What are the two greatest lessons in life? Never rat on your friends and always keep your mouth shut. At least that’s what Robert DeNiro’s character tells a young Henry Hill in Goodfellas. Whitey Bulger apparently never saw that movie. Yes, I know, different mob, different city, different flavor. The Goodfellas were Italian; the Winter Hill Gang, Irish. Still the code of silence transcends cultural differences.
Despite his gangster cred, Bulger spent his career ratting on fellow criminals. When he wasn’t robbing, extorting, or killing, he was feeding info on his peers to disgraced FBI agent John Connolly. In turn, Connolly, who’s now serving a 40-year sentence, tipped Bulger off about investigations and basically helped him skip town and elude capture for 16 years.
Bulger’s stint as #2 on the FBI’s Most Wanted list came to end in 2012 when he was arrested in California. A year later he stood trial for a series of pretty nasty crimes, was found guilty and sentenced to two consecutive life terms—plus an extra five years for good measure.
Investigators discovered not one but two memoirs the Irish gangster is alleged to have written about his criminal exploits and years as a fugitive. One of the memoirs is “My Life in the Irish Mafia Wars.”
Ah, hubris. Seems that transcends cultures, too.