Thoughts on the "Barefoot Bandit"

Over the weekend, police in the Bahamas arrested fugitive American teen Colton Harris-Moore, also known by the pictureseque moniker "the Barefoot Bandit." 19-year-old Harris-Moore had been on the lam for two years, stealing cars, boats and planes in his elusive cross-country flight from the law. His mother observed that he was a genius-level intellect, supposedly "one point less than Einstein," she said. He managed to elude the cops for a couple of years, but I'd have to say that going to the Bahamas was not the act of a genius.

Why? Well, a criminal on the lam wants to try to blend in as well as he can, to "swim in the sea of the people." A 6'5" white teen is likely to stand out just about anywhere he goes, but especially in the Bahamas, where 85% of the population is black, according to the CIA World Factbook. And it's always a bad idea to flee to an island, where the authorities can patrol off shore and close down airfields to cut off escape options.

Harris-Moore's other mistake was in continuing his criminal career past the age of 18. Prior to that, non-violent offenders usually have their records expunged once they reach adulthood. It's like baseball's Grapefruit and Cactus League exhibition games: They don't really count for anything in the standings. Once the regular season starts, though, everything counts. And so it is for an 18-year-old criminal. No more juvenile courts, no more halfway houses, no more slaps on the wrist. The wisest course for a 17-year-old with larceny in his heart is to "go straight" -- and enter politics if he still feels those larcenous impulses after age 18. John Dillinger was a piker compared to the average congressman.


It Suddenly All Makes Sense

Instapundit pointed me to this post at The Onion (yes, I know it is a satire site): Obama's Weekly Video Addresses Becoming Increasingly Avant-Garde

It's good for a chuckle and the bizarre video clip is pretty good, too. But it also made me think about President Obama and how he has been doing a lot of things that don't make sense from a political standpoint, like having his Democrats in Congress ram through legislation that the majority of Americans oppose, his worse-than-Katrina response to the oil catastrophe in the Gulf, his administration's willingness to overlook illegal racist behavior when perpetrated by non-whites (see New Black Panther Party voter intimidation in Philadelphia on Election Day 2008, for instance) while focusing like a laser on Arizona's immigration law, bowing to foreign leaders, offending traditional allies like Great Britain and Israel, etc.

But suppose for a moment that Barack Obama is really a performance artist, someone like the late Andy Kaufman, or Sascha Baron Cohen playing one of his characters like "Borat" or "Bruno." He's been building up this "Barack Obama" character for years, since he was in college. The reason his transcripts were never allowed to be scrutinized is that they would have shown that he was studying acting and associated skills. He's taken on this "Barack Obama" character like Sascha Baron Cohen did Borat when he was publicizing his film, and he never comes out of character. He plays it straight, just exactly as he would if he were a real politician, but his real motivation has been to see just exactly how many people he can fool and how many he can offend by screwing things up, again, just like a Sascha Baron Cohen character. He's someone who literally took in anti-Americanism with his mother's milk (she was an expatriate who didn't like America or its people). He doesn't like capitalism, or business (large or small), or the bourgeois people of America (especially those living in states that didn't vote for him). He got 53% of Americans to vote for him in November 2008, but in the ensuing year and a half, he's been doing all kinds of things to piss off more and more people, and he's done it deliberately. As Alfred the butler told Batman in The Dark Knight, "Some people just want to watch the world burn."

Because, you see, a performance artist doesn't care about whether he's liked or not. It's all about the performance. Kaufman and Cohen had characters that many people despised, but they were successful for all that. And this "Barack Obama" character seems to be the most successful of them all. He's partying all the time, out on the golf links, rubbing shoulders with the glitterati, vacationing hither and yon (in Maine this week, his third vacation since the oil disaster began on April 20th). He's Living The Life. It's good to be the President. And he knows that no matter how bad things get in the country, when he leaves office, he'll do so with a big pension and a Secret Service detail. Even screwups like Jimmy Carter get that.

Sure, it sounds like a crazy conspiracy theory. But ask yourself: If Barack Obama really was a performance artist playing a role, deliberately trying to destroy the country as part of the greatest prank of all time, what exactly would he be doing differently from what he's done over the past eighteen months?


Happy 4th of July!

Here's wishing you a fine Independence Day, no matter where you are. It's a great day to celebrate our good fortune to be living in America. (If you don't, that's okay; you're welcome to celebrate your own national traditions as well.) If you're not feeling fortunate, well, November's coming. Fortune favors the bold -- especially at the ballot box. If you don't like the direct this country has taken recently, well, vote the rascals out! They may think that they are undefeatable like King George III probably did, but they will be proven to be just as wrong.

I hope that you are having better weather than we're getting in Florida this weekend. It's been overcast and rainy the last couple of days, and today doesn't promise to be much better. It could be a washout for the local fireworks displays. Some things may happen "rain or shine," but fireworks aren't among them.