“History doesn’t repeat but sometimes it rhymes”
often attributed to Mark Twain
The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, 1929, took place at the peak bubble of Wall St.
weeks before Hoover’s inauguration and months before the stock market crash.
Seven members of an Irish Chicago gang were mowed down against a garage wall
with at least two Thompson machine guns, assault rifles developed for World War I
which became the terror weapon of choice for the gangs who took over whole cities
with the money they made in millions in the black markets created by prohibition.
Al Capone who consolidated his control of those markets with the murders ended up
in prison and died of syphilis while Lucky Luciano who also got long time on charges
of tax evasion was let out to quell labor unrest on the docks to smooth the invasion
of Europe and arranged for the Italian Mafia to meet the troops who invaded Sicily.
Our St. Valentine’s Day Massacre (of the innocents) takes place in similar succession
of shootings as “free” market ideology of stealth money equals power put in place
policy that transferred wealth from working people to a smaller and smaller coterie
of people with more money than common sense eviscerating social safety nets and
flattening tax structures and freezing wages offering instead as slim recompense
guns, gay bashing and bible thumping as if people could shoot their way out of poverty
and hate makes you happy when you’re sure Mom wanted to abort you as in it’s all
about self-interest now there is no alternative to we’re all individuals now society
does not exist or a man with an assault rifle and enough ammunition can hold us all
hostage so freedom is a gun’s warm barrel over and over again they prove there’s no
place left to be safe with all those AR-15’s out of Pandora’s Box of the invasions of let’s
see Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan waiting for the next stock market crash, waiting for
the next regional war, waiting for the depression to change it all, waiting for the glaciers
to melt ( when that’s a fait accompli).
James Van Looy has been a fixture in Boston’s poetry venues since the 1970s. He is a member of Cosmic Spelunker Theater and has run poetry workshops for Boston area homeless people at Pine Street Inn and St. Francis House since 1992. Van Looy leads the Labyrinth Creative Movement Workshop, which his Labyrinth titled poems are based on. His work appears weekly in Oddball Magazine.