Al Capone ran a winter soup kitchen in Chicago during the depression. Coffee and doughnuts too, cheerfully handed out free for the huddled, freezing hungry.
As an “associate’’ explained to the press, “He couldn’t stand to see those poor devils starving and nobody else seemed to be doing much, so the big boy decided to do it himself’’.
Capone was no Robin Hood. Just a hood. But that’s the thing about organised crime. It tends to be organised. This murderous gangster saw certain corporate benefits in a bit of reputational rehabilitation.
Gangs are not Iwi or Hapu. Treating gangs as just a Maori welfare group is as wrong as treating the Mafia as an Italian American welfare group. They are overwhelmingly organised crime that peddle misery.
In New Zealand the Mongrel Mob has long been a criminal outfit in the worst sense of the word. It also has a pretty good PR department going nowadays, capable of highlighting some good projects and good outcomes, amid evidence that some of its old-timers have a heart for change.
But come on. Business as usual still continues in its ugly form. So it was a thoroughly bad call for Human Rights Commissioner Paul Hunt to have donated $200 of public money while attending a mob event in Waikato.
Also as a matter of fact the Mongrel Mob was started by Pakehas in the 1960s. Their patch is a British Bulldog. Sure today most members (not all) are Maori, but justifying a $200 donation on the grounds of it being koha is offensive.