Thursday, January 24, 2008

I got some groceries, some peanut butter

From the maddingly brilliant book of the Naples System, Gomorrah, a description of security during the Secondigliano War between the Spanish and DiLauro clans:

I would ride my Vespa through this pall of tension. In Secondigliano I'd be frisked at least ten times a day. If I'd had so much as a Swiss Army knife on me, they would have made me swallow it. First the police would stop me, then the cararbinnieri, sometimes the financial police as well, and then the Di Lauro and Spanish sentinels. All with the same simple authority, the same mechanical gestures and identical phrases. The law enforcement officers would look at my driver's license, then search me, while the sentinels would search me first, then ask lots of questions, listening for the slightest accent, scanning for lies. During the heat of the conflict the sentinels searched everyone, poked their heads into every car, cataloging your face, checking if you were armed. To motorini would arrive first, piercing your very soul, then the motorcycles, and finally the cars on your tail.
I was struck by the difference in approaches to the basic "airport security problem" between those who were obliged to obey the rule of law, and those who knew an error in their judgment would likely mean their own death.

Foto of the arrest of Cosimo Di Lauro from La Repubblica.

1 comment:

alex said...

Why stay in college?

Why go to nightschool?

*great* I'm going to have that song in my head all day...