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Encounter with an outlaw

Got this note last night from my beloved former veterinarian up in the Pacific Northwest:

I thought this may make you smile. I had a visit … from an outlaw last night. Someone left a note attached to a $100.00 bill shoved in the front door of the clinic. The note said, “I had some extra cash while passing through, please use it to care for an animal in need.” It was signed “Colton Harris-Moore AKA the barefoot bandit.” [My receptionist] found it and was busy trying to figure out which client left it when I came in. After reading the note, I knew who it was right away — although I wasn’t sure the gift was really from him.

The sheriff didn’t immediately recall the name Harris-Moore, either, when my vet phoned. But he quickly got it and referred the incident to (believe it or not, there really is such a thing) the Island County Fugitive Apprehension Specialist, in the area where “Colt’s” career began.

The specialist assured her the note and gift were most likely from the real barefoot bandit — who has always shown sympathy for abused animals and who is famous for surviving and hiding out in wooded areas (and she’s in as wooded an area as you’ll find anywhere).

She was both charmed by the gift and a little creeped out knowing that a notorious loose-cannon fugitive had been at her clinic and home when she was there alone. I’m also making a guess that Colt might have been in the area for some time. Perhaps he just chose a vet’s office at random, but it seems quite a coincidence that he would select the one vet in the area who is most associated with animal rescue and the wellfare of unwanted dogs and cats if he hadn’t been around long enough to know that.

If the name Colton Harris-Moore doesn’t ring a bell with you, you’re probably not from the Pacific Northwest.

Here’s a London Times story on him

And a Time magazine article.

And his Wikipedia entry.

And his fan club.

And his NON-fan club.

Colton Harris-Moore may not be a true Freedom Outlaw. He may not even be a particularly good guy. But you gotta admit, the boy does what he does with panache.

And in this day of omni-surveillance, it’s encouraging to know that some untrained kid can spend years outfoxing “authoritah” and surviving in the cold northwestern forests.

Maybe he’s “not Robin Hood,” as somebody says in one of those articles. But Colton Harris-Moore, if you should ever happen to read this, you can know that your $100 gift (since the sheriff couldn’t track the bill to any particular robbery) is going straight into an emergency medical fund dedicated to treating lost, stray, and unwanted animals.


  1. Joe
    Joe June 1, 2010 9:43 am

    Vote NO on Colt!

    Panache is one thing. Honesty is another.

    He stole not their money to give to his most recently favored “charity of the week.” He stole their time.

    Such presumption.


  2. Claire
    Claire June 1, 2010 9:58 am

    Joe, just to be clear, I’m not cheering on Colton Harris-Moore. I’m not buying any “Fly, Colton, Fly!” tee shirts — and I don’t expect many others here will, either.

    But like “D.B. Cooper,” that other legendary criminal/hero of the Northwest, the boy has style. He’s also got a heart. And enviable survival and evasion skills. But in no way do any of those traits absolve him from being a thief.

    I admit I do have a particularly soft spot for anybody who takes risks to help animals. How many other thieves would just spend it all on meth? But I hope he got that $100 honestly — say, from somebody who just wanted to help a homeless guy along his way.

  3. Matt
    Matt June 1, 2010 3:42 pm

    Amazing. I found it amazing that his mother seems to feel not the least bit of responsibility towards how her son turned out. Amazing that our society wasn’t able, or willing, to nurture the obvious intelligence of this youth. What a shame. Hopefully he’ll turn from his life of crime and quietly go somewhere, create a new identity and turn himself around.

  4. Matt
    Matt June 1, 2010 7:14 pm

    I’d agree on the self reliance skills. He obviously learned to think and reason along the way, to read books about complicated subjects and digest them into action. I wish my students would do so much. Legally of course. ;o)

  5. Kent McManigal
    Kent McManigal June 1, 2010 11:32 pm

    “Legally” or not matters less than zero to me, but “honestly” is the important thing. He could be an honest pot grower or provide services (that do not involve aggression or coercion) under the table without a SSN or income tax withholding. In these cases he would be a “criminal”, acting “illegally”, but not a bad guy. However, a thief is a thief. But at least he isn’t pretending he is honest like IRS employees do. That type of hypocrisy is really disgusting to me.

  6. Jackie Juntti
    Jackie Juntti June 2, 2010 7:30 am

    Here is a news item from the Seattle PI this morning
    It is about the bounty hunter that is going after him.

    I have been following this story for some time as I have many friends and family that live in the are he is said to be operating in.

    The kid has a lot of moxie – let’s hope he is able to use it for better things than he has so far.

  7. Claire
    Claire June 2, 2010 7:45 pm

    Jackie, thanks for the link. I almost sent it on to my veterinarian friend. But when I realized she might contact the bounty hunter, I discovered I had very mixed feelings. Harris-Moore should stop doing what he’s doing. He should make his victims whole again, as best he can. But the thought of putting him in a cage …

  8. Joe
    Joe June 3, 2010 6:53 am

    I can understand your reluctance regarding imposing a “cage.” But I can also opine that he has put himself in a cage, albiet a cage of his own choosing.

    Living in the woods, stealing food and property from others, no purpose other than day to day existence and evasion of TPTB. Not exactly a lifestyle I would admire or seek to achieve for myself. He may be free in definition, but he’s a captive of his environment with a green, cold, lonely, hungry cage for himself.

    Let’s face it. He’s living like an animal. A terrible waste of human ability, talent, and spirit. One might ask are we doing him a favor by leaving him is this condition? One might also ask are we doing him a favor by removing him – if that is possible?

    And there is the similarity between Colt and the homeless frequently seen in the inner cities. These people live a desparate life of their own choosing (it seems) and yet seem unwilling to change. With all the social services available to these people (social services perhaps conspiratorial in keeping the homeless where they are), it’s hard to imagine that some route away from this lifestyle does not exist. But without a desire on their part for change, this is unlikely to happen.

    It could be another way. Colt could be a “John Galt” type existing at the edge of society as we know it. Living outwardly and apparently “normal” life, he could be living a lifestyle of independence secure in the thought that should society fall, he wouldn’t fall far with it. And for a John Galt, society offers him no cage except for the part of it he chooses for himself.

    But Colt is no John Galt, that is for sure. But of course John Galt was written by Ayn Rand as a genius.

    I might conclude that we all live in our own cages. Some are rough and surrounded by leaves, others are bound by the credit cards and electronic transfer.

    Are you happy in your own cage? Maybe that’s what counts?


  9. Ellendra
    Ellendra June 3, 2010 9:32 pm

    “One might ask are we doing him a favor by leaving him is this condition?”

    That’s a dangerous question. Whatever his current “condition”, he’s there by choice. While I disprove of the theft part of it, and would no doubt shoot on sight if I caught him in my house, there is a fuzzy line at play here.

    Everybody has their thing.

  10. goldhoarder
    goldhoarder June 7, 2010 9:59 pm

    Yes…putting people in cages has done great things for America! LMAO. The biggest criminals in America where 3 piece suits and work in DC or put on state issued costumes and sit by the side of the road randomly pulling over people and even stealing more money from them. No Thanks. I’ll Take Colt over those Jackbooted thugs anyday. I live out in Mason County Colt… stop by the little red barn if you ever need a safehouse.

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