He was the hightest ranking mafia member to turn state’s witness against his boss, now he’s back out of prison and putting the record straight with his new podcast.
He was the highest-ranking mafia member to turn state’s witness against his boss, now he’s back out of prison and putting the record straight with his new podcast.
Salvatore Gravano was born on March 12, 1945, to loving parents. Why would this boy grow up to be a mafia hitman? We are told that serial killers and murderers usually have a terrible childhood with parents that mistreat them. This is one excuse Sammy couldn’t claim. He had two loving parents, but he did have a big problem. He had Dyslexia in a time when there weren’t any programs for children with learning disabilities.
In his recent interview with Patrick Bet-David, Gravano claims this as one of the major factors that led to his life choices. He struggled in school, and as the aggression grew within him, he found his outlet in violence. Could this really be the reasoning behind his entrance into the street life? Who knows? We can only speculate on the young Gravanno’s motivations.
I watched the entire interview with Gravano and Bet-David at midnight the day it was released on Youtube. I had to admit I was curious. What would he say? Would he try to justify himself? Would he denounce the Mafia? I had to find out.
For those who don’t know, I started writing true crime by writing the biography of an ex-gangster named Sidney Heard. Although Heard was more of a want-to-be compared to Gravano, I learned a lot about how the criminal mind works. Heard wasn’t Italian, so he grew up emulating the mob and ended up creating his own “family” in Amarillo. Sidney had a brilliant mind when it came to scheming, conning, and avoiding the law. I often asked him why he chose the criminal path. He, too, claims it was his environment, but I’m not sure.
While watching Gravano’s interview, I was looking for certain things. I noticed he was a brilliant criminal mastermind and wondered what he could have done for humanity if he had chosen a different path. How many world-changing entrepreneurs have dealt with Dyslexia? Henry Ford, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet are just a few names that come to mind. They all had this learning disability; over came it and made their mark on the world in a positive way. Steve Jobs and Sir Richard Branson changed the world despite Dyslexia. What separates Branson and Gravano?
On November 13, 1991, Salvatore Gravano agreed to turn state’s evidence against his former boss John Gotti, Sr. This wasn’t a simple decision that Sammy decided to take the high road and turn his life around. No, it was because his best friend and boss, Gotti, had turned on him and was trying to pin everything on him. At that moment, Gravanno learned what the Mafia was all about. It was about greed, violence, and betrayal.
To this day, Gravano hasn’t denounced the Mafia. In fact, he said in his interview that he still had a passion for it. To him, it was a lifestyle that only Italians could understand. This brings me back to my time with Sidney Heard. I learned a lot about the La Cosa Nostra during the six years I spent researching that book. It’s an entire subculture with its own rules, laws, and law enforcement personnel.
In America, if you are accused of a crime, you have a right to a fair trial of your peers, and if you are found guilty, you will serve jail time. For extreme cases, you may receive the death penalty, but then you are automatically guaranteed twenty years’ worth of appeals. None of this is true in La Cosa Nostra. If you are accused of breaking a rule, you will die. Oh, there are a few minor infractions that you will receive a warning. Warnings usually consist of a brutal beating.
In the interview, Gravano said something that would startle most law-abiding citizens. I was actually waiting for it. Sidney taught me that the majority of career criminals will justify their actions in one form or another.
“You made me kill you,” Gravano talks of standing over a friend’s grave and saying those words to the headstone.
In his twisted mind, the man deserved death because he broke the Mafia’s rules. It didn’t matter to Gravanno that he killed the man; it was the man’s fault. He caused his own death, and he caused his family to suffer this pain. While this would shock most, I was prepared for a comment like this. This type of mentality is what separates the Steve Jobs type and the Gravanno type. I really don’t think the learning disability had much to do with it.
Jobs wasn’t raised in a sub-culture with little regard for human life. It goes back to the age-old question of “Nature vs. Nurture.” While I cannot speculate on his motivation, I can tell you that Sammy “The Bull” will be starting a podcast. Will it be successful? Yeah probably. Time will tell if he’s really trying to go legit this time around. I’ll keep you posted.
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