Generation warfare goes back to the Greek ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle and can be found in the strangest of places, including the mafia.
It is a fact that older generations are traditionally disgruntled with younger ones. They dislike their money saving habits, house buying priorities, stock investing, how they dress, how they speak, how they educate themselves, and generally how they dare to change things for better or worse
Now, imagine a mafia youngster speaking to his boss in the same manner as that trending now on the internet: “OK, Boomer.”
But organized crime isn’t immune to the generational shifts. Just like any other “industry”, it has to deal with the gap.
That necessity came to light in September when the Feds arrested Colombo crime family boss Andrew "Mush" Russo and a dozen of his close associates, charging them with a series of crimes in Brooklyn federal court, ranging from labor racketeering and extortion to money laundering.
The majority of the defendants are 65-years-old or older. Russo himself is 87. The underboss Benjamin “The Claw” Castellazzo is 83, and Colombo family head Vincent Ricciardo is 75.
It’s a rather old age to be in this business, but they didn’t trust their younger clan members.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Scott Curtis, the former FBI agent who investigated the Colombos’, said that Russo has been too hands-on, suggesting he should have retired long ago and he wouldn’t have ended up in jail.
Custis said that Russo and other crime families bosses have failed to follow established practice by past generations of mobsters: maintaining a healthy distance between the actual crime itself and the boss man.
“That’s why you see some of these guys getting arrested repeatedly… “They have to get their hands on all these minute details of the plan,“ Custis said.
The WSJ also cited a former member of the Colombo family as saying that old-school crime bosses don’t trust younger generations of mafiosi because “they’re softer and dumber, not as loyal as mobsters of the past and are too attached to technology”.
Indeed, one millennial-aged Colombo associate reportedly violated the code of silence while threatening a union official over extortion collections in text messages.
“Hey this is the 2nd text, there isn’t going to be a 3rd,” the associate wrote, according to court records.
In another case of Boomer-Millennial discord, an alleged 66-year-old “special adviser” to the crime Colombo clan head surrendered to the authorities a day after his son uploaded a photo on Twitter of him standing in a glistening swimming pool in Florida.
“Special advisor” Ralph DiMatteo had been the only one mentioned in the federal indictment to have evaded arrest … until his son Tweeted his fate.
The mafia will have to deal with their millennial successors eventually. Millennials number some 80 million in the U.S., and they already outnumbered Boomers in 2019. Whether they truly are lazy, entitled and narcissistic, as the older generations love to claim, is irrelevant.