The Valentine’s Day Massacre

The Valentine's Day Massacre - Avenue21.netLincoln Park, Chicago, February 14, 1929. Seven members of George “Bugs” Moran’s Purple Gang were lined up facing a wall by two policemen.

The gangsters figured that this was a routine police search, so they co-operated, to quickly get it over with. And with their eyes on the wall, they never saw the spray of machine gun fire coming.


The “policemen” were actually disguised rival gangsters, and their bullets immediately killed six. Despite 14 bullets in his body, a seventh gangster, Peter Gusenberg, survived for a few more hours. Before he died, Gusenberg was conscious, but he refused to identify his killers.


No-one was ever convicted for this crime, but the authorities had little doubt that it was orchestrated by Al “Scarface” Capone. Moran had been trying to muscle in on Capone’s territory, which meant war. And war with Capone meant murder and mayhem.

One of Capone’s “associates” later shared that Scarface had informed him of the plan to take down Moran’s gang. When he told Capone that this would mean killing a lot of people, the world’s most infamous gangster replied: “I’ll send flowers”.

The Valentine's Day Massacre - Avenue21.netFlowers

The Massacre took place exactly 85 years ago to the day. So Avenue21 wants to commemorate this February 14 event. In case anybody feels that this is somewhat gruesome, they may have a point. But I believe that it’s worse to celebrate the torture and death of Saint Valentine by giving each other flowers.

Valentine was a third-century Roman priest or bishop, who was stoned, beaten and beheaded on Emperor Claudius II’s orders. He had tried to convert the emperor to Christianity, and clearly that didn’t go well. And somehow we nowadays celebrate this sad story with chocolates, flowers and special Valentine’s Day sex. Oh well, at least he didn’t die for nothing….

To end on a high:

Obviously this celebration of Saint V’s martyrdom feels a bit wrong-way-around. But if it leads to special Valentine’s Day sex, why not?

Also the wrong-way-around is The Flip Side. This comedy TV show turns social norms around, and literally shows the world from the flip side. And their take on men vs women is absolutely hilarious:

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