I’ve been trying to follow recent developments in the deliciously-named* Whitefish, Montana. Of course, I am concerned for the health and well-being of my co-religionists and other wonderful people who have been targeted there. But also — given that the town is less than a nine-hour drive from Seattle — it has occurred to me that the same skinheads bussing themselves in from as far away as the Bay Area** could probably also find their way here. Which is why I find it so frustrating when the esteemed journalists of the New York Times are derelict in their duty to, you know, journalize.
The Seattle Times ran a feel-good story yesterday about Colton Harris-Moore, the Barefoot Bandit who — you may recall — captured the nation’s attention a few years back as he raced across the country, one jump ahead of the lawmen. In case you need a reminder, the article includes a synopsis — and if you don’t, skip this excerpt:
Harris-Moore grew up poor on Camano Island, north of Seattle, raised by an alcoholic mother and a series of her felon boyfriends — a feral childhood he wouldn’t wish on his “darkest enemies,” he once wrote to a judge. He earned his first conviction at age 12, in 2004, for stolen property, and things only got worse. After he walked away from a halfway house in 2008, he embarked on a two-year burglary spree, breaking into unoccupied vacation homes and stores, and stealing money and food.
Some of the crimes were committed barefoot, and by 2010, he had rocketed to international notoriety as he stole small airplanes in the Northwest, flew them with no formal training and landed them with various degrees of success. A few were only lightly damaged, but two crashes were so severe he could have been killed.
His final run was a cross-country dash to an airport in Indiana, where he stole a plane, crashed it in the Bahamas, and was arrested in a hail of bullets.
The feel-good story is primarily about a Boeing project manager who took Harris-Moore under his wing (pun intended), but I found myself most interested in the article’s brief aside describing how he is paying back some of the damage he caused:
He pleaded guilty to dozens of charges, apologized, and sold the rights to his story to FOX, which plans a movie. Any proceeds will repay his victims.
The ink’s been dry on that movie deal for a year and a half now, but while the result — a modern-day Catch Me If You Can, but less clever and more trashy — should certainly be interesting, why stop there? We know Harris-Moore somehow learned to read and write while doing everything but attend school, so how about a memoir? Maybe a line of high-end apparel — or better, footwear?
The possibilities are basically endless.
And now, thanks to the Seattle Times, we learn the long wait is over: for his next act, the Barefoot Bandit is going to publish a cookbook featuring — presumably — the culinary wisdom he accrued living in the wild from the age of seven. From reading the Hatchet, Brian’s Winter, The River, Julie and the Wolves, Island of the Blue Dolphins, My Side of the Mountain, the Boxcar Children (Book I), and I’m sure others that just aren’t coming to mind, I imagine survival involved a lot of scavenging for raw fruits, vegetables, grub, maybe the occasional moose… and I’m going to ignore that part of the article where it says he survived by stealing food from vacation homes.
Anyway, this project could really be a real hit among urban foragers. And he’s off to a good start with a perfect title:
In its January/February issue, Mother Jones covered a report on the link between lead and human behavior. Rick Nevin, a consultant at the US Department of Housing and Urban Development ran some tests on the link between lead and violent crime:
In a 2000 paper (PDF) he concluded that if you add a lag time of 23 years, lead emissions from automobiles explain 90 percent of the variation in violent crime in America. Toddlers who ingested high levels of lead in the ’40s and ’50s really were more likely to become violent criminals in the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s.
As the graph linking pirates and global warming famously shows, it’s possible to commit a correlation/causation fallacy any which way you like, so Nevin repeated his research in other countries for confirmation:
or, what happens when I have a little too much time on my hands: