Run, Colton, run!

The police in the Bahamas have captured the “Barefoot Bandit,” Colton Harris-Moore. After two years on the run, the 19 year old fugitive is behind bars, after having been arrested after a high speed boat chase. Harris-Moore was taken into custody in shackles, true to his nic, barefoot.

There is a Face Book page, dedicated to Colton Harris-Moore, with 71,000 friends. Tee-shirts have been sold with the message “Run, Colton, run!” and “Fly, Colton, fly!”

(Harris-Moore has allegedly stolen five small aircraft, taught himself how to fly and crashed landed in the Bahamas after a 1,000 mile flight in a plane he stole in Indiana.)

Colton has become a folk hero over the past two years.  Like Bonnie and Clyde before him, his exploits have made front page news and earned him a rabid following. It should be noted, of course, that Colton has not been alleged to have killed anyone.

So, why do we tend to glorify outlaws?

The afore mentioned Bonnie and Clyde, John Dillinger, Jesse James and Billy the Kid have all been given a place in American folklore, despite their violent pasts. Even D.B. Cooper has his fan club. BTK was a folk legend until he turned out to be just Dennis Rader.

We glorify outlaws, in my not so humble opinion, because they do what we fantasize about doing – running from the law and getting away with it.

What does our fascination with outlaws say about us?

On one hand, the American thought is “hang ’em high!” or “lock ’em up and throw away the key!”

On the other hand, we celebrate the outlaw. We root for him (or her) to continue to evade Law Enforcement and continue with their illegal activities.

Which will it be?

Colton Harris-Moore is likely to get twelve or more years in prison. Will his Face Book admirers still be around when he is paroled? Will the “cult of personality” that surrounds him still be foursquare behind him or will they have found a new “outlaw” to rally behind?

(The thread photo is not of the author. My beard is white.)

William Stephenson Clark


Filed under Life Lessons

10 responses to “Run, Colton, run!

  1. wicked

    Thanks for the explanation. I kept seeing all these news blips about the Barefoot Bandit, but I didn’t care enough to look into it and find out who it is. Too bad this won’t cure my insomnia. Too bad I know now. LOL

    Of course he has fans! There are plenty of twisted people out there who have nothing better to do with their life than be enamored of some idiot. Their lives are so boring that associating themselves with “bad boys” makes them feel as if they’re just as bad.

    With Bonnie & Clyde and Dillinger, it’s a bit different. They were robbing the institutions that basically caused the common people to lose their homes and jobs. Does that sound familiar?

  2. indypendent

    The thing that bothered me the most about hearing this story was the fact that his mother sounded rather flippant about everything when she was asked by the media for her thoughts about his capture. She even stated that she wished he had gotten to some country that did not extradite to the US.

    This 19 yr old had been in trouble with the law since he was 12yrs old. When he started his run from the law, he had escaped from some halfway house.

    What kind of a homelife must this kid have had to make him think that being a bad boy from the age of 12 was the way to go?

    I guess the maternal side of my nature is coming out now – but I feel for this kid (and I am not excusing him for being a kid – but let’s face it, it does not sound like he has had much guidance from any adult).

    He needs to face the consequences of his actions – but I have no doubt he will still have fans writing him in his prison cell.

    Hey – Scott Roeder has fans and he killed a man in cold blood. This kid stole things and ran.

    • When children are always excused by their parents they don’t learn what actions are inexcusable.

      • indypendent

        That was the part of this story that struck me the hardest – where was this kid’s parents? And then when the media talked to the mom – I knew the answer.

        It’s just sad to me to think of a 19-yr-old that is apparently clever and smart enough to elude police for 2 years did not get the chance to channel all that creativity into something productive.

        But, like I said before, this is the maternal side of me speaking.

    • wicked

      Charlie Manson still gets tons of fan mail…and it’s rumored that he has his own website. Well, gee, I guess you gotta have something to do in solitary.

  3. WSClark

    Colton is alleged to have stolen five small airplanes, after he taught himself how to fly. Unfortunately, he didn’t teach himself how to land.

    He crash landed all of them.

  4. tosmarttobegop

    I should not do this but hey thinking about it made me chuckle:

    “When asked how it was possible for Colton to elude capture for over two years with a massive manhunt for him.

    A Police spokes person said that Colton was insidious! He put a pair of shoes on while we were looking for some one that was barefooted!

    We even had mug shots and everything! there were officers at every airport and train station looking at the pictures of bare feet and then at the feet of everyone boarding.

    But never found anyone with bare feet?

    The little criminal just put on a pair of shoes and outsmarted us I guess?

    • Everyone at airports is bare footed (or at least no more than stocking feet) for awhile. 😦

    • indypendent

      Sometimes it is like watching an old short film of the Keystone Cops.

      Or are you too young to remember them?

      Am I showing my age again? LOL

    • When we went back east for my son’s wedding, I was trying to put mine and my Mother’s luggage on the conveyor belts, get our shoes off — y’all know the dog and pony show — and people back of me were pushing and the security people were also pushing. I’ll bet I looked worse than keystone cops! What a nightmare! Traveling with someone who has ‘special’ needs is so difficult!