"Because That's Where The Money Is…"
So replied the great American bank robber Willie Sutton when asked by a judge why he’d robbed so many banks.
The venality of politicians, the crookedness of bankers and the financial markets, the daily robbery of the populace by industry and business–all have got me thinking about crime.
My own former career need not detain us. I’m a reformed character. Someone, Montaigne perhaps, wrote that Laws are the crystallization of the prejudices of the community. Hard to argue.
Bank robbery, however, seems to be a special case.
The savage penalties demanded in law are less the wish of the community–who more often than not regard bank robbers as heroes–than the wish of bankers. Given the swinish greed and 3 Stooges level of incompetence exhibited by bankers lately, I’m wondering if now wouldn’t be a good time to either return to the trade or, if a novice, give it a try. I wonder if a jury would actually convict, as long as no-one was hurt?
So let’s have poems on bank robbery, no particular form this time. Just pull the stocking mask over your face, rack the slide to put one in the chamber and let’s go to work…
Step On It, Jack: We’re Pistol Hot
I never planned to be a bank robber;
It wasn’t a dream with a long gestation;
Just sort of happened; when you clobber
A boy with years of expensive education,
You give him an impenetrable rind:
A boy with a bellyfull of classics
Is the sworn enemy of mankind.
At first, I was a bit diffident, even polite:
“Be so good as to lie down on the floor;
Forgive me, but I wonder if I might
Trouble you for that money?”
I’d even wave as I went out the door,
Like a Bishop taking leave of the poor.
That all changed the first time I got shot;
A clown wants to save the insurance man
The trouble of paying out; Christ, it’s not
His money; Alarm raised; Not in the plan;
I said, Step on it, Jack, we’re pistol hot:
And ever since, I’ve been on the lam.