Shared violence keeps the peace

 Two researchers at Oxford show that, between nations as between mafiosi, blackmail is the tie that binds.

When the Neapolitan Camorra boss Augusto La Torre decided to carry out the murder of a low-level drug dealer, he assembled a firing squad made up of eight members from his own group. He then instructed all of his men to shoot together at the same time. Everybody in the firing squad had to fire at least one shot even if this was unnecessary. Reporting on the episode included in his book Gamorrah, Roberto Saviano stressed the “savagery” of the action: it was the decision of a man, Augusto, “intoxicated by his own imperial name.” The boss’s request was also a sign of his madness. In reality, there is much more in this action than it is commonly understood.

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