Valentine's Day usually summons images of roses, bon bons, and cards made with loving little hands by children.
But now and again, some of us also think of a garage in Chicago, where, eighty years ago today, Machine Gun Jack McGurn and his gunsels — you don't hear that term much anymore — put seventy bullets through seven men and rubbed out the Bugs Moran gang.
That's why they used to call the machine gun "the Chicago violin."
McGurn and his men dressed as Chicago cops. Their getaway car was painted like a patrol car. When they pulled out of the garage, bystanders assumed it was a squad car racing to the scene of a crime, not away from the one they created.
No one was ever charged with the killings.
But the crime was so bald and loud that Moran himself broke the code of gangland silence when he barked to the newspapers, "Only Capone kills like that."
The massacre made Al Capone America's supreme mobster.
But the seven murders also set in motion the tax investigation that finally sent him to prison by 1932.