Long live the Barefoot Bandit!
When I heard that Colton Harris-Moore had been arrested on Sunday, I cried a little inside. Since I first learned of the ‘Barefoot Bandit’ ‘s existence just over a year ago, I’ve been following what was available about his exploits, looking up to that kid as a hero in the process. It takes serious gut to be able to look society in the eye and just say, “Screw it,” like Colton did- and I respect that. So what if he broke the law? Colton Harris-Moore is one of the greatest people that has ever lived, and I mean that.
I know locals and actual victims of Colton’s adventures are cursing my ignorance right now, but really, can you really look at this kid with only hatred? Some of the articles that I’ve read thus far quote individuals as ‘celebrating’ the captivity, now they ‘can sleep safely at night,’ they had been ‘living in fear.’ Please. Colton stole your stuff. Expensive stuff, don’t get me wrong. He might’ve damaged it in the process. But how can you not look the nineteen-year-old who managed to fly your PLANE, crash land it, and survive with at least slight admiration? This kid is awesome.
Yes, stealing is illegal, and the Barefoot Bandit stole a lot. He stole cars and boats and planes. He evaded the law for TWO years (which is unreal with today’s GPS and criminal technology- especially for someone so young). But Colton never set out to HURT anyone or anything of TRUE value. He’s not a sick mass-murderer plaguing society. He’s a kid with a less than par childhood who decided to take matters into his own hands, to create his own adventure with his own rules. How many of us everyday secretly wish we could get up and run away to a far-away place and live the life that we truly want to live, but never have the nerve to do so? To look at the Barefoot Bandit with disdain is hypocrisy at its finest.
I’m not saying that we all should pack up and run across the countryside thieving and conniving. I’m not even saying that what Colton did was ‘right.’ But I do believe that there is a lesson to be learned from this young criminal, and that lesson is not ‘don’t steal.’ Colton is a living, breathing example of freedom, of making the most of your life because it belongs to you and to no one else. So if you don’t want to go to work today, don’t. There are too many things to explore in the world to waste time at places you don’t want to be, doing things that you don’t want to do. Stay true to yourself. To me, that’s real integrity. And Colton-Harris Moore has that.
I admire the Barefoot Bandit; I don’t care if that renders me a crime-loving, backwards member of society. His story is one of the greatest of our time, a manifestation of ageless human desire. And, at the very least, he provided lots of entertainment. Give it two weeks- I’m predicting the next adventure begins with an escape on the back of a fire-breathing dragon. Or at least government aircraft. There is no way that we have heard the last of Colton Harris-Moore.
So long live the Barefoot Bandit!