Sunday, May 05, 2019


I don't have to tell you that the right-wing media loves scare stories about MS-13, frequently accompanied by photographs of men with extreme facial tattoos. Here, for instance, are some headlines from the Daily Caller:

Here's a Daily Caller editorial about MS-13:
If you don’t think MS-13 are “animals,” you’re part of the problem....

MS-13 has brought violence, fear and suffering to communities....

This street gang is committing execution style murders, gang rape and human trafficking....

Despite all this, some still have a soft spot in their hearts for these vicious animals — who shouldn’t be in this country in the first place.

Case in point: the Left’s hysteria over the president calling the gang members “animals” during a sanctuary city roundtable discussion at the White House.

Are these the kind of people liberals want to defend?
I'm familiar with the right's MS-13 obsession, so I was puzzled to read some sports commentary that's currently in the Caller:

Nick Bosa’s great grandfather Tony Accardo doesn’t sound like a man you wanted to mess with back in the day.

Sports Illustrated recently published an incredible profile on the great grandfather of the 49ers 2019 first round pick, and it’s an incredible read. In fact, it’s so great I pretty much mass texted it out to everybody I know interested in history today.

Following Al Capone’s fall from power, Accardo took over the Chicago mafia and remained in power for six decades. He allegedly planned the St. Valentine’s Day massacre and allegedly killed two men planning a coup against Capone with a baseball bat, which earned him the name “Joey Batters.” It only gets crazier from there.
At this point you may be thinking, Yes, MS-13 is a criminal gang and the Mafia is a criminal gang, but a lot of people romanticize the Mafia now. They find the Mafia romantic because they don't think the Mafia was as brutal as MS-13, which tortures a lot of people. So this piece isn't necessarily hypocritical.

But read on:
S.I. wrote the following when explaining Accardo’s alleged retaliation to his California house being broken into.
Using his connections to identify the thieves, he betrayed no mercy. Within the year, 10 men were dead. According to the Chicago Tribune, “Each was found with his throat cut; one was castrated and disemboweled, his face removed with a blow torch, a punishment imposed, presumably, because he was Italian and should have known better.” As another account in The Guardian put it, Accardo “avenged insult with interest.”
So Bosa's grandfather was -- like an MS-13 member -- a gangster who tortured and killed his enemies.

But does the author of the Caller piece, David Hookstead, really romanticize the guy?
This is something straight out of Hollywood stuff. How wasn’t this talked about constantly during the draft? I don’t endorse death, but Accardo sounds like Capone on steroids, and he never even spent a night in jail, according to the S.I. profile.

That’s downright absurd. If I was Nick Bosa, I would without a doubt think this was the coolest part of my family history.

His great grandfather was a reported mafia kingpin and got away with it from start to finish. If that’s not awesome, then I don’t know what is.
Does no one at the Caller see a disconnect between endless denunciations of MS-13 and an "Oh, cool!" response to the story of this unpunished thug?

Accardo wasn't an immigrant -- he was born in Chicago. But Wikipedia says that his parents immigrated from Sicily a year before his birth. Accardo may not meet the strict definition of "anchor baby," a term conservatives are very fond of, but a Central American equivalent of Accardo would certainly be called that by right-wingers.

I'm Italian-American -- Sicilian on my father's side. There are no mobsters in my family. I guess I'm pleased that most people in this country don't think all Italians are criminals, and I suppose it's nice for me that criminal Italians are regarded as colorful and entertaining, not terrifying.

But there's no real difference between MS-13 and the Mafia. If you assume all Central American immigrants are animals because some are MS-13 members, what do you have to say about me?

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