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Two Different Criminals

Did anyone else come away from Mark Singer's article about Richard McNair, in the current New Yorker, less than convinced that Mr McNair, an escaped prisoner, will elude capture indefinitely? There's no question that Mr McNair is a clever fellow. But his cleverness, like that of so many criminals, seems to be toggled by the situation in which he finds himself. Being at liberty toggles his cleverness to "Off." What was he doing in a car dealership on the Fourth of July? Nobody was supposed to be in the dealership. It's not very clever to count on not being noticed. It was when he was sure that he would be noticed that Mr McNair executed his successful evasions.

The New Yorker doesn't run Mr Singer's piece at its Web site, but it does provide a link to the YouTube clip of Mr McNair talking his way out of capture shortly after his last escape, from a prison in Pollock, Louisiana. Here's a link to www.newyorker.com.

What is your thinking about the Mark Foley scandal? I've long since come to expect this sort of thing from people on the right, whether here or in Britain (or even in France - remember Alain Juppé's subsidized apartments? I don't mean sex things; I mean inappropriate things. You'd think that people on the right would be hyperconscious of their actions, but that's only what they expect of everybody else. Consider the ancien régime. Reactionary avant la lettre and similarly morally clueless.

In democratic terms, the conservative obsession with appearances goes back to Disraeli's "villa Toryism." Recognizing that the values of England's landed elites were never going to make a prima facie appeal to commoners, Disraeli invented a political style that made freeholders in the Vale of Health dream that they had something in common with the Duke of Devonshire. The Duke(s) of Devonshire obliged by behaving more or less civilly. The problem with concentrating upon appearances, however, is that it's distracting from thinking about substance. Worrying too much about getting caught makes one good at not getting caught, and not getting caught is an addictive game that ceaselessly ups the ante. 

So I regard Mark Foley's sins as occupational hazards of thinking conservatively. I don't expect conservatives to behave well; I really admire them when, like John McCain, they do.


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Republicans. Sex scandal. Coverup. A month before elections......perfect.....

Why is it that no one can ever admit wrong doing anymore? Foley hides behind alcoholism and sexual abuse, neither substantiated and in the latter case heinous if not true, Hastert digs in and pretends "I know nothing.",...ah well, I'd feel better if it were only the Reoublicans, but for the moment, I will revel in watching the swine sweat it out before being led to the slaughter.

You seem to follow the Richard McNair saga. As a shrink, I'm intrigued by the Mark Singer article (just read) and have a huge desire to piece together the background. (Not that I'm trying to blame the family or suggest he's not responsible for his crimes).
Parents move from one hicktown to another when he's in grade school, dad a jewelery store mgr and auxiliary cop, mom running daycare in their small, poor house, three younger brothers,parents conventional churchgoers, civically active, but get divorced in the "80s" (the murders in 1986) but mom stays living with dad.(passive, few internal resources?) There's a story here about how this guy who did two years of college went bad. My chief suspect is dad who I suspect was a self-righteous, rigid emotionally closed individual, easy to hate. Any thoughts?

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