Guy Lochhead, 02/09/10
Raised in a caravan on Camano Island, Washington, Harris-Moore started living wild at the age of seven. He would break into holiday homes, steal blankets and food, and vanish into the woods for days. In April 2008, after being sent to a juvenile detention centre, he complained that the beds were too short, and went on the run. He spent two years living in the wood, wanted for many burglaries around the Pacific Northwest and the theft of three aeroplanes (which he taught himself to fly) and a car, totalling around 100 offences. He was arrested after police shot out the engine to a boat he was attempting to flee to Cuba with. He has waived the right to a speedy trial, allowing prosecutor and defence to build up a full case.Harris-Moore is the result of clueless parenting and an inept healthcare system. His father was incarcerated many times before leaving for the woods. His stepfather died when he was seven. His mother wasn’t aware health insurance wasn’t free for minors, and so couldn’t afford the treatment Harris-Moore needed for his various behavioural disorders. She has said numerous nonsensical and self-contradictory things to the press, in interviews she makes them pay for. Despite (or perhaps because of) his circumstances, Harris-Moore has taken control of his life and taught himself survival skills, self-discipline and a good sense of humour. He’d break into houses to have warm baths or order bear mace and night vision goggles. He left $100 at a vet’s with a note that it should be spent on helping animals. My romantic side views this as the result of a child let down by everyone around him, come to rely on himself. He has said since his arrest that it wasn’t fun, but neither is normal life. A Seattle-based ethical screenprinting company called Good Times produce a ‘Mama Tried’ (after the Merle Haggard song about an outlaw) t-shirt dedicated to Harris-Moore’s run. A quarter of the profits go to Washington Youth. I’ll wait it out and see what the apparent film/book deals result in, but at the moment this seems like the safest bet for inclusion.