Only when addiction is a mental health problem and not a criminal justice problem will we stop the canonizing of gangsters. I suspect the personalities of gangsters are similar to money-grabbing businessmen than the saints who change the world by their personal sacrifice, but I do not know any gangsters so I can’t say. It is clear that Al Capone was martyred to bring us the local package store. His last words “You can get more with a kind word and a gun than you can get with a kind word alone” do not compare with other famous martyrs like Nathan Hale or Bob Marley’s “money can’t by life”. Capone’s life work and lasting influence on the world is substantial nonetheless.
El Chapo plays the game as the government does and when he loses, another Capone will step up until the US educates and treats the addicts who will kill and die for what el Chapo sells. Putting people in jail hasn’t worked so far. Other countries have legalized all drugs but controlled their use through Health and Human Services, not criminal justice systems. Such a control would solve a big part of our border security as well and allowing a large portion of our society to stand up and tell the world about the drug problem without fear of prison.
It would take a concerted effort, a grand public education campaign to bring the American public to the factual realization that an illegal drug is a drug after all, and drugs are sought out by everyone. Our legal drug trade and our illegal drug trade are very similar in that people want to buy drugs enough to pay huge amounts of money and make those who trade in drugs very, very rich. Every one of the top 25 pharmaceutical companies made more money that El Chapo Guzman in 2014 and every other year..
Alcohol and marijuana have both been demonized by governmental and societal powers that be over the ages. No one can say if it is a good thing or a bad thing that people are more free to drink alcohol and smoke marijuana today than they were in the 1960s. By any measure life has gotten less free in the USA since then, however.
Public education and reasonable thinking have brought acceptance of the reasonable existence of those two formerly illegal drugs to a majority of Americans. Many of us recognize that the lying, conniving government has much of its power over people, especially poorer people, with their control of drugs, prostitution and gambling.
Generally those who have less contact with the Police and the rest of the government accept the inevitability of drugs and have seen the disaster of addiction, and the rest of us haven’t.