Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Criminal On The Lam

It's always been one of my hobbies to think about how I'd escape, in the event I were ever taken alive and incarcerated. And then what I'd do on the lam, so my efforts wouldn't have been in vain.

So far I haven't had to put any of my plans to the test, somehow having maintained a perfect record of freedom. But it can only pay to be prepared, even for long-shot events, like the Soviet Union reconstituting, invading the United States, setting criminals free and jailing law-abiding civilians, etc.

It's always surprising how many people go to jail. I read the crime column in the paper, and, Hey, Stupids, Do you not realize by now Wal-Mart is watching for shoplifters? Or, Hey, Idiots getting drunk at home, Do you not realize the police prosecute people for domestic disputes? It actually pays to live a fairly decent life, although, yes, it does take away your opportunities to escape.

I've seen a few easy escapes on TV. Like in The Day The Earth Stood Still, somehow the entire military -- and federal authorities -- can't keep Klaatu in jail. In fact, they're totally incompetent, since Gort simply burns a hole in the wall and carries him away and no one at the jail even notices. Or in The Lone Ranger, I think it is, they pull the jail wall down with a donkey and rope and escape and no one in the area sees or hears it.

I wouldn't expect an escape today to be easy. With modern technology -- video monitoring and platinum deadbolts -- they're making it a lot harder. You about have to escape before you get in, or make long term plans to seduce a jail employee and get them to help you escape in the dirty laundry. But damn the luck if they happen to do laundry onsite! It's almost enough to make you forgo crime all together...

OK, getting to the recent article in The Squeaky Wheel, two escaped but only one really made it. Of course the jail in Grease, Iowa, is one of your older facilities. They have enough heat ducts, large vents, and broken registers, they may as well put a revolving door at the outlets. It was built in the 1890s, back when criminals more or less abided by the honor system.

So let's say I get out of their jail, and I'm the one who isn't recaptured. How do I manage my affairs on the lam, to keep it that way? Naturally, I avoid all bars, tattoo parlors, whorehouses, and other seedy places. I don't phone home. I don't use an ATM. (The fees are terrible anyway.) It's going to be a matter of keeping my head down and my nose clean. If I live on the south part of town, I'm on the north side. If my moll (my main squeeze) is on the west side, I'm on the east. And so forth.

The best place to live on the lam, in my opinion, would be near the railroad tracks. You can always hop a freight, especially if it's the middle of the night. And again, you always use misdirection. If your family lives east of town, you go west. Or, perhaps this is trickier, if you family lives east, you could go east, since they'd assume you were going west. And maybe I'd have to rethink the areas of town I'd go to, above, and do just the opposite of what they'd assume.

Of course it'd be good to get different clothes. You can't be running around in orange. Even the cops in Grease aren't dumb enough to see that as counter-intuitive; that's a dead giveaway. I'd wish it were summer and people's laundry was on the line. Then I could dress up in bib overalls, hang out at the coffee shop, and talk sports, and no one would ever suspect! Although maybe jail would be funner.

The basic rule for living on the lam is always to do it right and make the right choices. If there's even the slightest chance of making a mistake, instead back up and don't do it. An ounce of prevention... You haven't got the luxury of screwing up... One strike and you're out. Think! Always think of your next move, run through all the options and possible consequences, then go with the best choice. If you can easily envision being captured for doing A-B-C, by all means do X-Y-Z instead.

That's how I'd maintain my freedom, by never making a mistake. Great advice.

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