Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Some Lessons from Colton Harris Moore

There is a teenage kid up in our neck of the woods who has made quite a name for himself as a fugitive and, depending on how you look at it, a survivalist. For a compendium of news stories about him, check out the Colton Harris Moore Fan Club website. I am generally not a fan of fugitives and I wouldn't call myself a fan of this kid, but many of his exploits have "survivalist" written all over them. Here's some of his survivalist lessons gleaned from news articles:
  • One of the most amazing things he has done, in my opinion, is that he has been credited with stealing small aircraft and flying them wherever he wants to go. The most amazing part is that he has never been on an airliner and has never taken flying lessons, yet authorities believe he got ahold of some flight manuals, YouTube videos, and flight simulator computer programs, studied them, then stole the planes and practiced flying them. He was able to take off, fly, and land, surprisingly with some skill and without killing himself or anyone else. Fairly amazing. The lesson: you can do amazing things when you have the knowledge (and the balls) to try.
  • He is also thought to have stolen numerous cars and boats. The lesson: being able to drive anything can be a useful skill.
  • He has a network of people who, authorities assume, are helping him hide out. The lesson: build your network.
  • It is assumed that his outdoor survival and hiding skills have kept him a) from dying of exposure and starving to death, and b) from being caught by authorities who have spent lots of money, time, and man power trying to find him. Did I mention he lives on an island? A small island? Yes, I am sure the authorities are embarrassed by this factoid. The lesson: outdoor survival skills are a must. Practicing them is a double must.
  • He is known to break into homes (mostly homes of people who leave them vacant in the off season) and businesses to gather supplies/food/other things he needs. The lesson: burglary skills are good to have; the felony that comes along with using such skills warrant some consideration about its impact on your future.
  • He has literally outrun some of the authorities who were hunting him. The lesson: physical skills are not over rated and need to be practiced regularly.
  • From the articles, he uses night vision goggles, knows his way around computers and other electronic devices, and collects things such as iPods, digital camera, etc. The lesson: being well versed on technology topics is a useful skill to have.

Like I've often said, there are opportunities to learn from every situation, every newspaper article, and even from criminals (mostly you learn what not to do from criminals but this may be an exception).


  1. All good points. You miss a couple of things though. Sometimes cops can be lazy and stupid. Some simply don't care about their profession, and skate by for years. They work harder at making excuses then doing their jobs. Also, it's hard to know all the facts from new stories. The media is far more interested in ratings and story telling then truth.

  2. Good point. One day this kid has a few break-ins under his belt and has annoyed the hell out of the local police, next day he is suddenly the top suspect in hundreds of cases...makes for good media and wraps up cases that may or may not be attributable to him.