The Mafia and Baby Birds: Melissa Bassi Mafia Murder Victim

While trying to heal my injured back, I did a lot of reading. Well, not so much reading, only one-and-a-half books in all that time – no record for me, but what I was reading was heavy and I could take only so much of it before changing to HGTV for respite. If you have read anything by James Ellroy, you know what I’m talking about. His best known book, LA Confidential, was one of those few books morphed into a movie just as good as the book. I became an Ellroy fan. I read My Dark Places and Black Dahlia, then decided to read his complete bibliography. The problem: I began with American Tabloid. I didn’t get far before putting it down for years, but only after trying to move on to The Cold Six Thousand. I spent less time with it than I did with American Tabloid. The writing was riveting if you understood the intent of the words – staccato phrases of four or five words, if that. The short story: I picked up American Tabloid for a second try about two weeks ago. Finished it. Now I’m reading the follow-on, The Cold Six Thousand. Today I get it. Both continue to repulse me with the graphic language, imagery, racism and homophobia – but the tales of JFK’s assassination, gone-bad police, Teamsters and the Mafia sound all too believable (does Ellroy know the truth and tell it in these two “fictionalized” tales?). Today there is a terrible Mafia story in the news of Melissa Bassi’s death. So what about the baby birds?

Babies Out of the Nest

Since bungling my back gardening, I’ve stayed inside and done not much but rest, but yesterday I shopped for plants and today ventured out to decide where to plant. Both hubby and I were in the backyard, and birds were going wild. The sound was high decible. Eventually hubby spied the two little ones in the pic above. I guess Mamma pushed them out of the nest. We left the area for awhile hoping she would rescue them. Eventually they tottered off to a neighbor’s yard.

In Brindisi, Italy Melissa Bassi, a 16-year-old student (see family photo of this beautiful young girl here) was murdered by a Mafia revenge bomb planted outside a school named after an anti-Mafia prosecutor. The anti-Mafia prosecutor and his wife were murdered 20 years ago by La Cosa Nostra.

“It was a Mafia attack,” said Nicola Fratoianni, a regional official. “A bomb placed in front of a school bearing the Falcone name is a clear message from the clans — a reprisal to recent police operations.”

Ten days ago police conducted a raid in which they arrested 16 alleged members of Sacra Corona Unita, charging them with extortion, illegal weapons ownership and Mafia association.

Many of the pupils at the school, including the teenager who was killed, were from the nearby town of Mesagne, one of the strongholds of the Mafia group.

Brindisi-Mesagne, Italy

The town of Mesagne is located in the heel of the boot of Italy –  beautiful area with miles and miles of coastline, and miles and miles of ages-old olive trees and grapevines – and very near the Apulia area of Salice Salentino, the home of one of my favorite inexpensive, robust red wines (when I can find it) – Taurino Salice Salentino. Had I had some of Dr. Cosimo Taurino’s succulent magic, my back would have felt better faster and the danged pinched nerve might not be pinching. In the meantime, I am ploughing plowing through The Cold Six Thousand and still wondering, what is truth and what is fiction?