The Barefoot Bandit and a Troubled Society

A song has been written about him.

T-Shirts are sold by his "fan club."

His Facebook following includes over 70,000 admirers.

I am not talking about a sports legend, rock star, actor, or humanitarian leader.

The mystery celebrity is the 19-year-old fugitive Colton Harris-Moore.

What is Moore, AKA "The Barefoot Bandit's," claim to fame? 

He is a thief and a fugitive. 

Well, allegedly a thief and now a former fugitive after his arrest.

And he is allegedly involved in burglary, robbery, and assault as well.

He is certainly guilty of wasting boatloads of tax payer money to fund enforcement agency activities where personnel meticulously tracked him across the US and into the Caribbean. 

Maybe taunting authorities to catch him was not the brightest idea.

One blogger is so captured by his persona that she defends Harris-Moore in that he committed only property crimes and that his gun may have been unloaded (not sure if she means every time or in one specific instance?).

 She offers him respite, if he ever makes it over to their place on the islands. 

That type of thinking makes me sad.

With all of the heroes that we could be honoring, people choose the young misfit Colton?

I have used this Dr. Eugene Peterson quote before, but I believe it certainly applies to the Barefoot Bandit phenomenon:

The puzzle is why so many people live so badly.

Not so wickedly, but so inanely. Not so cruelly, but so stupidly.

There's little to admire and less to imitate in the people who are prominent in our culture. We have celebrities, but not saints.

Famous entertainers amuse a nation of bored insomniacs.

Infamous criminals act out the aggressions of timid conformists. Petulant and spoiled athletes play games vicariously for lazy and apathetic spectators.

People aimless and bored amuse themselves with trivia and trash. Neither the adventure of goodness nor the pursuit of righteousness get headlines...
With Colton's recent arrest, perhaps those 70,000 Facebook followers will now focus their talents and attention on any of the host of life-threatening problems that plague modern society.

And, to Mr. Barefoot Bandit: I hope you enjoy your prison stay future movie star.  I am sure there will be 70,000 admirers waiting to see your story on the big screen since it was purchased by 20th Century Fox. 

The photo was used from here.


Diana said...

Another criminal that they swoon over?! That is truly sad. I like the "trivia and trash" sentence... how appropriate for those aimless and bored 70,000 people.

I'm so glad I have a life. =)

Lydia Kang said...

In fiction, this would only be interesting if he was truly a good person with an honorable goal. It's just annoying as hell that he's getting so much attention for being a horrible person.

Ann T. said...

Dear Slamdunk,
like you, I have to wonder how this makes sense. Was it the same for Bonnie and Clyde, for instance?

I think maybe it is about rebellion, or as Dr. Peterson says, "Infamous criminals act out the aggression of timid conformists."

I'm going to look up Dr. Peterson now, instead of this Yahoo sociopath or anything by Century Fox.

Thanks for a great post! It makes you wonder.
Ann T.

Spencer Y.K. said...

Great post. I'll be honest, I've found myself a bit of a fan of this kid. It's not that I condone his actions or believe he should be venerated for them. He is a criminal, bottom line.

But what attracts me, and I'm going to go out on a limb and say what's attractive about him to so many people, is what he represents. Another commenter mentioned rebellion, which certainly stirs something in us, as we all have moments of of desiring to break the constraints that keep us. Also, it's his resourcefulness. When I was his age I was useless. Still probably am. Then there's our preoccupation with adventure. Forgetting moral or legal questions, the whole thing sounded like an intense adventure.

He speaks to the side of ourself that we are rarely able to act upon.

P.S. Thanks for dropping by and commenting. Take it easy.

Diane said...

Disgusting. Very sad to see what people idolize.

Matthew Rush said...

I have no knowledge of the story of what this kid did, but he looks like a douchebag. Not that it's fair to judge him by his looks, but I think it's more that wise-ass smirk he is displaying.

Donna M. Kohlstrom said...

This is digusting, tragic and insane! Worshipping criminals is sick and I can't believe how many people do it! And to have books, movies, television shows...!

In Florida we have the Casey Anthony story about a mother who allegedly killed her beautiful young daughter. It's been going on for over two years and continues to be headlines in the newspaper and television so much so that they interrupt broadcasting to show updates!

And what about the true heroes? The ones who dedicate their lives to serving and protecting our lives? Why don't they have this kind of following?

Midlife Jobhunter said...

Incredible - a movie? I had not heard of this guy until he was caught. Must give you an idea of what I don't watch/read. He is so young to be such a screw up.

Thinking I might miss that movie.

J. J. in Phila said...

I will admit to respecting the planning and intelligence needed to pull off a complex crime. That isn't Harris-Moore, a kid who got lucky enough to avoid law enforcement and whose crimes didn't require a huge amount of brilliance.

I'll pass on the movie.

My Husband's Watching TV... said...

This is so weird to me because (and this is obviously coming from a girl's perspective) but say you were dating this guy and found out that he was a criminal, you'd drop him in a second. But since he's a criminal, everyone loves him? Is it one of those love the bad boy things? So weird to me...

Audrey Allure said...

That quote definitely fits!

obladi oblada said...

I do agree that it is interesting as a story, but in no way do I think its right that he has "followers". I love the quote that you put, so true.

WomanHonorThyself said...

typical liberal lovefest with evil doers?
have a great weekend Slam~!

Momma Fargo said...

Very great post. I had looked at his map of mayhem and noticed nothing in Wyoming. We either missed it...or nothing he liked here. Anyhoo...very sad how society acts. And swooning over a criminal who is a punk kid no less...really stupid. Perhaps Bubba gives him a good welcoming...or something. Maybe prison won't be so great then. Nor the fame.

Elena said...

Don't forget his mother thinks he's a "genius" and is "so proud of him." If he was my son I'd kick the crap outta him!!!

Stephanie Faris said...

Sheesh. What IS it with people? How about giving support to somebody who goes out and helps people, rather than criminals? Why do people make stars out of these people? All it does is encourage that kind of behavior.

Bob G. said...


Sad to see SO many people following the (former) exploits of this criminal.
But, as I always IS "entertaining" (to them).

I also do have to somehwat admire the cajones this kid displayed, but then again...LEWIS AND CLARK had JUST as much (if not more) "cajones" when they did there western expedition...they just directed their "enthusiasm" in a LOT more POSITIVE manner.

This kid should have had his nose in some history books if he really wanted to find out where HE was headed.

The law of averages ALWAYS catches up to's only a matter of time.

Good post and great comments.

Luisa Doraz said...

Some people need to take LOGIC 101 in school. :)

Tamika: said...

Dr. Eugene Peterson nailed it! This is plain ridiculous and confirms that our culture is moving further and further from God.

Thanks for the post, I plan to share this with my hubby.

jodeeluna said...

I wonder how those 70,000 Facebook followers would feel if he broke into thier homes?

Nikole Hahn said...

That's the problem. This is what started this whole thing to begin with. We have movies that glorify thievery and murder and television shows like Leverage that okays doing illegal things because they are good people with an honorable goal.

Illegal means illegal no matter their goals and no matter their intentions. You break the law. You pay for it. We shouldn't reward that with multi-million dollar contracts or applause or facebook followers or twitters.

Don't give the story attention and the bandit would have stopped and been caught a whole lot sooner. He did it for the thrill of being watched by the world like a narcissistic punk kid!

While it's his fault he committed these crimes, it's our fault for giving him so much attention and for teaching our children to give this punk so much attention. Ugh.

Okay...I'm done with my rant. Very good usual!

ocmist said...

So many kids are "raised" now with no values and no "heros." They are not taught to look at people that are true heros, and so they are tricked into looking at the ones that the "Media" put up in front of them. "If the media thinks they are worth looking at, then there must be something good about it..." or "at least they are getting a 'moment of fame' and that little something is better than nothing!"

This is so often the way that children think BECAUSE THEY HAVE LITTLE OR NO GUIDANCE from loving parents. Even if the parent/s are trying, the media still shares a responsibility that they are NOT using properly! Oh, man... you shouldn't have gotten me started. I worked in the school system for 18 years, and so many of our kids are just being flushed down the toilet! Makes you want to cry!

Miss Caitlin S. said...

I wish I could say that I haven't succumbed to the interest in this kid, but that's not the case. I know that it derives from the movie "Catch me if you can" and the humanization that Leonardo DiCaprio did for all thieves, but I still can't help but think he is slightly cool. Trust me, I'm not going to wear any of his t-shirts or anything but I think the reason people are so enthralled with him was that he was able to evade authorities for so long as well as do "adventurous" crimes in the meantime- fly planes and crash them, etc. I completely understand your point but I also can completely understand why the public has an interest in him. I do hope that, like in the end of CMIYC, we find this individual has harnessed his skills into something serving mankind, not taking away from it.

Anonymous said...

I am a licensed private investigator with 23 years of experience in civil litigation, and I for one can say without equivocation that I admire no one so much as a clever thief. Without such adversaries I would be out of a job. And when an opponent displays particular energy, determination, and a love of craft comparable to my own, then my purpose in life is complete.

I feel that I am particularly adept at the investigation of financial crimes because my mind is remarkably similar to the culprit’s. I was a delinquent as a teenager, although never so wild as the subject. At a point my life diverged though, and I went another way. Now I have a family and I contribute to society, but I might just as easily have gone to the dark side.

There was never any doubt that Colton Harris-Moore would be captured and subjected to the criminal justice process. He is fortunate that neither he nor any of his bystanders were seriously injured. Once he has paid his debt to society I hope he will find his way toward rehabilitation. He clearly has enormous potential.

Crime Buff

Slamdunk said...

Thanks for the comments all. It is informative to read comment from those who support and disagree with my opinion.

My point with this post was to criticize the glorification of criminal behavior. I would agree that we all have potential, and this man has fantastic technical abilities to be able to teach himself to fly from books and video games.

In contrast, I would prefer to admire and celebrate someone invested in good rather than a person who has unrealized potential.