caught...
July 11, 2010 7:00 AM   Subscribe

The "Barefoot Bandit" (previously), crashed an airplane in the Bahamas this month. The FBI and other law enforcment have been searching for him for over two years. His Facebook page has nearly 60 thousand friends. After eluding US authorities, he has been caught in the Bahamas. In other news, his mother is shopping for a book deal. Carry on.
posted by shockingbluamp (136 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Aw. Well, it had to end sometime. I don't say he's not a criminal, but he didn't hurt anyone, and it's always neat to see someone stick it to The Man for that long. Best wishes, Colton. Good luck in prison.
posted by cereselle at 7:05 AM on July 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


Are you kidding me? This little piece of s**t vandalized the stores and properties of dozens of hard-working people like you and me for kicks, while his worthless mother egged him on and proudly beamed about how smart he was to evade the law by hiding in a ditch.

"Sticking it to the man" my ass.
posted by Aquaman at 7:15 AM on July 11, 2010 [49 favorites]


I've been reading about this guy regularly for what seems like ages. I'm concerned that the publicity might make even more people think we need to put additional restrictions on use of small airplanes. As long as it blows over without some heavy-handed response, I guess I'm pretty ambivalent.

He has caused an immense amount of property damage. Since it started at age 12 it is pretty hard to attribute this as a sort of political statement. Him being some form of sociopath seems more likely to me. Although it appears no one can say he never did anything for his mother.
posted by meinvt at 7:20 AM on July 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


he didn't hurt anyone

Here's me wishing you get burglarized for tens of thousands of dollars worth of computer equipment, electronics and your car on top of it. Heck, throw in some vandalism on top of it. I'm sure you'll be just as charitable with those criminals as you are with this fucking dumbass.

Seriously, comments like this are a damn shame and apologists for the kid should take a good hard look at their own outlaw hero complexes.
posted by splice at 7:28 AM on July 11, 2010 [15 favorites]


"but he didn't hurt anyone" does not equal "crimes include residential and commercial burglaries, vehicle thefts, assaults on law enforcement officers, bank burglaries, boat thefts, and aircraft thefts."

This kids a frigging delinquent asshole... which "man" did he "stick it to". Nice that you look up to someone like this...
posted by HuronBob at 7:31 AM on July 11, 2010


One of the comments on the Gawker article:
Only a white kid could walk around stealing people's shit and get romanticized for it. They call him a teenager. If a black 12 year old pulled these stunts not only would he not be called a teenager, he'd get tried as an adult.

This is a fascinating real time display of white priviledge.

posted by Jasper Friendly Bear at 7:35 AM on July 11, 2010 [63 favorites]


splice: "he didn't hurt anyoneSeriously, comments like this are a damn shame and apologists for the kid should take a good hard look at their own outlaw hero complexes."

The Facebook page is even more depressing. Ugh.

OMG OUR NOBLE FREEDOM FIGHTER HAS BEEN CAPTURED!!
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 7:37 AM on July 11, 2010


Finally. Send this fucker away. Sure he didn't "hurt anyone", BY SHEER LUCK! Had he accidentally crashed one of his planes into an elementary school playground on Field Day, we surely wouldn't be celebrating this maladjusted piece of trash.. I'll be watching his sentencing with a bag of popcorn in hand.
posted by ReeMonster at 7:37 AM on July 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


Ahh, the noble Barefoot Bandit. Rob from ... everyone ... and give to ... yourself.
posted by proj at 7:37 AM on July 11, 2010


Colton grew up in a trailer, with an apparently crazy mother. That doesn't sound like the best home environment to me. Maybe that's why he's a maladjusted piece of trash. Why would you have any respect for other people's property when you've had nothing of value of your own? Some of his neighbors had airplanes. That had to seem incredibly unfair to a twelve year old.

Colton's not my hero. I just feel bad for the kid.
posted by mmmbacon at 7:47 AM on July 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm surprised this didn't end in him accidentally breaking into an occupied home and raping/murdering the occupants. He seems like a sociopath.
posted by stavrogin at 7:49 AM on July 11, 2010


Stop being so uptight: he's fun in the abstract. Most of us just play GTA, he lives it.

If you stop to think about it, the kid's a monster and deserves all sorts of punishment. But that's boring because there are a LOT of monsters out there.

My wife told me "you wouldn't think he was funny if it were your plane." To which I responded "If I had a private plane, I would hope it was my insurance company that did the crying."
posted by Mayor Curley at 7:51 AM on July 11, 2010 [14 favorites]


Stop being so uptight

Not sure which is worse, MeFi nannyism or teenage delinquents.
posted by stbalbach at 7:56 AM on July 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


we're supposed to give him a free pass because he had a tough upbringing? That doesn't excuse what he did in any way!
posted by ReeMonster at 8:01 AM on July 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Harris-Moore, Harris-Moore,
Dum dum dum the night.
Harris-Moore, Harris-Moore,
Dum de dum dum plight.
He steals dum dum dum
And dum dum dum dee
Harris dum, Harris dee, dum dum dum.
posted by pracowity at 8:03 AM on July 11, 2010 [10 favorites]


Many of us grew up in crappy circumstances with crazy mothers and yet plenty of us manage not to steal shit and destroy other people's property.
posted by crankylex at 8:05 AM on July 11, 2010 [14 favorites]


I realize the hive-mind demands that I hate this kid but honestly I can't bring myself to do it.

I'll report to the re-education pod.
posted by Avenger at 8:16 AM on July 11, 2010 [13 favorites]


Colton grew up in a trailer, with an apparently crazy mother. That doesn't sound like the best home environment to me.

WTF does growing up in trailer have to do with anything, mmmbacon?
posted by IAmBroom at 8:19 AM on July 11, 2010


My wife told me "you wouldn't think he was funny if it were your plane." To which I responded "If I had a private plane, I would hope it was my insurance company that did the crying."

Sure, and what's your response to the little girl that has problems sleeping alone after seeing the jerkwad exit her house after setting fire to a bedroom and stealing her bike? Who's going to do the crying for her?

Fun in the abstract my ass. These are real lives that have been screwed by this shithead, you can't abstract his actions from their result.
posted by splice at 8:22 AM on July 11, 2010 [4 favorites]


OK, I finally read up on this bastard, Colton Harris-Moore. He plead guilty to 3 felony charges, stole a plane (4th felony) which he destroyed, and has also been charged with burglary with forced entry.

The little fuck is also believed to be a prime suspect in SEVENTY other investigations.

If he's a hero, Jeffrey Dahmer was a celebrity chef.
posted by IAmBroom at 8:24 AM on July 11, 2010 [19 favorites]


I think part of the "romance" comes from the steal-from-the-rich aspect, which especially now is compelling.

Also, as MCurley said, its also a teenage fantasy. He didn't just eat Dorritos and pretend to steal a plane: he did it.

I doubt this kid is some idealist or a happy-go-lucky wanderer, but the story does make me think "what if..."
posted by rosswald at 8:31 AM on July 11, 2010


we're supposed to give him a free pass because he had a tough upbringing? That doesn't excuse what he did in any way!

Absolutely not. I feel sorry for the kid. I'm not advocating that he not be punished.

WTF does growing up in trailer have to do with anything, mmmbacon?

You don't think there is a correlation between poverty and crime?
posted by mmmbacon at 8:32 AM on July 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


Wow a lot of seething suppressed anger here at Metafilter at relatively minor misdemeanors.
posted by rainy at 8:32 AM on July 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


If by "relatively minor misdemeanors" you mean "a long string of felonies".
posted by Lazlo Hollyfeld at 8:37 AM on July 11, 2010 [9 favorites]


(I think its just too early. Just wait till the people who sleep late on Sunday log on. [DUCKS])
posted by rosswald at 8:37 AM on July 11, 2010


I'm advocating for the death sentence, for the idiot kid AND his defenders...
posted by HuronBob at 8:46 AM on July 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah ... let's see: he's suspected in over 100 house burglaries, stealing at least five small aircraft, a boat and two cars and credit card fraud. That's "sticking it to the man," indeed.
posted by ericb at 8:46 AM on July 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wow, this thread reads like the comments section of a midwestern newspaper. I'll add my two cents:

Save the taxpayers money and hang his ass! Too bad he didn't crash his plane in the ocean and dye, that would have saved the taxpayers even more money!!! That OBAMA cant take from us!!! or are guns!!!!!!11!!!11eleven!1!!1
posted by notswedish at 8:47 AM on July 11, 2010 [18 favorites]


I think part of the "romance" comes from the steal-from-the-rich aspect

What's funny is that most of the planes he stole don't belong to "the rich". A little 4 seater airplane costs about $20,000, or about what a car costs. These planes aren't fancy, it's more like a 1983 Honda Civic that happens to have wings. General aviation is full of guys who save every penny they make to fly a little airplane a couple of times a month. No one would find it romantic for some punk to steal your retired neighbours hand-restored Corvette.

It's a good thing they caught this guy. Not just because he's a thief, although that's enough, but also because what he was doing was quite dangerous.
posted by Nelson at 8:51 AM on July 11, 2010 [10 favorites]


It's worth noting that in this part of the country (the Pacific NW, where he's from), many people own relatively inexpensive planes and use them to ferry people and goods back and forth from the many islands and peninsulas that otherwise would require a ferry or long, long car ride. It's hardly millionaire playboys having their LearJets stolen.
posted by proj at 8:53 AM on July 11, 2010 [3 favorites]




And in other news people are leaving floral tributes for murderer and child-beater Raoul Moat...
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:57 AM on July 11, 2010


It's times like this that I'm reminded in Starship Troopers (the novel) that parents of children who commit crimes get the same conviction. Perhaps mom should face jail too. She certainly benefited...
posted by CarlRossi at 8:59 AM on July 11, 2010




She certainly benefited...

Yep.
"Pam Kohler, the mother of international outlaw Colton Harris-Moore, has no intention of letting anyone make a dime off her famously fugitive son without her say in it....Kohler has publicly urged him to keep running from the law and find a country that won't extradite."
posted by ericb at 9:03 AM on July 11, 2010


How does one fly planes all over across borders and such without alarm bells going off?
Im not a pilot but wouldn't air traffic control notice this?
Personally I think hes just a messed up kid from a messed up home
posted by SatansCabanaboy at 9:17 AM on July 11, 2010


"'Colt is highly intelligent,' his mother, Pam Kohler, said. 'He's just living his life. He's not hurting anybody really, physically, I mean. I think it's kind of neat.' ... 'I think [the plane thefts are] pretty gutsy,' Kohler said. 'He just needs to work on his landings. I've also said he should take a parachute.' ... 'It's gone on so long that I pray it keeps on going; otherwise, he might get hurt,' she said. 'And if he gets hurt, it won't be because of him. It will be because of overzealous cops.' ... 'Tell him to send me a round-trip ticket to the Bahamas,' she said. 'I mean it. Can you print that? I've never been there, but [I've] been wanting to go all my life. [If he does,] I'll send you a post card.'"*
Sheesh, she's part of the problem!
posted by ericb at 9:18 AM on July 11, 2010 [4 favorites]


I have been burgled and and robbed of thousands dollars of shit in the twenty-some years I have of living on my own. Stereo, computers, CD's (fucking CD's), climbing equipment, guitars. I have had a car of mine broken into, stolen and trashed. And I have had the privilege to be able to afford it all in the first place.

But it is like people here have never seen the Legend Of Billie Jean. If you didn't get even the slightest bit of catharsis from watching a teen-ager cause felony ruckus ... you are already lost.
posted by Back to you, Jim. at 9:23 AM on July 11, 2010 [5 favorites]


Someone set up the PayPal account to take donations for his bail. You know someone will, you might as well be first.
posted by cjorgensen at 9:27 AM on July 11, 2010


How does one fly planes all over across borders and such without alarm bells going off?

That's an interesting question. Let's assume he doesn't turn the transponder on: normal pilots do, but he's trying not to be seen. Unless he's flying incredibly low, he'll show up as an unidentified small target on surveillance radar. United States ATC will see him leaving the country and presumably keep a close eye, but I'm guessing they don't consider it a problem unless the plane is coming in to US airspace. So we're left with the Bahamas ATC. I don't know anything about their operations, but the Bahamas isn't known for its active law enforcement and in general border security tends to be focussed more on the airports where the planes land. "Colt" avoided that problem by crashing the plane off-field somewhere.

There's a noticeable amount of drug trafficking done in small planes, btw. The US even has surveillance balloons at the border to extend radar coverage. It's not foolproof.
posted by Nelson at 9:28 AM on July 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


It saddens me he never learned to land.
posted by cjorgensen at 9:31 AM on July 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


You don't think there is a correlation between poverty and crime?

Actually, no. I think there is a correlation between poverty and getting punished. Not nearly enough rich bastards on death row, for instance.
posted by warbaby at 9:34 AM on July 11, 2010 [9 favorites]


this thread is good proof that some people don't know the difference between selfish gratification and social resistance - or vicarious fantasy and class advocacy
posted by pyramid termite at 9:42 AM on July 11, 2010 [11 favorites]


It'd be something to investigate what's behind the romanticization of this guy's exploits. Part of it may not be white privilege, or "sticking it to the man," or anything other than that he did something reckless (criminal or not) and got away with it for two years. Kind of the part and parcel of the antihero ethos that has permeated US culture since who knows when. Tell me that's not the case and I'll show you a list of all the movies that have been made and done very well in the past 80 years with plots that pivoted on the stuff that antiheroes get away with.
posted by blucevalo at 9:46 AM on July 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm advocating for the death sentence, for the idiot kid AND his defenders...

Damn straight - won't someone think of the poor $400,000 plane-owning, speedboat-owning, holiday-home-owning, Mercedes-owning victims?

Obviously it's a good thing that this criminal has been caught, and crimes are a bad thing - but it's not a new thing that people sometimes romanticise criminals like Frank Abagnale Jr. and D. B. Cooper whose crimes make for entertaining stories.
posted by Mike1024 at 9:53 AM on July 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Here's me wishing you get burglarized for tens of thousands of dollars worth of computer equipment, electronics and your car on top of it. Heck, throw in some vandalism on top of it. I'm sure you'll be just as charitable with those criminals as you are with this fucking dumbass.

I have had thousands of dollars worth of stuff stolen from me. My car has been broken into four times. A thief once went into my underwear drawer to steal my stuff. And apart from fixing my car, insurance has covered none of it.

I shrug. It's only stuff. It isn't vital to my existence. Lighten up, Francis.
posted by cereselle at 9:58 AM on July 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


I love the implications here that if you have money, you somehow deserve to have your shit stolen. Preach on, MeFi class warriors! Viva la revolucion!
posted by proj at 9:59 AM on July 11, 2010 [7 favorites]


This kids a frigging delinquent asshole... which "man" did he "stick it to".

The "man" that is in charge of catching people like this. And couldn't, despite whatever shiny new toy they got with Homeland Security money. Or is this the week that MeFi is on the cops' side?

Nice that you look up to someone like this...

I wouldn't say look up to. It's certainly nothing I aspire to-- too much work, plus I felt guilty that one time I walked out of Home Depot with a twenty-cent pack of plastic ties.

Sure he didn't "hurt anyone", BY SHEER LUCK! Had he accidentally crashed one of his planes into an elementary school playground on Field Day, we surely wouldn't be celebrating this maladjusted piece of trash.

Yeah! And what if he'd crashed onto the freeway, into a busload of nuns carrying orphaned puppies?!?! IT'S ONLY LUCK THAT HE DIDN'T Y'ALL.
posted by cereselle at 10:06 AM on July 11, 2010 [5 favorites]


My wife told me "you wouldn't think he was funny if it were your plane." To which I responded "If I had a private plane, I would hope it was my insurance company that did the crying."

Ah, but in an ideal world there would be no need for theft insurance. The people running the insurance companies are more likely than ever to be "the man" (cruel people with old money). Hence, by stealing a lot, encouraging insurance, he is in fact making "the man" richer.

Owning a plane, a nice car, house, boat are middle class aspirations in a functioning economy (although probably not all at once).
posted by niccolo at 10:07 AM on July 11, 2010


I love the implications here that if you have money, you somehow deserve to have your shit stolen.

Not deserve. But I won't be clamoring for the blood of the thief on the tines of my pitchfork.
posted by cereselle at 10:08 AM on July 11, 2010


Typical MeFi over-intellectualizing and justifying.. there are only a few people here with enough common sense to remember that anytime an inexperienced pilot is behind the controls of an airplane, the risk of killing multiple people is VERY real. It has nothing to do with class struggles, upbringing, parenting, "sticking it to the man" (whatever that means in the context of this white trash turd's life) or anything else..
posted by ReeMonster at 10:14 AM on July 11, 2010 [6 favorites]


I don't understand why Mom thinks things would have worked out better for her little darling folk hero if he had ended up in a country that doesn't extradite.
posted by Nabubrush at 10:15 AM on July 11, 2010


Back to you, Jim. If you didn't get even the slightest bit of catharsis from watching a teen-ager cause felony ruckus ... you are already lost.

I didn't. I think in this case there's a mental divide between people whose very first thought is "Damn, I kinda wish I could've done that" and those for whom it's "Damn, I feel bad for all those people he's harmed." His story's kind of interesting, yeah. But I mostly just see him as a guy who destroyed and stole a lot of ordinary people's stuff, some of which they probably won't be able to replace even if they have the money. I don't want to be that guy and it bothers me that other people had that guy inflicted on them.

It also bothers a lot of folks as much or more that some people are glad to support him for the sake of entertainment, at the personal expense of his targets, and to the benefit of insurance companies and those who are endlessly lobbying for further security restrictions.
posted by hat at 10:25 AM on July 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


he's fun in the abstract. Most of us just play GTA, he lives it

In the last two GTA games, you played a foreign immigrant and a black guy. Tell me either of those get a celebratory Facebook page for tee-hee, aw shucks stealing thousands of dollars of people's stuff.

My wife told me "you wouldn't think he was funny if it were your plane." To which I responded "If I had a private plane, I would hope it was my insurance company that did the crying."

Meanwhile, in real life, let's take an example of my friend who just had his scooter stolen this weekend. Here's what he's NOT going to do:

1. "Lighten up" about it.
2. Get the full value of the scooter in replacement, most likely.
3. See any response for several months.
4. Get to keep paying the same premiums after this.
5. See his scooter again, which despite possibly being able to get some compensation for its loss will still be something important to him that is gone now.

I'm asking this seriously: do you think insurance is... magic or something? Or does the idea that someone is "rich" means the theft of something as significant as a plane isn't something that will be incredibly difficult, costly, stressful, and time consuming to deal with? Because my only assumption from this exchange with your wife is either A. neither of you have ever dealt with the stress of having something stolen from you or B. you really thought that sounded cleverer than it is.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:36 AM on July 11, 2010 [19 favorites]


The only reason he has any support is that he's white. Simple as that.

I really don't think people like cereselle would be supporting a black teenage vandal as he stole his way across the country committing 100 or so crimes. And imagine an Arabic looking Muslim teenager doing this. How many of these people would support the crime spree of a poor misunderstood Muslim youth?
posted by y6y6y6 at 10:38 AM on July 11, 2010 [5 favorites]


Meanwhile, in real life, let's take an example of my friend who just had his scooter stolen this weekend. Here's what he's NOT going to do:
[...]
2. Get the full value of the scooter in replacement, most likely.
3. See any response for several months.
4. Get to keep paying the same premiums after this.


Damn straight - the real criminals here are the insurance companies with their shitty customer service.
posted by Mike1024 at 10:45 AM on July 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Light aircraft in the US aren't necessarily covered by insurance. It isn't mandatory.
posted by L. Ron McKenzie at 11:09 AM on July 11, 2010


Or does the idea that someone is "rich" means the theft of something as significant as a plane isn't something that will be incredibly difficult, costly, stressful, and time consuming to deal with?

That. That right there. A wealthy person will have a peon to do the clerical work and even be part-owner of a good lawyer to make it hard for the insurance company to dick around.

But mostly I don't give a shit. I know that property crime is wrong on a personal level. And that he's endangering people while flying. But, and I'm going to bold this for emphasis:

He doesn't have any flight training and he steals planes. He flew a stolen plane from Indiana to the Bahamas, crashed it, and walked away. AND he's been taunting the cops while he was a fugitive for two years.

He's funny as well as disgusting. But he's funny, and no matter how shrill anyone gets he will not stop being funny to me, even if I am aware that he's scum.
posted by Mayor Curley at 11:12 AM on July 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's one thing for someone to go around breaking into vacation homes, eating food from the pantry, taking showers, whatever.

It's quite another to break into a small locally-owned grocery store and do "more than $5,000 damage to computers, including leaving one soaking in water in a stainless steel tub."

I can understand stealing food and cash, although I can't condone it. But smashing all the computers? What a dick!

I think a lot of people imagine that Coulton was breaking into big faceless multinational chain stores and Hollywood-style mansions and shit. Instead he was stealing the livelihood from small businesses which have been struggling mightily in the last few years.

It's tough times out here, and Coulton made them worse for a lot of people. I find it hard to glamorize that.
posted by ErikaB at 11:12 AM on July 11, 2010 [8 favorites]


I really don't think people like cereselle would be supporting a black teenage vandal as he stole his way across the country committing 100 or so crimes.

What, are you kidding me? As long as no one was physically harmed, I would wish him as much luck as I do the Barefoot Bandit. Muslim, Korean, Pacific Islander, whatever.
posted by cereselle at 11:14 AM on July 11, 2010


I can understand stealing food and cash, although I can't condone it. But smashing all the computers? What a dick!

I'm with you on that one. That's a huge dick move.
posted by cereselle at 11:15 AM on July 11, 2010


Just woke up and yep, I think he's kinda awesome tho certainly deserving of punishment.

I am a Bonnie and Clyde fan from way back tho.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:18 AM on July 11, 2010


Bonnie = his mom in this case tho.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:20 AM on July 11, 2010


What would Johnny Cash say?
posted by KokuRyu at 11:21 AM on July 11, 2010


Hmm. Let me clarify my position:

I do not support Colton-Harris unreservedly. I'm certainly not arguing he didn't commit crimes (yes, stealing from anyone is a crime) or that he shouldn't go to prison. What I mildly liked was his taunting of the cops who couldn't seem to catch him, coupled with the fact that he physically harmed no one during his crime spree.

Say what you will about property damage, it is not on a level with bodily damage. And breaking into a vacation home and stealing a private plane is not on a level with destroying a small business's computers. (I do take the damage to a small business more seriously than damage to luxury goods. That damage, which I wasn't aware of previously, does cool my previous tepid support.)
posted by cereselle at 11:26 AM on July 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm with you on that one. That's a huge dick move.

But he's just misunderstood. Poor Colton!
posted by maxwelton at 11:33 AM on July 11, 2010


There's nothing funny about having your shit stolen or smashed, and innocent lives endangered by a self-entitled, smug little puke. The dip-shit doesn't give a rat's ass about anyone but himself, and he endangers anyone he comes near. Idolizing the moron is even more imbecilic.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 11:38 AM on July 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


this thread is good proof that some people don't know the difference between selfish gratification and social resistance - or vicarious fantasy and class advocacy

This is a huge political problem with ramifications far beyond this thread.
posted by generichuman at 11:39 AM on July 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


I can understand stealing food and cash, although I can't condone it. But smashing all the computers? What a dick!

See, if the OP had opened with this particular bit of information, the internet would have immediately and unconditionally condemned him.

If you must have a heroic modern-day bandit type, I recommend to you Christopher Daniel Gay, who was good to his family and stole Crystal Gayle's tour bus to go see his dying mama. This kid just has a punchable face, a selfish dam who's already scrabbling for the money she can get out of this, and a hollow deflated space in his skull where his conscience should be.
posted by Countess Elena at 11:39 AM on July 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


People romanticize his behavior because he ostensibly rejected society and its rules—whether it was an idealistic/political action or not, that's how it feels. When people have to deal with the monotony of the day-to-day, part of them longs to break free from the civilization and circumstance in which they were born. That's very alluring, and definitely something I've daydreamed about—what if life was an RPG?—but of course I'd never act upon it. When you actually think about the implications and consequences of said behavior, hopefully you realize it's, well, fucked up.

Also, I agree with the white privilege aspect of the story. People wouldn't think "folk hero" if he was black or latino.
posted by defenestration at 11:49 AM on July 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


I am a Bonnie and Clyde fan from way back tho.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:18 AM on July 11 [+] [!]

A fan of remorseless thugs who, who habitually and casually murdered innocent people? Unbelievable.

On August 5, while Parker was visiting her mother in Dallas, Barrow, Hamilton and Ross Dyer[31] were drinking alcohol at a country dance in Stringtown, Oklahoma, an act then illegal under Prohibition. When Sheriff C.G. Maxwell and his deputy, Eugene C. Moore, approached them in the parking lot, Barrow and Hamilton opened fire, killing the deputy and gravely wounding the sheriff;[32][33] it was the first killing of a lawman by Barrow and his gang, a total eventually amounting to nine officers killed. Another civilian was added to the list on October 11, when storekeeper Howard Hall was killed during a robbery of his store in Sherman, Texas. The take: twenty-eight dollars and some groceries.[34]
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 11:58 AM on July 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


"What I mildly liked was his taunting of the cops"... Hey, 'cuz that's an honorable thing to do.....!!! so THAT's the part of him you admire and would like to emulate... go for it....

and.. "mildly" liked??? what the hell does that mean?? trying to stay on the fence a bit???
posted by HuronBob at 12:00 PM on July 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


"killing the deputy and gravely wounding the sheriff"

So, the song was wrong, eh?
posted by HuronBob at 12:02 PM on July 11, 2010


Yeah, those rich people totally deserve to get their shit stolen because they should be wasting their time on the internet defending pointless felonious activity rather than building up their wealth. Such ignoble bastards!

Seriously, though. There's a large swath of Metafilter that just is full of impotent rage against the well-to-do. Having things doesn't mean that you're bad, nor does it mean you deserve to have some messed up twit steal them. Your idea of social justice is 180 degrees from a proper perspective.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:05 PM on July 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


Seriously, though. There's a large swath of Metafilter that just is full of impotent rage against the well-to-do.

Really? About 9 out of 10 comments on this post are calling for the kid's head. I think maybe two or three posters actually admire the kid. Are you sure about how Metafilter really feels about this?
posted by Avenger at 12:09 PM on July 11, 2010


> Are you sure about how Metafilter really feels about this?

Well, I was basing that on previous threads about wealthy people, but you're right. The supporters of this guy are the minority here. That bit should be revised.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:11 PM on July 11, 2010


and.. "mildly" liked??? what the hell does that mean?? trying to stay on the fence a bit???

Go back and look at my comment. Not hard, it's the first one in the thread. Find where I said I idolized, lauded, or wished to emulate Colton. At best, I characterized his activities* as "neat." All the rest you made up in your own head. Argue with your strawman, not me.

*which I later clarified to refer to his ha-ha-catch-me-if-you-can demeanor toward the police
posted by cereselle at 12:20 PM on July 11, 2010


Yeah, those rich people totally deserve to get their shit stolen because they should be wasting their time on the internet defending pointless felonious activity rather than building up their wealth. Such ignoble bastards!

What
posted by cereselle at 12:23 PM on July 11, 2010


> What

Using "what" like that is really weak sauce, especially since you seem to be saying that having property stolen is no big deal.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:26 PM on July 11, 2010


Let me quote you, so we don't confuse you with my straw man: "Aw. Well, it had to end sometime. I don't say he's not a criminal, but he didn't hurt anyone, and it's always neat to see someone stick it to The Man for that long. Best wishes, Colton. Good luck in prison."

"stick it to the man" does not mean what you think it does.... this is not someone performing an act of civil disobedience.

Once we remove that nobility from this idiot's plate, all he's serving us is poorly parented delinquency, vandalism, and endangering behavior... what the hell is "neat" about that?

"And breaking into a vacation home and stealing a private plane is not on a level with destroying a small business's computers."

That doesn't even make any sense in a legal, moral or ethical manner.. what does that mean, which of your values allow that statement?

ya know, when you make a poorly thought out "first one in the thread" comment, and get called on it, it doesn't make it any prettier to try and back peddle and try and plant your butt back on the fence.... But, if you believe this kid is some type of ill formed robin hood, at least have the guts to support your initial "neat" statement.
posted by HuronBob at 1:04 PM on July 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


Aw, cute.

It's kind of amazing that he's not gotten himself killed.
posted by Artw at 2:01 PM on July 11, 2010


Using "what" like that is really weak sauce, especially since you seem to be saying that having property stolen is no big deal.

No, I just didn't understand your argument. I've already said no one deserves to have stuff stolen, just that I'm not calling for this kid's blood.

"stick it to the man" does not mean what you think it does.... this is not someone performing an act of civil disobedience.

Wikipedia: "The Man" is a slang phrase that refers to the government, leaders of large corporations, and other authority figures in general. "The Man" is colloquially defined as the figurative person who controls the world. The phrase is also often used to describe a racial oppressor, the boss of a blue-collar worker, or the enemy of any counterculture. [...] The phrase "stick it to the Man" encourages resistance to authority, and essentially means "fight back" or "resist", either openly or via sabotage.

Allwords: verb to stick it to the man
(intransitive),(idiomatic) To take some action intended to defy a source of oppression such as globalization, commercialization, big business or government.

Urban Dictionary: The Man: 1. n. (derogatory, semi-proper) Term used to describe any class of people who wield power and are seen as oppressive. See also whitey, big brother, corporate america, the establishment (Please note, these synonyms are used as examples of groups who have been called "The Man," and should not be construed as a racist attack)

2. n. (derogatory, proper) Term used to describe an individual who holds authority over another, such as an employment supervisor or police officer. See also, pig, asshole, nazi, fascist.

Stick It To The Man: intransitive verb: to perform an act of vandalism or general civil disobedience in order to oppose the power of the man.
"Dude, I just threw a brick at the head of the Nike corporation!"
"Dude! Way to stick it to the man!"


Sticking It To The Man does not necessarily imply righteous resistance of a corrupt authority. It does not necessarily imply an illegal action taken to draw attention to a larger issue. An act of vandalism opposing the power of a police officer, such as drawing an outline of a bare foot at the scene of the crime, fairly constitutes Sticking It To The Man under these definitions.

"And breaking into a vacation home and stealing a private plane is not on a level with destroying a small business's computers."

That doesn't even make any sense in a legal, moral or ethical manner.. what does that mean, which of your values allow that statement?


1. Killing someone: Bad.

2. Injuring someone: Not as bad as 1, but still bad.

3. Stealing or destroying property that people depend on for their livelihood: Not as bad as 1 or 2, but still bad.

4. Stealing or destroying property that people enjoy, but do not depend on for their livelihood: Not as bad as 1, 2, or 3, but still bad.

ya know, when you make a poorly thought out "first one in the thread" comment, and get called on it, it doesn't make it any prettier to try and back peddle and try and plant your butt back on the fence.... But, if you believe this kid is some type of ill formed robin hood, at least have the guts to support your initial "neat" statement.

I have. More than once. To you. But here we go again:

1. The police could not catch this kid. He eluded them with style for two years, thereby Sticking It To The Man. That was neat. If you don't think so, you have a different opinion. I stand by mine.

2. Having luxury goods stolen is not a big deal. Even when they are not insured, and can't be replaced. I will say again, I have had thousands of dollars worth of items stolen from me, which were not covered under insurance. I depended on none of them for my livelihood, therefore I didn't see their loss as a big deal. Not great, sure, but if that's the worst thing that happens to me in my life, I will be very very lucky.

You want to disagree with me on either of these points, go ahead. But I hardly deserve your massive ire because I hold opinions that differ from yours.
posted by cereselle at 2:02 PM on July 11, 2010 [4 favorites]


Owning a plane, a nice car, house, boat are middle class aspirations in a functioning economy

Whoa, owning a friggin plane is a middle class thing now? Perhaps you meant that owning a plane is a sign that you have graduated from the middle to the upper class, and that therefore a middle-class person aspires to attain one. I know a lot of middle-class folks, of all ages, and only one of them owns a partial timeshare on a plane. Those things are >$100k, used. The $20,000 planes are generally the equivalent of go-karts, self-assembled from a kit. That's not including the maintenance which is also super fucking expensive given that you're expected to get the engine rebuilt after 500 hours or less.

If you had your working plane stolen from the airport where you paid for it to be stored, you are one wealthy mofo. It is not like owning an Acura or a Lexus, it's like owning a Bentley or a Rolls.
posted by breath at 2:13 PM on July 11, 2010 [2 favorites]




It's quite possible that the folks whose planes were stolen were reliant on them for their livelihoods in the NorthWest territories -- such as ferrying people from the island to SeaTac or offering field/wilderness guide services, etc.
posted by ericb at 2:20 PM on July 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


>> What I mildly liked was his taunting of the cops.
> Hey, 'cuz that's an honorable thing to do!


Let me tell you something about running from the cops and taunting The Man with your criminal escapades: it is amazingly awesome! It's incredibly exciting, a huge rush. Half a decade later, my memories are still incredibly intense. I can close my eyes and remember so many details. The smell of the dirt and grass as I lay on my stomach, hiding. The spot lights scanning the roadside, searching for me. I remember the fear, the tense waiting, running, the incredible release and elation when I escape. These memories will stay with me until I die.

The hard part is figuring out how to get the cops to chase you without committing any immoral acts or risking significant criminal sanctions. Colton has obviously failed on both counts, what with the theft, vandalism, and multiple felonies. But those aren't the parts of the story that capture the imagination. The excitement, the romance, and the thrill is in the chase.
posted by ryanrs at 2:29 PM on July 11, 2010 [5 favorites]


Bob Friel | Outside magazine | January 2010: The Ballad of Colton Harris-Moore.

Bob Friel's blog entry from today:
"No secret now: The island I flew to was Eleuthera. I was having a couple Kaliks with a friend at a small bar near the landing where taxi boats run over to Harbour Island. Colt had already been to this bar, taking a little snack food and some drinks earlier in the week. It was Independence Day for the Bahamas, so a friend and I went over to the festival in The Bluff. Not long after we left, Colt showed up at the dock in a little Boston Whaler. He ran it aground on some coral rocks – in full view of a crowd of folks waiting on the dock for a taxi to run them to The Bluff.

Colt got the boat off, then turned off the engine and chatted with a few guys on the dock. He told them who he was and what was going on. A nice friendly chat… One guy opened his cell phone and Colt understood he was calling the police. And Colt wasn’t too upset about that. He wanted a chase. And he got one.

I’ll of course be writing a lot more on this, but it all ended fittingly for the Barefoot Bandit. He ran until the very end. After a boat chase, a land chase and a swim to a speedboat, which he stole. The final chase was two speedboats. Colt ran his onto a sandbar. The other boat with Bahamian Police inside ran close and told him to stop. Colt’s boat was floating off the sandbar and they told me that it was obvious he was going to try to keep running. So they shot out his outboard engines, hitting them with a shotgun and what I think was an automatic rifle.

Colt understood it was serious then. He tried one more thing that I’ll report later, then threw his backpack into the sea and gave up. They retrieved his backpack.

Earlier today, Colt, wearing camo shorts, a blue shirt, a hat and a bullet-proof vest – and shackled hand and foot – was led to a small plane at the North Eleuthera Airport and flown in Bahamian custody to the capital, Nassau.

It’s been quite a run for 19-year-old Colton Harris-Moore and it didn't end before he got a chance to experience a paradise, at least for a little while. Unfortunately for him, there will now be a long run through the legal system."
posted by ericb at 2:31 PM on July 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Keep your opinion, it appears that you operate on a different level... you're welcome to it... done
posted by HuronBob at 2:33 PM on July 11, 2010


Here's a 2009 article about Harris-Moore's crimes on Camano Island in Washington.

His mom is trying to play the "I'm a single mom and don't know what to do" card, but her negligence allowed this kid to become what he is now.

Why isn't she being called out for being a crap parent?
posted by reenum at 2:38 PM on July 11, 2010


Ya' know who else eluded authorities for years by hiding out in the wilderness: serial bomber/terrorist Eric Robert Rudolph.
posted by ericb at 2:39 PM on July 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


What would Johnny Cash say?
posted by KokuRyu at 11:21 AM on July 11


I suppose it depends on whether you think he'd be pro- or anti-Bandit. Fortunately, enterprising souls have stepped in and provided songs for both camps:

The Ballad of Barefoot Harris
(pro)

The Sad Saga of Colton Harris-Moore (anti)

Personally I'd like to think ol' Johnny would come up with something better than either of these songs, but since that's not going to happen I think I'll go get The Rebel/Johnny Yuma stuck in my head for a while.
posted by Vervain at 2:46 PM on July 11, 2010


Eric Rudolph is a motherfucker because he planted bombs and murdered people, not because he hid in the wilderness.
posted by ryanrs at 2:48 PM on July 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


The $20,000 planes are generally the equivalent of go-karts, self-assembled from a kit.

Nope. You can buy a nice well-maintained 60s era Cessna for around 20,000.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 2:56 PM on July 11, 2010


I wonder if he was barefoot when they caught him or if they took his shoes off for that perp walk picture.
posted by Iron Rat at 3:20 PM on July 11, 2010


I have a number of friends who own planes, and they are used as tools, to access remote areas, and not one of them could remotely be considered upper class, unless you consider being a fisherman, plumber or logger "upper class". Hell, even the $500,000 plane referenced above get's you a junior one bedroom apartment around these parts.

The wholly artificial dichotomy some people have invented in their minds about any moral difference between stealing "luxury goods" from the "upper class" is reprehensible. You should be ashamed of yourselves.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 3:21 PM on July 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


Whoa, owning a friggin plane is a middle class thing now?

one of my co workers at the factory owns a plane - he makes 17.11 an hour
posted by pyramid termite at 3:24 PM on July 11, 2010


If you had your working plane stolen from the airport where you paid for it to be stored, you are one wealthy mofo.

Let's break this down.

"Working plane" = not a pile of parts. OK.

"Paid for it to be stored." I don't get it. Do you know any airport that will let someone park an airplane there for free? Maybe for a couple of days at a time, but not as a regular proposition. Unless the airport is your backyard or something.

"One wealthy mofo"? Look. Look here. Look over here! I mean, it's a great feeling to fly through the air like a motherfucking bird. You can actual use a plane to travel to cool places efficiently while keeping your shoes on. I don't begrudge anyone for spending their money on an airplane instead of elsewhere.
posted by exogenous at 3:28 PM on July 11, 2010


I'm advocating for the death sentence, for the idiot kid AND his defenders...

Stay classy. Did I walk into the comment section of my local newspaper?
posted by cj_ at 3:34 PM on July 11, 2010 [2 favorites]




"I'm advocating for the death sentence, for the idiot kid AND his defenders..."

Stay classy. Did I walk into the comment section of my local newspaper?"


That was what I was shooting for... (no pun intended)...
posted by HuronBob at 3:58 PM on July 11, 2010


"That's not nice or funny."..I think the word we're using for his outings is "neat", if I can remember all the way up to the very.first.comment.
posted by HuronBob at 4:00 PM on July 11, 2010


Bits and pieces....

-If he's a hero, Jeffrey Dahmer was a celebrity chef.

Say what you will, but in an alternate universe where Dahmer was caught, sentenced, served his time, was released, and then was put on TV for his own cooking show....damn right people would watch it.

-I'm advocating for the death sentence, for the idiot kid AND his defenders...

Coincidentally, I am an advocate of people being banned from the internet for being dickheads. Which statement, yours or mine, is more ridiculous?

-"Pam Kohler, the mother of international outlaw Colton Harris-Moore, has no intention of letting anyone make a dime off her famously fugitive son without her say in it....Kohler has publicly urged him to keep running from the law and find a country that won't extradite."

Yeah, she deserves scorn and, where feasible, punishment for not controlling her kid for the crimes he did as a juvenile.

-A fan of remorseless thugs who, who habitually and casually murdered innocent people? Unbelievable.

You've never rooted for the bad guy? You didn't watch Terminator 2 and say "Yeah! Make a big ass knife out of that mercury shit! Awesome!". Since we don't know him, or his victims, it's easy to look at this as a detached story that seems very unreal. ...but I do acknowledge it is real and we should feel bad for the victims of the crimes. However, rooting for the bad guy and feeling sorry for the ones he hurt are not necessarily two exclusive emotions (for anyone who can see shades of gray, not black and white).
posted by swimming naked when the tide goes out at 4:08 PM on July 11, 2010


Listen, you people have absolutely no right to promote this kid as some kind of cinematic hero. I really need to ask you to immediately cease doing so.

Me personally? Totally cool with whatever you think of the kid. What I'm trying to tell you is that a team of lawyers from 20th Century Fox just showed up on my frickin' doorstep, slammed me the floor and are physically forcing me to post the following I'm so sorry ow:
CONSUMERS OF METAFILTER: 20TH CENTURY FOX HAS RETAINED ALL FILM RIGHTS TO THE LITERARY WORK "TAKING FLIGHT: THE HUNT FOR A YOUNG OUTLAW" BY BOB FRIEL, THE UPCOMING BOOK THAT WE HAVE DECLARED THE DE-FACTO NARRATIVE ABOUT "COLTON HARRIS-MOORE(TM)". IT HAS COME TO OUR ATTENTION THAT YOU HAVE REPRODUCED OUR TRADEMARKED NAME AND DISCLOSED THE NARRATIVE ARC OF SAID SUBJECT MATTER. PERMISSION WAS NEITHER ASKED NOR GRANDED TO REPRODUCE OUR WORK AND YOUR WORK THEREFORE CONSTITUTES INFRINGEMENT OF OUR RIGHTS. WE ARE ENTITLED TO AN INJUNCTION AGAINST YOUR CONTINUED INFRINGEMENT, AS WELL AS TO RECOVER DAMAGES FROM YOU FOR THE LOSS WE HAVE SUFFERED AS A RESULT OF YOUR INFRINGING CONDUCT. IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES, WE DEMAND THAT YOU IMMEDIATELY REFRAIN FROM ALL DISCUSSIONS AND COPYRIGHT USAGES AND REMOVE ALL INSTANCES THEREOF. MODS WE'RE LOOKING AT YOU-- AND YOUR NOT-YET-PUBLIC RECORDS. TRUST US, WE CAN OWN YOUR SILLY BLUE WEBSITE TOO SO DON'T PUSH IT BECAUSE WE KNOW WHERE YOU LIVE AND WORK. TYHEO456 09A54h34HFAL ow, they just slammed my forehead into the keyboard, kicked my dog, and stormed out of my house.

G'dammit, now they're pissing on the hood of my car.
posted by prinado at 4:14 PM on July 11, 2010 [4 favorites]


"That's not nice or funny."..I think the word we're using for his outings is "neat", if I can remember all the way up to the very.first.comment.

I thought you were done?
posted by cereselle at 4:36 PM on July 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Owning a plane used to very much be a middle class, working man activity in the US. In the late 40s/early 50s there was an explosion of inexpensive planes on the market sold to young men coming back from the war and spending their GI Bill money on pilot's licenses. A whole lot of people flew then and it only required some disposable income, on the order of having a boat, or a second car, or taking vacations out of the country. That common access is part of why even today some 2% of Americans have pilot licenses.

Aviation is a more expensive hobby now. When I threw out the $20,000 for a plane I fudged a bit, neglecting to mention the $50-$100 / hour operating costs for actually flying the thing. That being said, there's lots of ordinary not-very-rich folks in the US who own and fly airplanes. Aviation is also a very trusting and open community and one of the things that makes this punk particularly frustrating is he abused that openness. People in the Pacific Northwest were putting locks on their planes for the first time because of this kid. It's sad.

(Also the whole discussion of price is bizarre. Is it OK to steal Mac laptops because only rich people have them but a thief should leave the Windows/Linux laptops alone? Is it more OK to joyride a Mercedes than a Volkswagen?)
posted by Nelson at 4:38 PM on July 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Just told my friend about the tragic capture of this heroic outlaw and he said:
"this should be a show where the audience can vote someone out of prison."

I concur, except in my world the parolee/victor would get to be a US Representative for 1 Term as well.

The times, they call for mischievous and deliberate (and yes, dangerous) criminals-- to be creative and unrepentant while we despise them and envy the freedom of their freefall. Their adventures are certainly more honorable and enjoyable than the hi-jinx of the killers and liars that have infested the boardrooms and chambers of power for the last 10 years.

Sure I condemn his acts or whatever platitude I'm supposed to say to show how caring I am about property rights, but it's good to know that it's still possible for a young slightly insane person to take a long hard look at modern life and their potential therein and go, "No Thanks. Non serviam, motherfucker!"
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:38 PM on July 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


Ah, he got caught alive. That kills the folk hero thing. Now he's just a sociopath going to jail.
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:42 PM on July 11, 2010


You can buy a nice well-maintained 60s era Cessna for around 20,000

But that won't get you from Bloomington, Indiana to The Bahamas without several refueling stops along the way. If Colton managed to pull that off, he must have better flying skills than people have claimed. He must have been a hell of a talker to get past ATC and the ground staff.

Nope. Turns out he simply stole a $620,000 Cessna 400 Corvalis TT. That plane has just enough range to make the trip in one hop. +10 points for doing your homework, I suppose.
posted by ryanrs at 4:51 PM on July 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


If I wanted to encourage freckle-faced white teenage sociopaths to plot and thieve their way to fame and fortune, I'd have been a prep school teacher.
posted by Countess Elena at 4:55 PM on July 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh shit, he stole a Columbia 400? Well that makes it OK then, that's like stealing a Ferrari. That's OK, right? Nice taste, too, those are pretty planes. For awhile his thing was to steal a plane and then just fly it until it ran out of gas, then put it down in a field somewhere around where he was. Honestly I suspect he's better at emergency off field landings that I'll ever be, what with all the practice.
posted by Nelson at 5:26 PM on July 11, 2010


For awhile his thing was to steal a plane and then just fly it until it ran out of gas, then put it down in a field somewhere around where he was.

That's what he did this time, too.
posted by ryanrs at 5:47 PM on July 11, 2010


Glad he is caught. Hope he spends a long, long time in jail because the number of crimes he committed here in the Pacific Northwest alone boggles the mind. No doubt because I live here, I have not seen any romance in any of little Colton's exploits.

Unfortunately, it is unclear whether or not his mom, who is planning to cash in on all of this with her own book, is precluded from keeping the profits of said book under our local "Son of Sam" law, which only strips profits from criminals who publish and their "representatives."
posted by bearwife at 6:21 PM on July 11, 2010


You've never rooted for the bad guy? You didn't watch Terminator 2 and say "Yeah! Make a big ass knife out of that mercury shit! Awesome!"

Um , no, actually. In point of fact, that scene made me sick to my stomach; and that, right there, is the problem in a nutshell. 30 years ago, I was first on the scene at a fiery high-speed head-on collision in which three people died. Believe me when I tell you that no Hollywood movie has ever captured the full horror of what such cataclysmic event is like.The desensitization to violence that occurs in our society as result of continual exposure to it by the media is precisely what allows otherwise moral people to romanticize the exploits of a sociopathic delinquent like this; or even such brutal killers as the Barrow gang. There is nothing, repeat nothing, romantic about Bonnie and Clyde, and conflating the results of their depredations with those of a science-fiction thriller is simply asinine.

That no one was killed or injured by him is sheer luck. When you break into people's homes in gun-toting America, the risk of violence is very real. When you illuminate someone with a laser sight while doing so, the possibility of you or someone else getting shot and dying a painful death is very real . When you arm yourself with a weapon, and engage in a high speed chase, the risk to innocent bystanders and law enforcement is real.

It's not neat or admirable in any way.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 8:11 PM on July 11, 2010 [4 favorites]


I've been thinking about this thread all day as I went about my business. Here is what I have concluded: America (nay, perhaps the world) is clearly desperate for a fun, devil-may-care, smart, resourceful criminal on the run. Except that it's hard to root for someone who's done something genuinely bad.

So my plan is, essentially, to give the people what they want:

1. Set up a PayPal and Cafe Press account, so that I can accept donations and sell t-shirts while on the lam.

2. Commit a crime that will make people happy, yet get "the law" on my tail.

3. Ready, set, GO!

The key is choosing the initial crime wisely, and committing your subsequent crimes "the right way." No theft of property (except things which are obviously critical needs, like band-aids). No wanton destruction. NO FRIGHTENING LITTLE GIRLS. Etc.

As for the initial crime, I'm thinking about something pro-puppy, since people like puppies. How about beating the living crap out of a puppy mill owner? Like, with an aluminum baseball bat? I think most people would be okay with that, right?

I would also be willing to take the time to put all of the doggies into a big truck and drive them to safety, before firebombing the puppy mill itself into a smoking crater.

Yes/no/watch for my blog!
posted by ErikaB at 10:12 PM on July 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm also hoping to convince a series of you all to leave plates of food out on your porches for me.

(Except for rileyray3000 because I am scared of skunks.)

Erikas like microwave popcorn, grilled cheese sandwiches, and fresh apples. TIA!
posted by ErikaB at 10:14 PM on July 11, 2010


I would also be willing to take the time to put all of the doggies into a big truck and drive them to safety, before firebombing the puppy mill itself into a smoking crater.

Wasn't that a reality show on A&E?
posted by krinklyfig at 11:46 PM on July 11, 2010


There is nothing, repeat nothing, romantic about Bonnie and Clyde, and conflating the results of their depredations with those of a science-fiction thriller is simply asinine.

Would it also be accurate to say that you disapprove of media such as Goodfellas, The Godfather, Sin City, The Sopranos, Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, 24, The Usual Suspects, The Italian Job, and so on?

America (nay, perhaps the world) is clearly desperate for a fun, devil-may-care, smart, resourceful criminal on the run. Except that it's hard to root for someone who's done something genuinely bad. [...] How about beating the living crap out of a puppy mill owner? Like, with an aluminum baseball bat? I think most people would be okay with that, right?

No no no, you're going about this all wrong. First of all you need a non-sympathetic victim - perhaps the CEO of a failed bank who gave themselves a million-dollar bonus for securing bail-out money from the taxpayer? Or a BP exec?

Second, beating someone with a baseball bat is nothing like romantic enough. You need a crime which demonstrates both style and cojones. For example, fake an invitation to a ball at your victim's mansion, walk right in the front door in full evening wear, steal your victim's cash, jewellery, and cigar collection, then make off from his gated community's landing strip in his biplane. If possible, you should also have a mustache, and you should be caught when police follow a trail of substantial charity contributions in your wake.
posted by Mike1024 at 2:39 AM on July 12, 2010


Yeah, those rich people totally deserve to get their shit stolen because they should be wasting their time on the internet defending pointless felonious activity rather than building up their wealth. Such ignoble bastards!

No one is saying anything remotely close to this. There's a big difference between saying "the rich deserve to get their shit stolen" and saying "I don't care if they do."

No one has defended this guy as some kind of hero - everyone who expressed some kind of vicarious thrill at his exploits has also been careful to reaffirm that he is a criminal and it's a good thing he got caught.

Still, we all have a concept of the severity of crimes. Committing violence against someone is very serious. Stealing something that impacts their livelihood, or composes a significant fraction of their personal wealth is serious, but less so.

Stealing a $400k toy from a multimillionaire is a crime and should be punished, but it's like someone of average means having their ipod or a stack of CDs stolen. It sucks, but it's also not that big of a deal.
posted by heathkit at 2:46 AM on July 12, 2010


> Stealing a $400k toy from a multimillionaire is a crime and should be punished, but it's like someone of average means having their ipod or a stack of CDs stolen. It sucks, but it's also not that big of a deal.

Thankfully, you're not the arbiter of criminal activity.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:50 AM on July 12, 2010


The key is choosing the initial crime wisely, and committing your subsequent crimes "the right way."

The greatest chase of your life is waiting for you at the U.S. - Mexico border. Done properly, I bet you can avoid legal sanctions even if you get caught. Probably won't get to crash any planes, though.
posted by ryanrs at 3:58 AM on July 12, 2010


What percentage of this guy's fans were female (or gay)? I'm wondering whether there wasn't a certain amount of fantasizing about a tall barefoot young man tiptoeing in at night, taking what he needs but not hurting anyone, and then vanishing before dawn in big daddy's favorite plane.
posted by pracowity at 4:16 AM on July 12, 2010


So this guy took off, alone, in a plane he didn't know how to land? He's crazy. Anyone denying that needs their head examined. But damn, there's some stony cahones.

Funny enough, I knew a teenage plane thief before, when I was 13. I'm afraid I can't process plane theft as anything other than astounding. It is a deed beyond the question of right or wrong.

Could we all just be a little more honest and accept the simple fact: stealing an airplane is only a little less amazing than flying like superman. I know, I know, it's like, totally unkewl to say, and we're all supposed to be just like, 'yawn', whatever. But come on, really. He flew.

I fear for this guy, actually. He's dangerous. He has some brains, and he has balls. I worry someone is going to decide to beat one or the other out of him, for good. That's a damn shame.
posted by Goofyy at 6:03 AM on July 12, 2010


stealing an airplane is only a little less amazing than flying like superman

No, amazing would be if he landed the plane intact in Havana and sent the FBI a photo of himself barefoot and smoking a cigar.


He has some brains, and he has balls

But not much of a head for strategy, I'm afraid.
posted by ryanrs at 6:26 AM on July 12, 2010


So is there any room for cognitive dissonance about this guy in the debate? I kind of admire his mythical existence while still deploring his actual real-world actions. Does that make any kind of sense?
posted by charred husk at 6:38 AM on July 12, 2010


That's how I feel about Obama.
posted by ryanrs at 7:00 AM on July 12, 2010


Better not to steal, but if you are going to steal, better to steal from someone that can afford to lose it, I always say.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:03 AM on July 12, 2010


> So is there any room for cognitive dissonance about this guy in the debate?

There's always room for cognitive dissonance!
posted by Burhanistan at 7:38 AM on July 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


As long as he gets a stiff prison sentence and is barred from profiting off any future books or movies, I'm happy.

This reminds me of the snotty little teenagers near my work who have been burning the park benches that I like to sit on during lunch. That, and littering a lot seem to be how they "stick it to the man". (Hey, the park benches are in a nice neighborhood! Woo we're rebels!!)

I'm not saying I never did anything bad as a teenager, and honestly I did a few clever but bad things, but even at the time it would have boggled my mind if anyone had expressed admiration for the stuff I did. I knew it was wrong and I tried to make it right later, and at 40 I feel really embarrassed and bad about it.
posted by freecellwizard at 9:08 AM on July 12, 2010


Would it also be accurate to say that you disapprove of media such as Goodfellas, The Godfather, Sin City, The Sopranos, Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, 24, The Usual Suspects, The Italian Job, and so on?

No. It would be accurate to say that constant exposure to that kind of FICTION is what makes some people of otherwise good character romanticize REAL violence, like the vicious Barrow gang, or this incredible, self-centred jerk.

Could we all just be a little more honest and accept the simple fact: stealing an airplane is only a little less amazing than flying like superman.

Not for someone who is obsessed with airplanes, and who has spent many hours in pretty realistic flight simulation. Any nimrod with that kind of exposure can take off and fly, the trick is landing the frikken thing. Something this arrogant and dangerous little prick can't do.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 9:40 AM on July 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Stealing is only ok if it's a loaf of bread to feed your family.

Or if it's cool shit from some rich fucker.
posted by Nabubrush at 8:32 PM on July 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Stealing a $400k toy from a multimillionaire is a crime and should be punished, but it's like someone of average means having their ipod or a stack of CDs stolen. It sucks, but it's also not that big of a deal.

Really? You actually think that? Incredible. Nice attitude.

Here's a suggestion for you. In your mind, pick the one most valuable thing you're ever likely to own, something that might take you twenty years worth of sacrifice and hard work to finally have , and then imagine that some self-satisfied "rebel" arbitrarily destroys it, and see how you feel about such a position then.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 11:10 PM on July 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


> Here's a suggestion for you. In your mind, pick the one most valuable thing you're ever likely to own, something that might take you twenty years worth of sacrifice and hard work to finally have , and then imagine that some self-satisfied "rebel" arbitrarily destroys it, and see how you feel about such a position then.

I hope I'd feel exactly the same as I would if it was destroyed completely accidentally. The mental state of those involved is for the law to deal with, my job is to get on with my life.
posted by Skorgu at 6:53 PM on July 14, 2010


Here's a suggestion for you. In your mind, pick the one most valuable thing you're ever likely to own, something that might take you twenty years worth of sacrifice and hard work to finally have , and then imagine that some self-satisfied "rebel" arbitrarily destroys it, and see how you feel about such a position then.

Well, that's the exact opposite of my point. What I'm saying is that if I made $200k a week and some jerk destroys my half-million dollar plane, I really wouldn't be that harmed, or upset.

I'm not saying it's not a crime or that he shouldn't be punished. Just that in that arbitrary situation I invented (which may or may not comport with reality), he hasn't caused that much harm. In the situation you describe, he's caused a great deal of harm.
posted by heathkit at 1:19 AM on July 15, 2010


Could feds keep Barefoot Bandit, mom from profit? -- "Lawyer: Suspect is getting many offers for book and movie deals."
posted by ericb at 1:46 PM on July 19, 2010


I'll give the fuckwipe an offer.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 10:15 PM on July 19, 2010


Update from the NYT.

Love him or hate him (or really hate him), it is an amazing story. I'm glad no one got hurt in all of his escapades.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 6:22 AM on July 22, 2010


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