Yeah! It's always fun to find a book on someone whose a little off the beaten path and Lawrence DeVol is about as off as the come. So in our roster of bad guys we have a bio on someone who usually merits about a paragraph when people write about the Barker-Karpis Gang. Robert R. Ernst has written a detailed account of Lawrence DeVol's life in the book Robbin' Banks & Killin' Cops.
If you want to read a bio on someone who appears completely unrepentant then this is the book for you. It was a good read, but it does get slow in the middle. But I think that's due more to my being familiar with the Barker-Karpis Gang thank anything else. There's nothing new about the Barkers in this book so it was almost a relief when DeVol's story separates from the gangs. DeVol's final years in Minnesota are very detailed as is his last shoot out. I'm still not sure whether DeVol was insane enough to be institutionalized. Maybe it was men like DeVol who could and did kill whenever he got the chance who made society and the justice system say OK simply being immoral is not crazy. See back when DeVol was captured in St. Paul they judged him 'criminally insane' and he was sentenced to the state mental hospital. Where he, with five other men who were 'criminally insane' broke out. Ernst makes it a point to show that this sentence is what DeVol was hoping for. He knew he'd have an easier time breaking out of the mental institution. Hey what am I doing? I'm not going to give the story away. Let's just that he who lives by the gun is headed for a bloody shootout that probably inspired Hollywood.
Speaking of Hollywood I've decided to wait for the DVD for Public Enemies. I just can't get a definite yes from anyone that the film is worth spending precious weekend hours on. Oh..the FBI and I are beginning our dance again. I sent FOIA requests to the Kansas City, MO offices who promptly sent it to HQ who sent me a letter saying to paraphrase 'we see no reason why you would believe the FBI has files on these individuals. You may appeal....' I send death certificates I sent news clippings FINE!!! FINE!!! Here we go again. You know in my vision of Utopia every file that the FBI has is in order and digitized and easy to access. I love my utopia but since it only exists in my head appeal I will.