One Man's Bandit …
There is a popular argument that has been made over the years that “one man's bandit is another man's freedom fighter.” It is true that there have been many tyrannical governments over the millennia and that people have taken up arms against their oppressors many times in the history of the world. Legends like Robin Hood and the movie and television adventures of Zorro always capture the imagination of people. These are archetypes of the crusading hero against social injustices.
The Mafia's PR Campaign
The Mafia has tried to use this argument as a public relations tool on occasion. The Sicilian Mafia is said to have begun as a ragtag band of freedom fighters who took refuge in the rocky hills, often swooping down to attack the many conquerors in that island's long history. Al Capone tried to paint himself as a maverick rebel who was providing a service that an oppressive government tried to deny the people (a drink during Prohibition). He said he was simply giving the people what they wanted. John Gotti took the dashing rebel against society to the extreme, becoming a pop culture icon in the process.
Some things never change. The alleged efforts of the Russian Mafia to influence the judges at the 2002 Winter Olympics is nothing new. Similar corruption occurred at the ancient Greek Olympics. In those days it was considered “impiety,” a crime against the gods, and punishable by death.