Thursday, June 23, 2011

Mobster or kindly old man?

You may have heard that an accused organized crime leader named Whitey Bulger was caught yesterday by the FBI. I found this 1998 Boston Globe story about Bulger via longform.org. It caught my eye because of the way it introduces Bulger from a completely different point of view -- that of a family in Louisiana who he'd befriended and who could not be convinced he was an alleged violent criminal:

From Shelley Murphy's story:

     The Whitey Bulger who is accused of holding a knife to a mortgage broker's throat at a South Boston variety store while extorting $50,000 was driving around this remote island offering dog biscuits to strays from a bag in the trunk of his Mercury Grand Marquis.
The Whitey Bulger who was branded a reputed killer, crime boss, and bank robber by the 1986 President's Commission on Organized Crime often shut off the Gautreaux television, lecturing them on how bad it was to expose children to violent shows, including the local news.
This Whitey Bulger wept when a dying puppy was shot in the head to end its suffering. He went fishing once and tossed back all the small fish.
When two of the Gautreaux children came home from school with a note saying they had vision problems, Bulger and his girlfriend, Catherine Greig, bought them glasses.