Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Louis "Lepke" Buchalter

Today's Criminal Mind is Louis "Lepke" Buchalter. He was a mobster who was in charge of the mafia's Murder Inc. He was a pretty nasty hit man, and was responsible for a lot of crime in the 1920's. He was caught and brought to justice, being executed in the electric chair in 1944 in New York's Sing Snig prison.

The thing I find fascinating about the picture is that he "looks" like a criminal. I bet that if I showed you this picture and asked you what you thought about the person, you would say he was a criminal. What is it about him that makes him look like a thug? Also interesting is that if you did not guess he was a criminal, you probably would have guessed he was a politician.


  1. Looks like singer Bobby Darin (Mack the Knife). He should have spent some of his ill-gotten gain on his teeth.


  2. Looks are very deceiving. My Uncle Eddie has all the features of a typical movie bad guy, mobster. Califlower ears, bent nose, hair combed straight back, a few missing teeth, thick Boston accent, the works. You want to cross the street if he was walking towards you on the sidewalk. Actually he is the nicest guy in the world, family man, raised 2 great kids in the suburbs. Was a plumber his whole life. By looking at Whitey Bulger today, who would have ever thought he was a monster, he looks like a kindly old grandpa. Sidenote... Love those Model T's. They are in excellant shape if you got them going that quick. My son and I bought a 51 Pontiac Chiefton years ago that we got running after sitting for many years outside in the New England weather. Flathead straight 8, 4 door. What a beast of a car that was. Sold it to a guy that belonged to a Pontiac Club so I was assured that it would live on.

  3. I think it's the nose, the missing teeth and the way he's wearing his hat.

    I was married to a family that look like a bunch of thugs too, and I'm not saying that just because I'm divorced from them now! They just have that "look" and my daughter has been able to recognize them as part of her family when they were complete strangers twice! Strong genes...

  4. I don't think he looks like a 'thug'......unless you consider a used car salesman a thug.
    Also the mafia would never have become what they became if it were not for prohibition. The same applies today .....the war on drugs.....and we ain't winning at all......plus it's costing every citizen a bundle. Of course alcohol is a drug and it in itself has probably caused more pain and anguish and death and destruction than any other drug to date.....but......it's socially acceptable......oh, and makes lots of $$$$.
    What people 'look' like can backfire a lot of times. We have these 'images' of what evil looks like and more often than not evil looks like an ordinary nice person. The best of evil knows that and they use it to their advantage.
    I hate stereotyping based on 'looks'. I've dealt with that myself for a long time. In this day and age I see it as an increasing factor when it comes to unnecessary hate. But I suppose it's human nature and we haven't come as far from that tree we crawled down from as we think we have. We have our 'tribes' and our 'herds' and if you don't fit in then life can be hell. Someone once said...."if we were all blind, the world would be a more peaceful place". They may be right.

    (I don't mean to stay anonymous, but this site doesn't seem to link posters to Facebook)

  5. Criminal, politician or lawyer.......What's the difference?
    I guess a politician and a lawyer don't kill directly.

  6. "I guess a politician and lawyer don't kill directly."

    Reminds me of a famous movie scene:

    Michael: My father is no different than any powerful man, any man with power, like a president or senator.

    Kay Adams: Do you know how naive you sound, Michael? Presidents and senators don't have men killed.

    Michael: Oh. Who's being naive, Kay?

  7. "I guess a politician and
    lawyer don't kill directly."

    (think Boston accent...) "When I returned, Mary Jo and the car were gone"


  8. John, ya beat me to it. Dang!!!

  9. He puts the "con" in "con man." He has that look that gains people's confidence: It's almost boyish. But you can also see that his eyes look almost dead.

    I'm thinking now of what Hannah Arendt meant by "the banality of evil." Anon 2:16 makes that point: If you really want to commit evil, it's best to look inconspicuous.

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  11. The plain fact is that you can't tell a man's a criminal by how he looks. An Italian criminologist named Cesare Lombroso tried to create a theory based on this notion, but it has been widely discredited.

    From Wikipedia: Lombroso's general theory suggested that criminals are distinguished from noncriminals by multiple physical anomalies. He postulated that criminals represented a reversion to a primitive or subhuman type of man characterized by physical features reminiscent of apes, lower primates, and early man and to some extent preserved, he said, in modern "savages." The behavior of these biological "throwbacks" will inevitably be contrary to the rules and expectations of modern civilized society.
    Through years of postmortem examinations and anthropometric studies of criminals, the insane, and normal individuals, Lombroso became convinced that the "born criminal" (reo nato, a term given by Ferri) could be anatomically identified by such items as a sloping forehead, ears of unusual size, asymmetry of the face, prognathism, excessive length of arms, asymmetry of the cranium, and other "physical stigmata." Specific criminals, such as thieves, rapists, and murderers, could be distinguished by specific characteristics, he believed. Lombroso also maintained that criminals had less sensibility to pain and touch; more acute sight; a lack of moral sense, including an absence of remorse; more vanity, impulsiveness, vindictiveness, and cruelty; and other manifestations, such as a special criminal argot and the excessive use of tattooing.

    I think that Lepke "looks like a criminal" because Hollywood has established a Mafia type, which he fits. But this is a chicken and egg problem.