lf1

A closer look at the “Barefoot Bandit”

Colton Harris-Moore was recently indicted for an alleged two-year crime spree, which included thefts of boats and airplanes. But movie and TV executives loved the story, and his mother retained an entertainment lawyer to field the inquiries.

Read “Barefoot Bandit” indicted by federal grand jury on CBSNews.com.

Last week, 48 Hours Mystery did a story about Colton Harris-Moore, which included details of his upbringing. This kid didn’t have a chance.

Read Chasing the Barefoot Bandit on CBSNews.com.

Watch the full episode of Chasing the Barefoot Bandit on CBSNews.com.

Story suggested by a Lovefraud reader.


Posted in: Media sociopaths

18 Comments on "A closer look at the “Barefoot Bandit”"

Trackback | Comments RSS Feed

  1. ErinBrock says:

    It’s all a ‘joke’ until somebody get’s hurt.

    We like drama…..and hey….what a kid….19 and self taught thief/pilot.
    This wouldn’t even make the news if he was 49.

    My first thought in hearing this story was…..Oh, this is balloon boy or brothers in a few years…..egged on by the spathy father. Go kid go……..

    The need for attention/thrills outweighs anything else.

    These parents should be shot!



    Report this comment

  2. Skylar,

    Thanks for the background info. Fascinating.



    Report this comment

  3. kim frederick says:

    Yeah. I wish he had had a chance. What a waste!



    Report this comment

  4. Ox Drover says:

    I think there are lots of smart and talented people whose talents are turned to crime/abuse of others because they have psychopathy. There are also some psychopaths who are smart and talented and “rotten people” but they some how manage to channel at least some of their talents into “good things” like being a GREAT surgeon, scientist, inventor, or race car driver, ball player, or whatever direction their talents lie. Others, though, like my P son and this “barefoot” kid choose to become THUGS and THIEVES and embrace the risk and the adventure.

    Even my P-sperm donor finally succeeded in becoming world famous in his lifetime as well as extremely wealthy, but he also embraced the risky behavior early on. He managed to get by with the illegal, violent and criminal behavior as well and NOT get caught or convicted, but whatever his success (and some of his success did benefit others) he was still a miserable excuse for a human being. He had no conscience or any remorse for any of the things he did, including murder.



    Report this comment

  5. Redwald says:

    …”the fact that he is “cheered on” by thousands of people as some sort of “Robin Hood” bandit SERIOUSLY disturbs me.”

    I suspect the media are largely to blame for that, Oxy. After all, cui bono? Who benefits most from antics like Colton Harris-Moore’s?

    The public at large will certainly get a kick out of it, when for millions of people it’s sheer entertainment. They’re only spectators, and the guy isn’t hurting them personally. For countless onlookers the whole thing is just an amusing game of “cops and robbers,” a movie brought to life. People enjoy drama, just as skylar pointed out. Not just the people on that island, either.

    It’s true that a minority of people will be cheering him on for darker and sicker reasons. The kinds of people who hate all police on principle, for instance–or hate “authority” of any kind–or hate “society” at large. There are too many of those! People of that ilk, from criminals to nihilists, will be taking Harris-Moore’s side for reasons of their own. Some of them take a perverted delight in seeing a person take revenge on the populace as a whole! This particular phenomenon was seen recently in the minority of sickos in the UK who were praising the vicious killer Raoul Moat. There will always be misfits and malcontents who will give their support to any kind of monster.

    But it shouldn’t be overlooked that this support for a crazed killer, from a small minority of sickos, very properly provoked outrage from the vast majority. The kind of pervert who’d support a sadistic criminal like Moat should not be confused with the far larger number of ordinary humans who’ll revel in the escapades of a guy like the Barefoot Bandit.

    Yet to gain the acclamation of a wider public, the Bandit–or rather, the public image of the Bandit, as presented by the media–had to meet several criteria. Being young certainly helps. It helps even more that he’s smart, that a mere kid can outwit all the dumb policemen and other hidebound officials who are after him

    It helps a lot if he’s seen to be unique. If we had a whole plague of Barefoot Bandits preying on all of us, that would be a different matter. But if there’s only one of him, he’s not likely to be bothering most of us. “Gangs” are always seen as a bigger threat than individuals, and other things being equal, instinct tells us to support the lone man against a whole army of hunters who are arrayed against him. It helps all the more if he’s seen as a “persecuted victim” who’s merely struggling to survive and stay free.

    Humor too is a big asset. If the guy was sassy, if he played a game of “catch me if you can” and laughed at those who couldn’t–well, an attitude of gaiety and “cocking a snook” at those hunters is far more appealing than one of anger, rage, and vindictiveness. Perhaps the Bandit does harbor rage toward society at large; but if he does, the media have been careful not to show that. This takes me to the most important criterion of all: that he should not be seen as a “public enemy,” as a threat to people at large. At least, not a serious threat.

    So first and foremost he must not be seen as violent–quite unlike Moat. Just as important, he must not be seen doing anything that would hurt ordinary people in any major way.

    It was all right with his “fan club” if he was only seen to be making trivial thefts from ordinary people. If his exploits were driven by the need for survival, they were all the more excusable. A theft of food or other small items here and there wouldn’t hurt anybody. If he only broke into a house for a place to sleep (like Goldilocks), and didn’t do any other damage to it–as far too many despicable vandals do, out of sheer spite–that could be forgiven as well. It could even earn praise for his “restraint” and his “consideration” for the property owners!

    Meanwhile, his bigger and more daring exploits could be forgiven in a similar way. If he stole a boat–or even, on occasion, a plane–much of the time he was only “borrowing” it, and the owner would get it back. (Eventually!) Of course we do know that wasn’t entirely true with at least two planes he helped himself to, which he crashed at the end of their flight. But here his fan club could argue that the losses were most probably covered by insurance, and insurance companies have plenty of money and can easily afford the loss. Once again, they could tell themselves he wasn’t causing any harm to ordinary people–whether that was true or not.

    Needless to say, theft and other depredations do cost us money, all of us, when they drive up the cost of our insurance premiums. Here though, the Barefoot Bandit could get by because there was only one person like him. Had he only been a car thief, the world is full of those. He’d just be another of the hated robbers who prey on all of us. But (terrorists aside), very few people steal planes. And not many people OWN a plane to steal in the first place! Judging from the owners’ carelessness with their keys, they never considered plane theft to be much of a risk. So once again, the Bandit wasn’t perceived to be doing any harm to ordinary people at large. If boat and plane theft ever grew into a major epidemic, I’m sure people would look at the Bandit with a more jaundiced eye.

    He also led officialdom on a merry chase, even crossing the border to Canada and back a couple of times without being caught. That could have caused some red faces in high places, but that’s no skin off the rest of our noses. Their discomfiture is our amusement! More to the point, anyone who gets away with stunts like those is doing a genuine public service, by “banging the walls” to show where holes in our security need to be plugged. Better for a Barefoot Bandit to show us where the gaps are than for some terrorist to exploit them for far worse purposes.

    Given all those premises, it was natural for many people to cheer him on. They didn’t want to see him get caught. If he did, the drama would come to an end, and that would spoil all the fun.

    But that does not necessarily mean his “public image”–as created by the media–was entirely accurate.

    If he didn’t actually injure anyone, at least he stole a couple of guns, threatened his victims or fired shots on more than one occasion.

    More to the point, some of his robberies were anything but harmless to ordinary people. I can’t imagine Marion Rathbone forgiving him for stealing $15,000 from her–the entire summer’s profit from her small restaurant. That’s a lot more money than he’d need for mere “survival,” and a catastrophe for her. Particularly when he preyed on the same woman more than once, fraudulently using her credit card on another occasion.

    I don’t suppose the woman whose entire collection of jewelry he stole–which no doubt included many items of irreplaceable sentimental value–would be quick to forgive him either.

    And I’m sure Kyle Ater, who was nearly driven to bankruptcy by the Bandit’s repeated robberies, saw him as anything but “harmless.” On the contrary, Mr. Ater was ready to shoot the guy–very understandably.

    This CBS News story at least gives us an in-depth picture of what the Bandit had been up to. Far from “not harming ordinary folks,” his victims are saying it’s “the small people, the little people” he was doing the most damage to. And as the article says, far from being popular with those he lived among, “most of [them] want him dead!”

    But I don’t think the media gave much exposure to that view. Not until he was caught and the drama was all over. While he was still on the loose, it suited the media to play down those meaner aspects of his criminal career, preferring instead to highlight his more spectacular exploits so that the public was eager to cheer on the saga of this “Robin Hood hero.”

    It all sells news stories–not to mention the profitable advertising revenue that comes with it. In financial terms, nobody benefited more from the drama of the Barefoot Bandit than the media did.



    Report this comment

  6. soimnotthecrazee1 says:

    Good post Redwald!

    I view this media as giving those the education and courage to go ahead and try it themselves. As far as those that might be contemplating it or even those that are waiting to get out of jail. Media makes money and the criminals either get guts or knowledge! A NEW SUPERHERO to follow and want to “copy cat”. GRRRRR sick people!

    which leads to another money making story!



    Report this comment

  7. Ox Drover says:

    Dear Redwald,

    A very good post, and well thought out! It continues to gall me however, that too many of the (i think) younger people view his exploits as just a “harmless lark” rather than what it is, in fact, as theft.

    Other examples of this “media frenzy” fueling this “Robin Hood, it’s all just a lark” attitude is the Beverly Hill “bandits” who were upper-middle class California “kids” who were robbing the homes of the “rich and famous” (finding out when they would be gone via Face Book) and stealing mostly high fashion and expensive items—the girl, the “leader of the pack” (forget the name), was even after being caught trying to get her own “REALITY SHOW” and had her own arrest photographed for that purpose.

    I agree that DRAMA sells with the media, and journalism is now more than ever a (excuse the pun) a cut-throat business. To have this sort of behavior presented as “exciting” and trivialized as “just a lark, nothing serious,” when in fact, it is a felony, does not set good examples for our society as a whole.

    Ditto this thing with Lindsay Lohan and her breaking probation on driving while intoxicated. To ME DUI/DWI is a SERIOUS offense deserving of some SERIOUS sanctioning—rehab and sobriety OR JAIL, take your choice. She has really had no serious dose of either rehab or jail, which to me trivializes her CRIME (driving high/drunk) which kills and injures tens of thousands of people every year (whether her particular crime did or not is beside the point) and literally GIVEN THE FINGER to the judge to show her contempt for the law and her crime. Doesn’t sound like remorse to me…and what does she get….more media time, and more admiration from shallow (younger?) people for getting away with her “giving the finger” to not only the judge, but the seriousness of her bad behavior.

    I think too many times the media don’t just “report” the news, but literally MAKE the news, with the slants and emphasis on which they give various reports. The reports on this “Robin Hood” bandit is just another example of glamorizing a thug, but this is really nothing “new” where the press is concerned—Jesse James, Billy the kid, Wyatt Erp and many other gun-slinger thugs have been “hero-ized” or dramatized in the press.



    Report this comment

  8. roodyzoo says:

    This young man reminds me of my spathy son…I, against all better judgement, took him back into my home, after he has been out, since age 13. He had been in a combination of residential treatment, and 2 foster homes, several stints in juvenile detention, when he ran away from the 2nd foster home after stealing their car (twice) and totalling it. He was busted for pot in his highschool, and literally walked out the front door, while they were waiting for the sheriff to arrive. The next two weeks, -he’s age 16 now- he racked up 9 felonies, including car theft, committing over 20-30 car breaking and enterings, and home invasions. He was finally caught breaking into a home, and then fled the police and resisted (another felony here). they then waived him to adult court and he sat in adult jail (isolation, to protect him) for 7 months…what do I do then? yup, fall for the tears- which he had never had. I took him back into my home, we had 3 week honeymoon period, with his brothers and sisters…we were SO glad to have him home…then it all starts again…he violated his probation daily in some way or another, stealing things, ect….finally 2 weekends ago, he had asked to have friends over…I say no-we come back home, and sure nuff…he had friends over, (most felons or gang members) smoked pot, in my youngest sons room, and he’s no where to be found, stays out all night . The next day I read him the riot act about all the violations. Not more than 15 minutes later, one of my other sons, sends me a facebook post feed, that he is having with a girl that had been over…The entire feed essentially talks about how “I knew they smoked pot, but didn’t care LOL, He takes my car almost every night without me knowing…LOL, it goes on and on…LOL…I then printed the facebook feed and faxed it to his probation officer…LOL. He was picked up the next morning and dropped dirty for pot…he was held in jail with no bond…LOL, and tomorrow has his hearing, where I will likely testify, and he will be sent to adult prison. Which is where he was supposed to go in the first place, the way his charges scored out. I will never, not EVER take him back in this home…Moral of the story…listen to your Love Fraud peeps, and wash your hands of the spaths in your life…don’t look back…My son is just a young Colton…nothing stands in his way…except for hopefully prison…for a time…LOL…



    Report this comment

  9. jazzy129 says:

    roodyzoo…what a powerful post. I have learned so much from Lovefraud after being used and abused by a spath. I recognized this Colton kid as a sociopath first news flash. You sound like a wonderful lady…which just shows that you can be born a sociopath and even good, loving families won’t make a difference.

    Bless you, I hope you and the rest of your family can have some peace now.

    By the way love your id! roodyzoo…roodyzoo! I could say that all night!



    Report this comment

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.