Monday, July 12, 2010

Why the Barefoot Bandit has more Facebook friends than I do

by Pat Brown

BREAKING NEWS! The Barefoot Bandit was captured in the Bahamas on Sunday!

Who is Colton Harris-Moore, the so-named Barefoot Bandit, fugitive burglar and Internet bad boy who just had his two-year crime spree brought to a screeching halt on a small tropical island not far from Florida? Is he a despicable little two-bit teenage thief with no respect for decent people or the law? Or is Harris-Moore a handsome, dazzlingly clever, real-life Pink Panther-type folk hero, a thief with Catch Me if You Can nonviolent con artistry?

However you answer, Harris-Moore's antics have garnered him headlines, even The Today Show's attention. Perhaps not surprising with so much media coverage, he's amassed a huge following, including a Facebook Fan page where more than 65,000 people kept up with his crime spree, as the cops chased him across the globe. Harris-Moore even has a song written about him on YouTube (which sucks, by the way). His supposed Twitter page lists his present location as "Wouldn't you like to know?" (Well, we know now, don't we? In jail.)

A recent tweet read: "I love how Twitter just asked me if I'd like to 'Add Location' to my tweets. Nice try. :-D."

I don't know if it was really Colton Harris-Moore running the Twitter account, but I'm sure whoever is behind it had a good time. Social media and cable news surely made him infamous, but the exposure also backfired, making him recognizable to folks on the lookout. The Bahamians managed to ID the 6'5" blue-eyed blond, and law enforcement closed in. Spree ended.

Let's take a look at this kid. Nineteen-year-old Harris-Moore has a long criminal history starting at the age of twelve. It appears that he got at least some of his criminal mentality from his own mother, a sort of in-house Fagin. Her comments to the press are quite disturbing and revealing. The Tribune out of the Bahamas writes this of Mommy Dearest:

Pam Kohler, Harris-Moore's mother, said she wasn't surprised her son might be responsible for the plane theft because he had taught himself how to fly.

She has publicly defended her son, and claims the allegations against him are exaggerated. She told The Associated Press she would have preferred he fled to a country that doesn't have an extradition treaty with the United States.

"The furthest he gets from the US, the better," she said from her home on Camano Island. "I'm glad he's able to enjoy beautiful islands, but they extradite. It doesn't help matters at all."

Furthermore, Mum whines that he was accused of crimes he didn't do although he managed to get charged with 23 felonies just in his home county.

"It was ridiculous," Kohler said. "They made such a big damn deal of everything. He was blamed for everything that happened in [the] county. [The police] even took some of my jewelry, tried to say that he stole it, and put in in evidence against him."

She doesn't think he's hurting anyone? Let's just ignore the monetary losses, the gun he waved at people, terrifying them. I guess if sonny boy hasn't killed anyone, he's a sweetie-pie.

So Harris-Moore continued his criminal life, presumably with his mom's blessing. Then, a couple of years ago, he ran from a halfway house (undoubted Mom would say he was railroaded) and started his own crime wave. He sometimes committed crimes in bare feet (once he was actually totally naked) and in one burglary he left chalk footprints as his calling card (ooh, so Hollywood). He's a suspect in more than seventy crimes which include burglaries of businesses, home invasions and stolen cars, boats, and airplanes. He is being investigated in Washington State, Oregon, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois (and other places I'm sure). Then he got really cocky and stole a plane which he crashed into the island of Abaco in the Bahamas.

I guess Mom didn't realize her boy wasn't going to be a terrorist and failed to make sure he knew how to land? It was a dumb place to go. Didn't he realize he was going to an ISLAND? A place surrounded by water and no bus to jump on or car to boost to get away? He did try to steal a speed boat, but he got caught before he could motor off.

Mum may yet come out on top. There's already a movie in the making as 20th Century Fox has bought the film rights to the book "Taking Flight: The Hunt for a Young Outlaw." Pamela Kohler has retained an entertainment lawyer for her own book and possible movie deal.

Colton Harris-Moore's mother says: "I think it is kind of neat." I do too. I think it's kind of neat that he's in custody and going to spend a long, long time in prison. The only thing I don't think is neat that this poor excuse for a mother may think getting pregnant has finally paid off.

I hope all of Harris-Moore's fans are bummed today. People should be cheering those who give to our country, not egging on those who work to destroy it and the good citizens within it. No lazy, victimizing, coldblooded psychopath should have so many folks rooting for him. I hope at some point they see that they're encouraging crime, criminality, and lawlessness.


Robin Sax said...

Great article!

TigressPen said...

It's a sad day for our justice system and victims' rights when so many naysayers cheer a criminal on with his illegal acts against innocent people, including the business owners of the places this perp robbed.

Dr. Richard Weinblatt said...

Very good article, Pat. You are right on, as usual.

Dr. Richard Weinblatt
The Cop Doc

DrGinaSimmons said...

Great post. It appears our cultural fascination with people who lack a conscience continues unabated. Thanks for reminding us that Colton victimizes people and is unworthy of our admiration.