Even when I mentioned this to someone else, the only objection she could think of was "The mafia will kill you". I mentioned that the cops will, too. So she said "But the mafia will kill you for no reason".
I doubt it. Where's the profit in that? As long as you pay your "protection money" ("taxes"), don't try to resist the shakedown, and don't undermine the organization, you'll probably be left alone. Why kill the cash cow? As long as you do things the way the mafia/cops demand, you'll probably be left alone to enjoy your "freedom".
The enforcers don't make the rules; their bosses do. You have as much say in the rules The State (or city council) imposes on you as you do in setting the mafia's agenda. You have been fooled if you believe otherwise.
The mafia will protect those within their sphere from attacks by other thugs, just as will cops. You can't be a successful parasite if your host dies, and if others drain off some of the money you had planned to steal there is less for you and your bosses.
I don't need cops or mafia goons. Take your "protection" and shove it. I am not impressed by your fancy uniforms or shiny cars (with the flashing lights) bought with stolen money. You are a disgusting parasite and you should be flushed out.