Thursday, December 3, 2015

Masons Made Me Do It

This might be a case for the Masonic Police. Too bad they're probably in jail by now. Britton Clayton Traylor, the author of a conspiracy-theory book about "the coming New World Order" was arrested after trying to rob a movie theater in Hoover, Alabama. Traylor was subdued by the theater manager and a helpful patron, who detained him until police arrived to make the arrest.

Later, when asked why he committed the crime, Traylor explained that Freemasons had made him do it as part of a "higher degree" initiation. I'm left wondering if Traylor is so delusional that he thought people would believe him, or if somebody out there is seriously messing with him. "Yeah, we're Masons... umm... rob that theater over there and we'll initiate you..."

In either case, it's clear that Traylor truly has a dizzying intellect.

"We're not really buying that as we've never heard of Masons instructing members to commit criminal acts,'' said Hoover police spokesman Capt. Gregg Rector. "It's really one of the most ridiculous excuses that we've heard lately. He may have achieved a higher level of stupidity, but that's about it."

On Monday, lawmen responded to an armed robbery at the Carmike Lee Branch Theaters on Doug Baker Boulevard. Rector said Hoover officers and Shelby County sheriff's deputies arrived at the theater to find the manager and another man on top of Traylor, holding him on the ground in front of the theater.

The assistant manager told police the man entered the theater wearing a life-like mask and brandishing a handgun. He demanded cash, escorted the employee to the office and ordered him to open the safe. He took a large sum of money, put it into a backpack and left through the building's front door, Rector said.

Determined not to let him get away, the assistant manager followed Traylor, tackling and disarming him. At that point, Rector said, the victim realized the gun was a BB gun and tossed it aside. He also ripped the mask from Traylor's face.

The BB gun is a nice touch. It adds a lot to the overall stupidity of the crime, just like that scene in National Lampoon's Vacation. "It wouldn't even break the skin." "It could! It could lodge under the skin and cause a very bad infection!"

Traylor's excuse may be a stupid one, but his crime may have simply been one of desperation. Amazon shows his book at #231,000 in sales rank for print and #521,000 for Kindle. So it sells better than mine, but not that much better than mine - and I have three titles in print. There's no way anybody can make a living on sales like that, and according to Traylor's biography he has no other job.

According to his biography: "Traylor studied Political Science at the University of Alabama and minored in History. After leaving school, he has pursued several entrepreneurial ventures, especially ecommerce websites. This has given him the time and freedom to pursue his true passion for writing."

That is, he's a failed businessman whose only means of support is a book that doesn't sell all that well - and, apparently, petty crime. The article adds that he was arrested on theft charges last year, though most of the charges were dismissed.

Just to be clear, in case anyone is wondering, there is no branch of Masonry that requires its members to commit crimes in order to advance to higher degrees. That sounds to me like the ramblings of someone who has no idea what Masonry is or how its initiations work. In fact, someone exactly like a conspiracy theorist.

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