“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Fugitive

Marshals nab fugitive after 30 years on lam

By the CNN Wire Staff
January 15, 2011 2:49 a.m. EST

(CNN) -- Federal authorities say they have arrested a fugitive in rural Florida who was on the lam for 30 years after faking a heart attack to escape from prison.
A handwritten document buried in a file led cold case investigators to Ian Jackson MacDonald, 71, the U.S. Marshals Service said in a statement. They arrested him Tuesday in Homosassa, Florida.
"I was told that he just let out a big sigh and said, 'Yeah, you're right -- you got me,'" U.S. Marshals senior Inspector Barry Golden told CNN affiliate CBC News.
Authorities allege that MacDonald, who went by the nickname "Big Mac," faked a heart attack while he was in a federal prison in South Miami-Dade County in 1980. He later escaped from a hospital, the U.S. Marshals said.
MacDonald had been awaiting extradition on a Canadian warrant to face outstanding charges for allegedly smuggling 500 pounds of marijuana.
After less than a day in the hospital, he persuaded a security guard to unshackle his legs so he could take a shower, the U.S. Marshals said in a statement.
"The security guard walked to the nurse's station, and when he returned, MacDonald was gone," the statement said.
People in Pennsylvania and West Virginia knew MacDonald by a different name -- Jack Hunter, CNN affiliate WTOV reported.
U.S. Marshals allege that MacDonald and his wife changed their names and moved to southwest Pennsylvania after he escaped from custody. He owned a store in nearby West Virginia, "19th Hole Used Appliances," WTOV said.
"It's really surprising that someone can live in your neighborhood for that long undetected," resident Jim Lyle told WTOV.
Investigators in Pennsylvania learned that MacDonald and his wife were living in a Florida mobile home they had purchased in 2009. Authorities there arrested him outside the home Tuesday.
"I have been looking over my shoulder all these years. I wondered when this day would come," MacDonald reportedly told investigators, the U.S. Marshals said.
According to the U.S. Marshals, Canadian authorities said their arrest warrant for importation of marijuana was still active, and MacDonald could still face charges in Canada.


  1. I'll bet MacDonald is wishing and praying that they do not send him to Canada to face a trial for a thirty year old weed charge.

    Although the five hundred pounds may be a bit of a problem.

    Why do I think we will see and hear more of Jackson MacDonald?

  2. I bet his next shower he'll be wearing leg irons. :)

  3. Let's just hope he doesn't have a "real" heart attack. :)

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  6. quirk (I think) wrote:

    "Ash complains about the unions"

    and then mentioned Tenured professors...

    I wasn't really 'complaining' about unions but rather reflected upon their general stance, at least in my experience - they tend to protect the status quo. When I 'went to Hollywood' I was confronted with the powerful unions there. I was told that I would hate the union until I was in it and then I would love the union. It was a corrupt game to get in the union as well. I left and came back to Toronto and set up as an independent. I still have to deal with the unions and they still work hard to protect their members at the expense of those that aren't. Natural in a way but it simply tends to protect the status quo - if you are innovative and more productive (i.e. offer more for less) the unions get their knickers in a knot.

    Re - tenured professors - yeh, there is definitely a protection of the status quo there. On the one hand, in the 'temple of education' there is a lot of merit to be had from giving 'smart' folk a position for life and allowing them to follow their muse. The Universities in Canada are running into union problems. Ironically, like in Europe, where there was a big back lash against raising the retirement age there is a similar problem here in North America. The average Joe on the street looks at the later retirement issue as 'so what, the buggers gotta work a few years more before kicking back' whereas the new employ looks at it as the old buggers are going to be keeping that job to themselves for a few more years instead of the new guy moving in.

    In short, workers need a voice to argue for their rights. They need power to bargain. The union, though, also needs to compete for the workers - closed shops are....ummm...problematic.