Why the infatuation? Why are forums filled with people performing the cyberspace equivalent of a jailhouse vigil? Murray (again, allegedly) orchestrated a major heist involving automatic weapons and took a sizable sum he had no legal claim to. From all appearances, he’s a surly and violent man with no regard for the law and a seeming apathy toward human life. (You don’t brandish guns unless you intend to use them for their intended purpose: killing.) He did not give the money to charity. He bought a tacky mansion and decorated it with an eyesore portrait of himself. This is not someone you would consider to be a valuable example of humanity.
There must be something amusing and energizing about observing a display of such hubris in our regulated, starched-collar society. Murray is some kind of human Id, behaving with an utter disregard for consequences. He is Phineas Gage, the man who had an iron bar driven into his head and was forever more a profane, heartless bastard. We all want to tell people off. We all want to walk away from a knife fight. We all want $92 million. Murray did something about it.
"Public Enemies" is a film opening shortly. It’s the story of John Dillinger, with Johnny Depp starring as the charismatic bank thief too charming to be thought an amoral bastard. I get the sense that Americans mired in the great Depression read about Dillinger’s exploits -- which included the murder of police -- with a guilty and quiet reverence. Now here we are in an economic tar pit of new design, and here comes Lee Murray, who was pretty damn close to enjoying the good life after an audacious heist. This isn’t hero worship. This is wish fulfillment.
I've long wrestled with the whys of the fascination with Lee Murray, my own and others'. Rossen pretty much nails it here. It's not just MMA fans that fantasize about punching Tito Ortiz in the face, pulling off the biggest bank heist in history and running off to live in a mansion on the beach.
Lee Murray has gotten as much mainstream media interest as any MMA fighter in history. Who else has been featured in a full episode of ESPN 360? What other fighter does TIME want to make a bio pic of?
The story of Lightening Lee Murray clearly appeals to that little bit of sociopathy inside every human animal who's forced to live by the rules and wishes it could break out in an orgy of abandon.