In 1932, Alphonse Capone, an influential businessman then living in Chicago, used to drive through the city in a caravan of armor-plated limos built to his specifications by General Motors. Submachine-gun-toting associates led the motorcade and brought up the rear. It is a measure of how thoroughly the mob mentality had permeated everyday life that this was considered normal.
Capone and his boys were agents of misguided policy. Ninety years ago, the United States tried to cure the national thirst for alcohol, and it led to an explosion of violence unlike anything we'd ever seen. Today, it's hard to ignore the echoes of Prohibition in the drug-related mayhem along our southern border. Over the past 15 months, there have been 7,200 drug-war deaths in Mexico alone, as the government there battles an army of killers that would scare the pants off Al Capone.