A story I didn’t include in my “A World of Crime” blog articles concerns the mystery surrounding a famous escape, the one from Alcatraz in 1962. (I did mention Al Capone and Machine Gun Kelly who were both incarcerated there.) GANGSTERS and GOODFELLAS
Monday, June 11, was the 50th anniversary of the widely publicized escape from “The Rock”, a maximum security prison on Alcatraz Island off the coast of San Francisco Bay.
According to federal officials, the mastermind of the escape had an I.Q. ranging in the top 2% of the nation during the early 1900s. His plans for the escape were elaborate.
In the movie, Escape from Alcatraz, Clint Eastwood portrays the mastermind and makes a successful escape. This is one interpretation of events. Another is that the three prisoners who attempted the escape probably drowned in the riptides and undertows of the bay.
While the story is entertaining as presented by America’s Most Wanted, National Geographic, and the Discovery Channel, I find the history of the mastermind disturbing. An orphan before his teens, he lived in foster homes before a theft conviction. From there he moved up to robbery and narcotics, which led to jail, a penitentiary, and finally Alcatraz.
The intellect of this male was wasted as he slipped through the cracks of society’s awareness. As was the intelligence of Theodore Kaczynski, considered a prodigy in his youth but known by today’s society as the Unabomber. One spent his teens in reform school. The other received a degree from Harvard and earned a PhD in mathematics. Both ended up in prison.
We know the Unabomber pleaded guilty to avoid the death penalty and received eight "life sentences". It isn’t so clear what became of Frank Lee Morris and the Anglin brothers who attempted an escape from an escape-proof federal prison. Were their remains strewn along the seabed after being swept under the Golden Gate Bridge?
Or, having been whisked away by a girlfriend after struggling to shore, are they still alive and residing in Mexico?