Saturday, August 21, 2010

A Modern Day Bonnie & Clyde??-- Somehow Casslyn & John Just Doesn't Have the Same Ring to It

I thought while many were going around touting the now captured fugitive pair of John McCluskey and Casslyn Mae Welch as being a modern Bonnie & Clyde-- I would comment on this bold comparison being made. You would think the real Bonnie & Clyde might be flattered by such an affinity being drawn to them, but in reality-- there doesn't seem much to warrant such a boastful and sensational claim, either self directed or media fueled.

Being on the run for 3 weeks, murdering an elderly couple and McCluskey getting caught while asleep after being spotted by a Forrest Ranger, with Welch unable to fire a shot although gun in hand when confronted-- somehow to me, doesn't rise to Bonnie & Clyde level. Also Ms. Welch apparently having ties to running drugs for a white supremacist group-- surely doesn't aid their cause in this regard. Of course law enforcement has advantages in modern times, not enjoyed in yesteryear. But in order to forge a link to Bonnie & Clyde, I would think some element of cunning in flight, compassion when others least expect it and profound ability to elude capture with a marked daring to match-- would be prerequisites to use the Bonnie & Clyde mantle. Where's my game show buzzer??? Ah, there it is-- click here... Now that's better.


joe from Canada said...

Winston, I agree with you 100%. These two characters should not even be mentioned in the same breath as B & C. I just pressed my game show buzzer.

BarefootOkieGal said...

It seems as if every male/female crime team that comes along is touted as "The New Bonnie and Clyde." Bonnie and Clyde were far more than just a couple of criminals on the run from the law; I believe their true appeal years later lies in their GOOD qualities, the love and loyalty that they shared with their families and friends and one another; just because a man and a woman go on a crime spree doesn't earn them a comparison to B&C. Buzzzz!

Shelley said...

You are both so correct, Joe and BFOG! The other night, a couple of friends popped by, and started talking to me about these two low-lifes, just because they know I'm "into" B&C! Well, I set them straight real quick--other than the fact that one is a male and one is a female and they're on the lam committing criminal acts--there IS no similarity!

Even so, I suppose in a strange way, even these inferior modern-day counterparts are a testament to B&C's enduring impact on society. It disturbs me greatly, however, that the association is made with persons of this ilk. There will never ever be another BONNIE AND CLYDE. Though to some they were nothing more than a pair of wanton killers, we who know better know they were far more complex than that.

I couldn't agree with you more, BFOG, that their true appeal lies in their "good" qualities. IF they were truly the murderous thugs some made them out to be, would we still even be talking about them? I doubt it. If nothing else, the movie, I believe, helped perpetuate the notion that B&C weren't ALL bad, and this to me is a good thing.

But for good or bad, their legacy is a far-reaching--and polarizing--one. In my opinion, we will never see any worthy successors with which to compare. They were indeed one-of-a-kind, and their legend will NEVER die!

BarefootOkieGal said...

I do believe that Charlie Starkweather and Caril Fugate (sp?) were also described as being a "Bonnie and Clyde," although their crimes are completely different. It may be that the description is now going to be used for ANY male/female partners in crime, regardless of how little they have in common with B&C.

I think that B&C were fortunate to have family members who cared enough to share stories that would highlight not only their crimes, but also the people behind the crimes. It's almost impossible NOT to feel sorry for Bonnie; some have said that Bonnie was no shrinking violet when it came to crime and criminals, and her first husband also proved to be a criminal, but I don't think Bonnie herself had a criminal mindset - I think she just fell in love and decided to let herself be pulled along by her feelings for Clyde. In her letters to Clyde when he was in prison, it's easy to see that she doesn't picture herself as some gun moll, shooting and stealing. She pictures them as a happy couple, " other boys and girls." I can feel sorry for Clyde, too, because he seems a lot like other young men I've known, and although he began committing crimes, I don't know if that's because he was a "born criminal" or just because he was a poor kid back when poor kids often got involved in things they shouldn't have gotten involved in. I do think that Clyde was a different person when he was released from prison, and I think the abuse he suffered in prison hardened him and made him "mean-mad," as Ma Joad said about Pretty Boy Floyd. According to people who knew him, Clyde did have a hair-trigger temper, but I don't know if he would have killed a man before his prison experiences; afterward, however, he killed when he felt he had to (he always managed to justify it to himself) and I think the determination never to go back to prison made Clyde a much more dangerous man than he otherwise might have been.

For whatever reason, however, B&C have captured people's imaginations much more than any other male/female crime team. After all - how many people blog about Creepy Karpis in 2010?