usually I can’t watch these things. Perhaps some of the passersby felt the same. Dumbstruck might be the best word.

patrick neid on November 1, 2009 at 5:10 PM

What’s the point of showing/talking about this? Worse than this happens every day in some central city somewhere in America.

Jeff from WI on November 1, 2009 at 5:44 PM

Well, what were the bystanders supposed to do? Jump the killer? They were unarmed! They would only end up with a hole between the eyes.

madne0 on November 1, 2009 at 5:51 PM

Until the Italians and other EU nations change their attitudes towards gun ownership (fat chance), this sort of thing will continue unabated.

c3ichief on November 1, 2009 at 4:08 PM

Bull. Even if Italy’s gun laws were modeled out of Texas’s, people still wouldn’t have done anything. It was a mob hit. If they tried anything you can bet their family would be looking down a barrel of a gun within days.

madne0 on November 1, 2009 at 5:53 PM

Hit back.

You don’t let hydrophobic animals rampage through your neighborhoods.

You put them down.

As the Italian proverb puts it:

Eggs have no business dancing with stones.”

Bad eggs, especially.

The Italians need to show their stones.

profitsbeard on November 1, 2009 at 6:27 PM

Sure this isn’t New Jersey?

LA Conservative on November 1, 2009 at 6:28 PM

I have no respect for Italians as they have no respect for themselves. A society that permits such scum cant be far removed in spirit from the scum itself.

BL@KBIRD on November 1, 2009 at 6:32 PM

I don’t see what is so shocking about this. So a Mafia boss gets bumped off by someone else in the Mafia. Another less bad guy in the world.

The bystanders did the right thing. Pretend they didn’t see it happening and walk off.

Gabe on November 1, 2009 at 7:25 PM

Unless you’re packing what are you suppose to do? This assassin wouldn’t think twice about dropping anybody who took an interest in his professional work.

Mojave Mark on November 1, 2009 at 8:07 PM

Bull. Even if Italy’s gun laws were modeled out of Texas’s, people still wouldn’t have done anything. It was a mob hit. If they tried anything you can bet their family would be looking down a barrel of a gun within days.

madne0 on November 1, 2009 at 5:53 PM

So madne0, what will the average Italian do when one set of thugs have killed off the other? Just cower in the corner and wait for the Polizia. Also, seeing as you are so well versed on the gun laws in Texas, I will assume that you know of the many cases in which armed citizen defended not only themselves but those around them too.

c3ichief on November 1, 2009 at 9:25 PM

Heh, quicker than an impeachment from the mafia.

Alden Pyle on November 1, 2009 at 9:28 PM

Joe compares this to the case of 20 teenagers standing by while a girl got gang-raped in Richmond, which is actually a lot more analogous to the Genovese case than this one

This bothers me that people are equating these two incidents. Notwithstanding the urban myth aspect cited above, the folks who supposedly ignored Genovese were law abiding citizens who, at worst, were apathetic. The bystanders to the gang rape in Richmond were PARTICIPANTS. Of course they didn’t call the police. They weren’t witnesses by circumstance of chance. They were there because they possessed the same moral depravity as the rapists. They thought it was cool, funny, they took pictures on their cell phones and texted their friends to come join in.

pleaseandthankyou on November 1, 2009 at 10:00 PM

They’re nothing more than thieves’ guilds, existing for the protection of robbery and corruption.

Sounds like the Obama Administration.

Good Lt on November 1, 2009 at 10:01 PM

Police officers carry guns, have bullet proof vests, and backup for a reason. I’m no cop.

There’d have to be a 99.9% probability that I could help someone being attacked and not become a victim myself before I got involved directly. I wouldn’t want to see anyone hurt, but I’m not stupid enough to make myself an instant target. I think most people would feel the same way- we’re programmed by our bodies and minds to protect ourselves in whatever manner possible. To fight that instinct and just say, “to hell with it” and walk into certain death for a cause you’ve no idea is noble isn’t bravery, it’s stupidity.

TheBlueSite on November 1, 2009 at 11:04 PM

If this was in the US. We would see a few dozen looters running out the store with merchandise.

StuLongIsland on November 2, 2009 at 12:35 AM

A gritty movie was made on what life is like for the average Neapolitan in the urban districts. Gomorrah focused on the payoffs of entire neighborhoods, how mothers are assassinated to punish uncooperative sons, and how the young boys grow up idealizing the Mob, who spread around the Euros.

Gomorrah

rhodeymark on November 2, 2009 at 6:21 AM

So madne0, what will the average Italian do when one set of thugs have killed off the other? Just cower in the corner and wait for the Polizia. Also, seeing as you are so well versed on the gun laws in Texas, I will assume that you know of the many cases in which armed citizen defended not only themselves but those around them too.

c3ichief on November 1, 2009 at 9:25 PM

The laws in Florida are pretty clear about a citizens right to defend himself or others. I carry a 9mm just about all of the time and I’d like to think that I would have responded to this. Until you are actually faced with the decision, who knows?

conservativecaveman on November 2, 2009 at 8:10 AM

Coming to a store near you. Violence is on the rise and no one wants to get involved.

volsense on November 2, 2009 at 9:47 AM

Speaking to an evolving theme in the thread….

I carry my .45 to protect myself and my family, not to be an angel of vengeance and wrath. If this happened in front of me I’d probably draw out of instinct and find cover/concealment, but given how the shooter just walked away it’d be a hard sell for me to open fire on him.

JohnTant on November 2, 2009 at 10:46 AM