Friday, January 15, 2010

Glasgow = 1920s Chicago?

Even by the standards of this relatively violent city, this was pretty hardcore:
"A GANGSTER dubbed Scotland's "public enemy No1" has been shot dead in a supermarket car park.

Kevin Carroll appeared to be the victim of a classic gangland hit outside an Asda store in the Glasgow suburb of Robroyston at 1:25pm yesterday. The 29-year-old career criminal – who went by the underworld nickname "Gerbil" – died at the scene.

A key figure in the Daniels crime family, his death sparked fears of a new turf war for control of north Glasgow's drugs market.

Mr Carroll, also known as Kevin McCabe, is understood to have been shot five times as he sat in his black Audi S4, while shocked lunchtime shoppers watched."
It was a Glasgow Councillor's historical reference that struck me:
"Billy McAllister, a Glasgow councillor who is trying to organise a summit on fighting organised crime, said: "How many deaths does it take until we are going to get tough on criminals in this city?

"It is like Chicago in the 1920s.""
Hyperbolic? I think so. The drugs trade doesn't produce as much gangsterism as Prohibition did in interwar America for the simple reason that alcohol was and is much more popular than any of the illegal drugs sold on the streets of Glasgow. Still, the analogy has some relevance - it's just a pity that the Councillor didn't follow through the logic of his position: the Americans decided that at least one of the problems with Prohibition is that the people selling the product that was made illegal on account of the supposed harm it causes were more dangerous than the product itself - so they adjusted their legal order accordingly. It would be refreshing if a few of our politicians would even consider the possibility that this historical experience might just have some lessons for us today.

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