Well, it went like this – in 2009 I was asked to submit a learned article about the statistics of organized crime in Hong Kong.
As a paleontologist, I am quite proficient – or so they say – in statistical analysis of ecological data.
The idea was – can we look at crime from an ecological point of view, and define statistically behavioural patterns and rituals in gangland violence?
And should patterns emerge, do they conform to the known rituals of the criminal organization?
Is there a map in the numbers?
So I went and did some reserach and number-crunching re: Triad-related gangland violence in Hong Kong in the last ten years of the 20th Century.
To recognize patterns in data distribution, one has to know the background of the data, the system he’s analyzing.
So I read a lot about Triads organization and folklore, Shaolin Temple legends and whatnot.
And patterns did emerge, and they defined a clear ritualistic behavior.
Stuff like gangland violence being a lot less lethal than shown in the movies, and the worst cases being, paradoxically, small-scale staring contests among low-grade hoodlums, which cause much more damage, mayhem and deaths than professionally planned gangland turf wars.
It was a fascinating research project, if small scale and zero-budgeted.
In the end, I wrote an 8000 words first draft and submitted it – and it vanished without a trace.
It’s been five years, now.
So last week, having a few fre hours, I picked that old paper, cut the technical stuff, rewrote part of it, and having finally produced a decent 10.000 words of popular (social) science, I did an ebook and placed it on Amazon.
I was lucky enough to be able to enroll the five times excellent Giordano Efrodini as a cover artist – the gorgeous artwork gracing my cover is his.
Alas, the book is only in Italian.
Sorry, rest of the Universe.