Wherever you are, whatever you're doing, your world has suddenly gotten smaller. As you surely are aware, the FBI has put you on their Top Ten Most Wanted list. This is quite an honor. Only those "considered a particularly dangerous menace to society due to current criminal charges" are placed on the list, and only 502 criminals have gotten there since its inception sixty-four years ago. The only ways to get off the list are through capture, death, dismissal of charges and being deemed no longer a “particularly dangerous menace to society.” Only six listees have been removed for this reason.
Let's take these one at a time. If you're dead, you're off the hook. Thirty-eight years after the murders, there's been not a hint of dismissing the charges. And making the Top Ten list pretty much rules that one out. At 77, you're still very much considered to be a dangerous menace to society, the oldest fugitive to be on the list -- another distinction. That leaves capture. And this leads to why your world has suddenly shrunk. Of the 502 fugitives who have been on the Top Ten list, 471 have been apprehended or located. Quite an impressive number, wouldn't you agree? And most of these were fingered through "citizen participation" -- a fancy term for snitches, alert neighbors, observant acquaintances, friends and family members, just about anybody who crosses paths with you, Brad. From now on, you can count on being at much greater risk of being found out and turned in. That grocery clerk, that gas station attendant, that second wife. Spurred to act by that hundred grand in reward money on your head. Unless you've had major plastic surgery, your face is now a bullseye, irrespective of facial hair and eyeglasses. In short, Brad, your world has gotten much, much smaller.
I was up into the wee hours last night plowing through the diary you kept from 1965 to 1971. Though mostly containing banal stuff about "how to succeed in the Foreign Service," your 30-something self gives away some very interesting glimpses into your soul. To wit:
Toxic, degenerate psychoses with confabulation. Chronic, low-level maniac involutional [sic] megalomania.
Could you have meant "involutional melancholia," a psychiatric disorder marked by "anxiety, agitation, restlessness, somatic concerns, hypochondriasis, occasional somatic or nihilistic delusions, insomnia, anorexia, and weight loss"?
I am getting better. I am on the threshold. I recognize now that to twist my accursed confines, I must develop a continuing and constant sense of surging for confidence, awe, and becoming and love - This is my greatest challenge for this is always been the great impediment to freedom and total self realisation [sic] - to burst the bounds.
I don't know, Brad. Call me politically incorrect, but this sounds like it was written by a crazy person.
You stand on the threshhold of: Love Knowledge Style faith charisma absolute confidence Intensive analytical penetration Intense [indecipherable] mental processes.
This accursed insomnia makes me sleazy.
Can't argue with that.
No more recriminations - It's amazing, despite how lousy you fell all doped up - smoking a few cigarettes, etc How I suddenly have new powers.
Back to crazy.
Your family grows more beautiful, and you still stand on the threshold = Outwardly, your accomplishments are great = My, quick symbols = promotions, citations, languages, degrees Still, you stand on the threshold. You have soared to the heights & plummeted, each time, to the depths.
I find this passage to be the most intriguing, Brad. What's the "threshold"? And what do you mean by "the depths"?
Your handwriting gets increasingly manic as the years go by, and your entries less coherent. I picture Colonel Kurtz in the movie Apocalypse Now, scrawling in his own diary, "The horror, the horror."
The fact is, you were seeing psychiatrist Frank Caprio twice a week during your last Washington tour of duty. He had you on the antidepressant Serax. You suffered from chronic insomnia. Your domineering mother constantly berated you. Your wife wanted to pursue her own career as an artist and to remain in the U.S., a source of friction in your marriage. You were passed over for promotion. Devastating. And then there were financial strains. So many tensions. So many pressures. For a man on the psychological "threshold," the "depths" were easy to fall into, weren't they, Brad? Did you know that Dr. Caprio quit psychiatry after the murders? Apparently, he couldn't live with himself. He took with him to his grave in 2005 his inside knowledge of what was going on inside your head.
Rather than get caught, why don't you finally give yourself up? Drop me a line.
See also --
On the Trail of a Murderer: William Bradford Bishop, Jr.
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