“If you want to make crime pay, Go to Law School.”

That’s the advice notorious gangster Whitey Bulger gave to a group of curious high school students in 2015. TaxProf Paul Caron tells the story in a blogpost written after Bulgar was brutally murdered in his prison cell last month:

Bulger, imprisoned for life for his role in 11 murders, wrote a letter to three teenage girls in 2015, telling them he was “a ninth-grade dropout” who “took the wrong road”. The former mobster said he was among “society’s lower, best forgotten” members. He told the students, who had first written to him for a school history project, not to spend their time on him. “My life was wasted and spent foolishly, brought shame and suffering on my parents and siblings and will end soon,” he wrote. …

The three high school students – Michaela Arguin, Mollykate Rodenbush and Brittany Tainsh, all from Massachusetts – decided to build their project around Bulger, the former boss of Boston’s notorious Winter Hill Gang. Arguin said that the theme was leadership and that, rather than choosing a positive leader, they chose a negative one, asking Bulger what he thought about his own legacy. …

But on February 24, 2015, Bulger replied to the students’ letter from federal prison in Florida declining to participate and urging the teenagers to find a “more deserving” subject, such as a wounded service member. …

Bulger told the students: “Advice is a cheap commodity. Some seek it from me about crime. I know only one thing for sure — If you want to make crime pay, ‘Go to Law School’.”

“It’s something you wouldn’t think a mob boss would say,” Arguin said.

However Arguin, who is a pre-law student, said she has taken up Bulger’s suggestion and plans to go to law school – and study criminal law.

A wise decision, no doubt. She wouldn’t want to end up like Bulger. As Caron reports:

The US Bureau of Prisons confirmed that Bulger (89) died last Tuesday at the jail in Bruceton Mills, West Virginia.

After being choked and beaten to death in his prison cell, Bulger was wrapped in a blanket and placed in his bed to make it look like he was sleeping. Bulger’s killers went so far as to rest his head on the pillow after striking him repeatedly with a padlock stuffed inside a sock, said law enforcement officials.

 

Jon Guze / Director of Legal Studies

Jon Guze is the Director of Legal Studies at the John Locke Foundation. Before joining the John Locke Foundation, Jon practiced law in Durham, North Carolina for over twent...

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