This is a broad paraphrase of an exchange in a Boston courtroom on June 24. Whitey Bulger was brought before a judge barely an hour after arriving from Santa Monica. The security surrounding the arrival at the airport and the courtroom rivaled anything in place for the president.
Living a few miles from Whitey Bulger’s fiefdom, his is a name that has been so often in the news that he has been taken for granted. The amount of news time and newsprint that has been devoted to James Bulger over the last twenty-four hours is greater than has been devoted to any world leaders. But there was that Oscar win for Best Picture and Best Director in 2007. Martin Scorsese directed Jack Nicholson as Frank Costello in THE DEPARTED and Frank Costello was James Bulger.
“Frank Costello was based on James J. Bulger, an Irish-American mobster in Boston who was secretly an FBI informant for over three decades. The revelation that the FBI had long protected Bulger and his Winter Hill Gang from prosecution caused a major scandal in Boston law enforcement. Bulger was believed to have been seen coming out of a theater showing the film in San Diego in November 2006. Matt Damon’s character is based on John Connolly, the FBI agent who tipped off Bulger for years, allowing him to evade arrest. In the film, Damon’s character mentions that he attends Suffolk University, the same school that Connolly attended law school. Bulger went into hiding, however he has now been arrested without incident from a residence in Santa Monica, California, on Wednesday June 22, 2011. Connolly is imprisoned for his role in Bulger’s criminal activities. Costigan’s undercover role as a former State trooper who joins the Irish mob parallels the story of Richard Marinick, a former State trooper who later joined Bulger’s crime syndicate. Costigan lives in Somerville, where Bulger’s gang began. Thomas Duffy, the film’s technical advisor, is a former MSP major who was assigned to investigate the Irish mob upon making detective.”
The movie doesn’t include Whitey’s capture. When the news broke that Bulger had been arrested, the Boston area was shocked. Everybody thought he was dead.
Some reading this post may be familiar with Mike Barnicle, a commentator on MSNBC. For years, Barnicle was the most influential columnist on the Boston Globe, the major newspaper for New England. Barnicle was accused of plagiarism and dismissed from the Globe but while he was writing for the paper during Bulger’s active years, he was Whitey’s biggest fan and apologist. In the June 23 edition of Slate magazine there is an article containing quotes from various Barnicle articles.
James Bulger and three friends won the state lottery. The ticket was purchased at a liquor store that Bulger bought from a young couple who initially refused but agreed to Bulger’s demand when he threatened their daughter.
“So, lay off Jimmy Bulger. For the first time in his life, he got lucky, legitimately, and won the lottery. Knowing him, he probably already has handed out money to St. Augustine’s, figuring that when he goes – and the odds on that are better than winning Mass Millions – there will be some people left behind who will say, “Not a bad guy.”
Salon continues, “This was the same Jimmy Bulger, of course, who was overseeing a massive criminal operation, one that poisoned the streets with cocaine and other illegal drugs and claimed dozens of lives. Whitey himself had taken part in numerous killings, and his victims weren’t all fellow mobsters. When in 1982 Bulger and an associate ambushed and killed Brian Halloran, a fellow gang member, they also took out Michael Donahue, a truck driver who had innocently volunteered to give Halloran a ride home. There was also Deborah Hussey, who had been sexually abused by Bulger’s associate, Steven Flemmi, as a teenager. Hussey ended up living with Flemmi, but soon he and Bulger got tired of having her around. And so, according to court documents:
They murdered her in much the same way they murdered their other victims, by luring her into a house and strangling her. Here again, Bulger grabbed Deborah Hussey from behind and scissored her neck between his forearms to crush her windpipe. Hussey fought desperately for her life and knocked Bulger over. When the two fell to the floor, Bulger jack-knifed his body to work his legs around Hussey’s body to crush her torso. The Court infers Hussey lost consciousness from asphyxiation and died within a few minutes.”
James Bulger is a mobster and a monster. There is nothing that the justice system in the United States can do to him that will in any way be justice. At 81, he will face the ultimate examination of his behavior sooner rather than later. In THE DEPARTED, even Jack Nicholson isn’t good enough to make Costello bad enough to do justice to James Bulger.