Saint Valentine’s day is a day that most people around the world celebrate their loved ones. It might have a sad story behind it, we all know about the beheading of St. Valentine, but that’s not the only major tale this day carries with it. Apparently, on February the 14th in 1929, someone was in no mood for some loving acts. He had some other idea; the Big Gangland Massacre’, as it was referred to by the Chicago Herald Examiner in February 15, 1929. This marked the death of six of Bugs Moran’s man.
Like every other known massacre, it was a carefully planned and effectively carried out plan. It is no surprise that no one was found guilty of the heinous crime.
FACTORS THAT LED TO THE ST. VALENTINES MASSACRE
The Saint valentines massacre took place in a city that was well known for gang wars and all forms of illegal trade in that particular period- Chicago. There were two major gangs pursuing each other. One of the gangs was led by Al Capone and the other by Moran Bugs. Moran wasn’t always a gang leader, but the rivalry between the two leaders began long before he took up the position. Al Capone had killed Bug’s pal and gang leader in a bid to rule over the antagonized territory. Moran Bugs had however taken the lead and relentlessly gone after Capone, crippling his trade in a big way.
The two leaders would stop at nothing to get the luxurious illegal trade under their control.
A previous notable rivalry act was recorded when Moran and his men tried to assassinate Capone as he was having lunch, by showering more than one thousand bullets into the hotel he was in. Capone might have survived the ordeal but Moran was determined to send him to his untimely death. With a 50,000$ bounty placed on his head in the 1920’s, Capone was everyone’s target. He had to kill Moran if he wanted to be a free man. The fact that Moran killed Capone’s man, Pasquillano, cemented that resolution and marked the birth of the massacre idea. Moran Bugs’ assassination was set to be carried out on 14th February.
What took place?
One of the main activities the gangs were involved in included bootlegging. Not only would they manufacture beer illegally, they also distributed it likewise.
It is alleged that Al Capone arranged for Moran’s deception concerning a delivery comprising of hijacked whiskey on St. Valentine’s day. Moran and his men were supposed to be at their pick point, a friend’s garage in the north, at 10:30 am. Bugs’ poor time keeping skills ensured he arrived much later than agreed. His keen eyes had him spot a police car outside the garage so he drove away from the scene, leaving his members in the hands of the perceived lawmakers.
Several bullets and six deaths later, it emerged that they had been beaten at their own game. The men in police uniform were hired thugs with a fake police car. They had pretended to apprehend the gang members, had them surrender their guns and face the wall before raining bullets on them. Talk about being stabbed in the back, literally. Two policemen then walked out behind two civilians, leading people to believe that they had seized some gang members and thus buying them enough time to escape.
Moran had a narrow escape but he was no longer a match for Al Capone. As expected, Capone vehemently denied any association with the episode. He even suggested that Bugs had committed the operation against his own gang. No one had any proof that he was involved, so he retained his freedom; for a short while.
LIFE AFTER THE MASSACRE
The massacre changed several things in the Chicago gang territory.
1. The fall of the two major gangs.
(i).The Fall of Capone’s gang.
Capone may have been good at concealing all the incriminating evidence, but not even his great personality could fool the public that previously adored him. He was known to give food and clothes to the poor. After the incidence he was branded an enemy of the people and had to sneak out of the territory for his own security.
The police were also not so eager to let him walk free. They soon began arresting him due to other allegations, including tax evasion, and his hold on the territory got weaker. He was found guilty of other misconducts and sent to jail.
(ii).The Fall of Moran Bugs.
Moran lost his faithful gang members and was severely rattled by the circumstance. This made him turn to bank robberies, which were small undertakings bearing in mind what he used to do. He was later arrested, charged and jailed.
He then battled and succumbed to lung cancer a few years later, while in prison.
2. Creation of a tourist attraction.
As the tale about the Saint Valentines massacre spread, people began vising the hall to quench their curiosity. A couple who did not know much about the hall even tried setting up a business there, but the business failed as the people who frequented there were more interested in the history of that place.
I don’t know whether it still qualifies for the ?€tourist attraction’ tag, given that they building was never preserved and the many people that it freaks out these days. There are claims that people have heard gunshots and screams when walking around the place during the night. Even dogs don’t seem fond of that place. That however, is up for debate.
3. Rise of some of the most priced building blocks.
Talking of business acumen, no one beats this Canadian business man. He bought some of the block that the bullets had ruined and used them in his night club. They were part of the building blocks in the men’s washroom. To ensure no one felt left out, ladies would be let visit the washrooms to see them on certain days of the week.
When he closed down his business, he sold out the blocks for 1000$ each! The blocks soon found their way back to him with people claiming they carried great misfortune with them. Could they have caused his business closure too?
The St. Valentines Massacre lives to be one of the most famous massacres in the world and of great influence in Moran Bugs life, having marked the beginning of his fall. There had been 64 deaths resulting from gang wars between 1924 to 1929, but none were ever so grave.