Editorial: Mob rule: '60 Minutes' of fame

The Patriot Ledger

It’s unclear why we glorify violent mobsters in this country, people who use lethal and sadistic force to get their way or sometimes just for the fun of it, but there’s no denying we as a society are fascinated by them.

John Martorano, the former Milton High School football star, is a one-time hitman for the notorious Winter Hill Gang who has admitted to killing at least 20 people, starting in 1965 when he was just 24.

On Sunday – one day after the 13th anniversary of the indictment and disappearance of his mentor James “Whitey” Bulger who called Martorano “The Cook” – the apparently remorseless killer will be on “60 Minutes” in an interview that is guaranteed to be a ratings winner.

It certainly has nothing to do with sensitivity for 20 dead victims’ families.

Martorano, after leaving Milton High, attended a prep school in Rhode Island with the late Ed Bradley and promised the “60 Minutes” correspondent he would do an interview with the show. He is keeping his promise with his old schoolmate – what an upstanding guy – but we have to believe the follow-through has more to do with what it will do for Martorano’s fortunes for a planned book or movie than inform America’s youth about the dangers of being a mob killer.

After all, the Bulger saga has created a cottage industry for even the most tangentially connected (see: Bulger soldier Eddie MacKenzie.)

Martorano is being rewarded for his notoriety and knowledge. He served only 12 years despite admitting to the score of murders because he turned federal witness against his old boyos.

When he was released last spring, his brother James, a Quincy resident and former member of the Winter Hill Gang, said big brother turned down an offer for witness protection and has moved somewhere back near his roots.

Better he had gone into the program, although it is unlikely he would have been able to tell his story to an adoring public, which will slap down the Benjamins to read his tale when (we doubt if) it comes out.

We’ll likely watch Martorano’s matter-of-fact recitation of the blood and gore, mostly because we’ll be tuned in to see Roger Clemens talk about the steroid allegations on the same show.

But as we listen to the former Milton High football captain chat about his workaday life before forced retirement, we will remember one thing: he is walking around free while 20 people who came in contact with him are dead. Theirs are stories that should be heard.