Rifles photo

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The first Rambo movie created a franchise but had very little to do with real life, or so I believed until now. Surely, I thought, one man can’t evade the massed forces of law and order with all the technology and firepower at their disposal. When Colonel Chipman said, “You’re not hunting him; he’s hunting you,” I thought, Oh ho ho, how silly.

But if you’ve been paying attention to current events, you’ve noticed that there are no longer any daily press conferences held on the manhunt for Eric Frein, who allegedly killed one Pennsylvania State Trooper from ambush and wounded another. You might have also noticed that Lt. Col. George Bivens of the PA State Police, who had been holding the conferences, has developed a distinctly haunted look. The reason was that Mr. Frein has now been on the loose for more than 20 days in the Pennsylvania woods, and the law, in all its might, can’t find him.

Colonel Bivens has said that he doubts Mr. Frein is sleeping well at night. Possibly. But my guess is that Mr. Frein is sleeping better than Colonel Bivens. Frein is probably lounging in a spider hole, dining on MREs that he’s stockpiled, pooping in adult diapers, and suppressing periodic fits of laughter.

This isn’t the first time a felon has vanished in the woods. In 1996, a man named Eric Rudolph set off a bomb at the Atlanta Olympics venue. When he was named a suspect in 1998, he fled into the Appalachian Mountains and there he stayed, living on acorns and salamanders and doing the occasional dumpster dive, for 5 years, despite everyone looking for him. He was arrested in 2003, rooting behind a store in Murphy, NC. If he’d stayed in the woods, he’d probably still be at large.

So far, there are a couple of morals to be drawn. When the Frein story first broke, I watched it on NBC News, and was fascinated to see that Stephanie Gosk, who was on site, considered skill in the woods and with a rifle to be horrific qualities*. If someone described me as skillful in the woods and an unfailing shot, I’d consider it to be a huge compliment. It depends on what kind of culture you come from.

Second, Eric Frein has become a hero to some people, and there are apparently Facebook pages in his honor. Idolizing murderers is nothing new. Jesse James, John Dillinger, and Bonnie and Clyde, were popular heroes. It does mean, however, that maybe those Facebook pages should be shut down. People like to see authority defied, and people like Frein do it, for a while, until they catch a bullet or end up in a supermax.

My own opinion is that the cops should look for Frein in Washington D.C., on the staff of the Secret Service, assigned to the White House detail.

*I inferred this from Ms. Gosk’s expression and tone of voice. If I’m wrong, I extend my abject apologies and an invitation to go hunting some time.