Last week we heard that the Feds and local coppers took down something like 130 Orange County Surenos. The haul apparently included some senior shot callers, Associates and street soldiers as well as female auxiliaries who might just as well be considered Associates. The use of females as enablers and facilitators is nothing new, but in recent years it seems the Carnales have been relying more and more on the abilities of these associated females to do the work the males can't or won't do. Witness the Tablas kite recently published by KQED in NORCAL.
Despite the increasing importance of females in furthering the goals of the Mob, we've yet to hear of any female that has been officially recognized as a shot caller much less a full blown Hermana. Clearly gender equality has yet to make any inroads into the male-dominated society of La Eme. You have to wonder how long it will be before some bright politician decides to file a suit against the Eme forcing the Brothers to induct a woman into their ranks or face Federal discrimination charges.
The subject of female gangsters isn't a mere side issue on the larger issue of criminal gangs. We remember years ago when the LA Times ran an Op Ed piece by Greg Boyle. This was on the occasion of Bill Bratton being hired by the LAPD. The Op Ed piece took the form of advice to the newly appointed chief. Among the more startling claims Boyle made was that he had never seen any evidence of multi-generational gang families. He also called the gang phenomenon "dis-organized" crime.
Anyone even tangentially familiar with that world knows these assertions to be nonsense. As we know, there is a fairly high level of sophistication in the organizational structure of the Eme. There's the enforcement arm(s), the intelligence gathering arm, the communications system and the core of command and control operators. There's also the operational level in charge of the movement of drugs and money. You might also claim legitimately that there's the farm team comprised of set-bangers who earn their stripes, show heart and in doing so come to the attention of senior management. You could also assert that the Eme also has a political arm. More on that in another post.
The recent indictments against Orange County and Florencia (both of them numbering in the hundreds of defendants), and this coming after dozens of indictments since the early 1990s, has to make one ask the question: Is any of this doing any good?
The statistics seem to indicate that putting a lot of people in prison drives down the murder/violence rates. Even with the lousy economy, crime has been going down. This has created a lot of head-scratching among the stat geeks because the accepted doctrine is that poverty drives crime. That hasn't happened. We've got historic rates of high unemployment and a record number of people on some sort of government assistance and yet the crime stats have remained low. At the same time we've got California prisons bursting at the seams. Obviously, bad actors off the streets keeps the streets safer.
At the same time, we're seeing the same or higher level of gang prosecutions as there was in the 1990s. What's the explanation? It may be that gangsters have gotten smarter in the way they conduct their business -- less killing and more focus on business.
The Cosa Nostra learned a long, long time ago that mass blood letting is bad for business. The Carnales may be operating from the Italian Mob's playbook. Keep the violence to a minimum and solve disputes with either cash or some other concession. Tablas' kite seems to bear this out. He ordered Florencia to check the set banging and refer all disputes to Pelican Bay. We've heard this before in 1990s and to a large degree it worked.
And it may work again.
The bottom line is that massive indictments aren't going to stop the increasing sophistication and growth of criminal enterprises. But it may put the brakes on the sort of bloodshed we saw twenty years. Your thoughts.