JAN: I was reading the Globe last week about the suspect in the robbery of eight banks in my general neighborhood who pleaded guilty. I immediately clicked through to the full story, and had a very strange reaction.
When I found out the bank robber was from Norwood, I felt a little flood of -- yes,pride. I was actually pleased that he was from Norwood, the next door suburb, instead of from Charlestown in the city, where all the other bank robbers come from.
No one was hurt in any of the robberies, but as a former banking reporter, I -- more than most people -- know the high price of bank thefts and how it all just translates into higher costs for everyone else. And yet, as I read on about Dmitri Long, 34, the "U-30 Bandit," I was happy he got to successfully rob eight banks before he got caught, and I found myself hoping he didn't actually have to serve the 25 year
s of imprisonment he faces on each count.
WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?? I actually own stock in one of the banks he robbed -- at two different locations -- stock that isn't doing so well lately, I might add. So why should I secretly applaud Dmitri? He charged into each of the banks waving a black semi-automatic pistol and also placed a device on the counter that everyone thought was a bomb.
If he were a terrorist, I'd have no mercy, but because the bomb was fake, and because he just trying to rob the bank, after all, a few silly banks, I feel sort of sorry for Dmitri.
AGAIN: WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?
What is it about bank robbers that sets them
apart from other criminals?? Is it the Bonnie and Clyde thing? The Butch Cassidy and the Sun Dance Kid thing? Has Hollywood made them into folk heros that has brainwashed me? Or do we just naturally admire a good heist?
If there is no shoot out, do any of us have much sympathy for the victim - the bank - certainly not these days, and the crime itself does require an enviable amount of skill.
So what do you think? Have I watched too many movies, or are bank robbers truly the the aristocrats of criminals?
And don't forget to come back tomorrow, when I interview Harvard psychology professor Shelley Carson on her incredible book, Your Creative Brain -- which I've now read twice, and which is both useful and inspiring.