Monday, March 9, 2015

About That Bank-Robbery Business......

A few of my friends and long-time associates have pointed out the seemingly un-repentant attitude I have for having been involved in committing the two bank robberies I’m known for, the "L.A.S.T. bank robberies" by the "infamous Deppeller gang".  Let me make a few things clear, for the record.

If someone today were to find themselves in the same situation I was, I would never, ever advocate the same course of action I pursued at that time in my life.   For one, the environment today is infinitely more dangerous, and if the goal was merely to acquire large sums of cash without having worked for it the old-fashioned way (either as a worker, a professional, or even as a small-time capitalist), one would attempt to ‘hack’ it in cyberspace the way a handful of bankster-gangsters have been doing recently as they see the writing on the wall for humanity-at-large.  If they could do that without harming individuals’ earnings and savings, perhaps there might be some merit in that form of ‘Robin Hood approach’, but the romantic allure of confrontation with the forces of an evil authority simply isn’t there.  Would-be bank robbers today are almost guaranteed to be mere thugs, with no rationale other than egoistic materialism.

The larger reason however is that no matter how ‘successful’ one is at achieving the short-term goal, the fact remains that the Divine (however you want to spell God) will always ‘catch you’, as happened with me.  Even after that mad high-speed chase outrunning 21 law-enforcement vehicles with guns blazing, and eluding capture even after calling a cab and using a toy gun to carry out the second bank robbery over a thousand miles away, the truth was that being on the run was no romantic endeavor.

Having proved we could to it, and having given vent to a righteous anger that was based on something that could be tangibly explained, life on the run as a permanent proposition was nothing to romanticize.  Chiefly because no matter how successful one is at evading the financial powers, one is still condemned internally by the simple values of right and wrong.  Those values were constantly at war with our reality, every night we tried to sleep.  We simply had no peace; even two of the original six in the plot who left between bank jobs for a life as tour guides out West eventually turned themselves in as well.

From the stories I heard from the federal marshals who filled me in following the voluntary surrender of my brother and I, Paul (the judge’s son) would blurt out his story at parties but no-one seemed to believe him, until one morning – sober – he turned himself in at the local police station and his part of the story came out.  Billy Custard (originally Custred), the male gigolo who had obtained the matching .38 specials from a lover, left us while in Florida and disappeared into the Ft. Lauderdale scene, where he presumably felt more at home with the large gay population there. He, too, had ‘come in from the cold’ and – like Paul and Roseanna (who were the real ‘Bonnie & Clyde’ of the gang) served relatively light sentences (even while considering how astonishingly ‘light’ a sentence I received, at 2 – 6 years it was still the longest of all six of us).

The point of all this is that, no matter how far we were able to run, our inner moral compass, or the ‘good angel’ that sat on our right shoulders, pointed a finger accusingly at our actions and eventually impelled us to find our way back to the ‘light’.  That isn’t to say there aren’t people who pull off spectacular financial heists, such as the Bush family did numerous times over the past century (most notably in the 9/11 caper, which netted them billions), and seemingly feel no guilt, but that’s because they are innately ‘service to the Satan of Self’. 

One cannot fight the STS (Service To Self) using the same methods they use, even when doing it in a transparent confrontation such as old-school bank robbery.  The end result is the same, and though the STS can do these things without a single qualm of guilt, the fact remains that those who aren’t firmly committed to the Self Above All will feel – and rightly SHOULD feel – a guilty conscience, and act to assuage it in such a manner as to experience remorse and go on to make his or her presence on earth worthwhile to others in their own inimitable fashion.

In other words, we caught ourselves, and if one is a thinking, feeling being, allegedly engaged in endeavors to help the community (such as we were involved in trying to bring a ‘hearth’ to the community – in opposition to greedy foreign gluttons), the success only comes when one is able to rise above the issues we all get so mired in….issues that tend to curdle our idealism, either suffocating it to death leaving a cynical shell or using it to justify resentment that tends to arise when the truth of the Earth matrix ‘reality’ sinks in – the truth that can eventually set us free, but not before some form of struggle with it takes place.  It was that struggle that was at the heart of the L.A.S.T. bank robberies by the infamous “Deppeller gang”, and for the record – the Pocono Record particularly, which I am grateful to for having assisted in the communitarian effort to bring a ‘hearth’ to East Stroudsburg PA before we were rudely elbowed out of the way – I have always been deeply remorseful for my role in allowing the resulting resentment to crystallize in the form it did, but even after all these years, I still feel that at the heart of the entire experience, the Divine was working in It’s mysterious ways. 

I speak for myself now, because I attribute many of my actions in later years to lessons I learned from the L.A.S.T. period in my life.  After serving my sentence, I returned to my father’s house, then removed to the Wash. DC area in part as a result of the notoriety our shared name had brought to the family in the Poconos, and being an idealist in the capital of the nation placed me where I could be of use to the larger community.  At least I thought so, and that’s what’s important – not the notions that spring from so-called authority. One is driven to do it because of what is within, not what is without. 

I began working quietly in the background, in the ‘grass roots’, on many campaigns, always voluntarily, never seeking to ‘monetize’ my actions for the sake of resume (some would say that’s foolhardy, but the point of action or even prayer is to achieve the goal, not to show off  what should be standard behavior).  Sadly, the notion of ‘civic duty’ has been lost to the newer generations.  To them, the idea of ‘bank robbery’ is still a romantic one at best, a stain and denigration to most.  We now live in an era of  nigh-total self-aggrandizement, or in some extreme cases religious zealotry.  There will likely never be another “Symbionese Liberation Army”, or a “Red Brigade”, though there is the butchery of “ISIS/ISIL/IS” and Boko Haram available to lure mad muslims to a “cause”.

Truthfully, the L.A.S.T. Party was indeed one of the “last of the mohicans” of confrontation, though today hundreds and hundreds of grass-roots organizations are doing in the cyber world what we were trying to do in the so-called ‘real’ world.  Instead of  painting billboards, we construct websites with our messages of ‘change’.  Soon, the ‘real’ world will find itself caught up in the greatest test of all, and all of the ideas we have put forward will find themselves tested, as we will be as individuals.

I hope this clears up a few misunderstandings, and LAST but not least, you can outrun and outfox the FBI, but you can’t outrun or outfox God.  He (or She, or It) will always be with you, whether you accept it or not.

The following three images tell the story in the starkest terms, may the lesson be learned.

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