Working the system vs seeking redemption – ‘american ganster’ and ‘redemption’

We saw the amazingly well done ‘american ganster’ last night.

Its interesting to compare the stories of frank lucas – who built a massive heroin business in the 70’s by working the system – and stanley ‘tukie’ williams – who cofounded the crips gang in LA during the same time.

Lucas admittedly murdered at least one man and probably many more in addition to creating thousands of dope addicts by importing pure heroin and selling it super cheap. Williams also was responsible for destroying many lives.

While williams spent his adult life in prison and was executed in 2005, lucas spent only 12 yrs in jail.

Both men were changed by their downfall. Williams sought redemption devoting his remaining days to writing childrens books focused on steering away from gangs (the subject of another great movie ‘redemption’). He won a pullitzer and was twice nominated for nobel prizes.

Lucas, who built his fortune bribing US military and police continued to work the system and even today in nymag interviews boasts about his triumphs with only muted comments about how he shouldn’t have done it. Mostly, he says this was the only avenue he had to be ‘white rich’.

I’m not sure if there’s a moral to these stories other than that those who break the law seem to fare better if they continue to work the system. Tukie remained defiant till the end. Not sure that really got him much, especially when his goal was to help kids. Why not help arrest his former gang members. Did he remain loyal till the end to the wrong group?

Also, great biz lessons from lucas like don’t be flashy, surround yourself with trusted people and make the system work for you. Sent wirelessly via BlackBerry from T-Mobile.

One thought on “Working the system vs seeking redemption – ‘american ganster’ and ‘redemption’

  1. the key difference: lucas remains a scumbag who only cares about himself whereas tookie actually repented and tried to stop the cycle of violence and crime, including trying to help children, etc.
    quite a comment on the american system that the scumbag who only cares about himself is alive and glorified in a movie whereas the guy who repented and tried to stop gang violence was executed.

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