Prison Escape

The escape of two inmates from New York State’s Dannemora Prison has received much national coverage. We love to read about prison escapes because we like prison escapes. Why? Is it our once beloved “root for the underdog” mindset? Is it  the sheer drama of two “murderers, nitwits, lowlife’s, lifers, etc’s” ability to out do all the massive forces of authority and police? Outwit The State! Dannemora (what a name) had forty foot high walls. Of course they, like Steve McQueen, in the Great Escape, a recreation of a real WW Two escape, went under, not over these impediments. And they went through the walls of their cells, with power tools.

From Home Depot? Cordless? Probably cordless, unless they plugged into the light switches inside their cells. A female civilian employee has been named as helping them, but apparently she  had a nervous breakdown when the moment came to meet the men outside the man hole cover they emerged from in the streets of this tiny weeny upstate New York town.  Forgot to  weld those manhole covers down did you boys? Of course crawling through sewer pipes have long been a classic escape route, ever since Willie Sutton crawled out of the shit encrusted pipes of the Eastern State Penitentiary into the streets of Philadelphia where he haled a taxi cab. 

Dannemora however, being less than a backwater has no taxi cab’s cruising at night, and my guess is that after all this work, these two thugs had a back up plan, perhaps a friend with late model Audi to pick them up, in which case they are now in Mexico, Mexico not Mexico, New York, a favorite fishing destination of mine on Lake Ontario. So much of this reminds me of Jimmy Renton’s escape from Arkansas notorious Tucker Max, described in my book, “Like  A Thief’s Dream. ”

Renton also knew the “insides” of the maximum security unit he would escape from. He had the blue prints. Renton also needed a key tool (not from Home Depot), a wire cutter, which he simply stole from the prison tool room. Renton was a murderer who took with him another murderer, and another Lifer, and finally a fourth man who they elected to take, since he had discovered “the plot.” Like our New Yorkers, Renton left early, in the evening, and also, like them, left a dummy in his bed. And just like them,  no one knew they had escaped until an incredible twelve hours later. This is important for any readers thinking of trying this. It gave Renton and his buddies all that time to put as much distance as possible between themselves and their prison before anyone even started looking for them. And by the way, none of Renton’s buddies, or Renton, all of whom were eventually recaptured, harmed anyone during their run for freedom. Why kill more people, or anyone for that matter? They were  running from police. Escapes actually want “the public” on their side. Remarkably, Renton, who left us a written account of his  escape, was helped by civilians along the way. Some of the people he encountered didn’t like authority either, and wanted him to succeed. Many years ago, in the Canadian (not American!) publication Ovo Magazine,  I wrote about Renton, in a piece called “He is Running for Us All”. It was about freedom.

Again, you can still buy a copy for a mere $29.00  of “Like A Thief’s Dream” on using Pay  Pal

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