As a native of Michigan, I know what recession means. Michigan was deeply rooted in a recession way before it became the hip thing to do everywhere else in the United States. When the economic bubble burst over a year ago, residents of Michigan watched the rest of the country panic with scorn. "Recession? That was so eight years ago." We saw how America worked. When the movie 8 Mile was made it was greeted with an "Oh, those poor souls in Detroit. Let's nominate them for an Academy Award for their plight." But when 8 Mile came to a neighborhood near you, suddenly it was a crisis.
Desperate times, as the cliché goes, call for desperate measures, but it also invites opportunity. When there's nothing but gloom and bad news surrounding you -- as is the case in Michigan -- the likelihood a hero will present him or herself arises. And, after years of waiting, our hero has finally come in the form of Donald Evans from Battle Creek, Michigan.
Donald Evans is a 79-year-old man that robbed a Battle Creek bank on February 13th. A natural reaction would be to judge the man, or to even feel sorry for an elderly gentleman likely feeling he had no choice but to commit a violent crime in order to pay his bills or simply feed his family. Police investigated his motive for the robbery, but their efforts were cut short when Mr. Evans bluntly stated his reasons: Evans needed the money for "women, gambling and alcohol." And to make certain he would get the money he needed for those endeavors, he wrote himself a to-do list that explicitly listed robbing a bank, a to-do list the police of Battle Creek are now using as evidence against him.
To sport another cliché, heroes come from the most unlikely of places. In an environment of joblessness, terrible professional sports teams and a dying auto industry plaguing our fair state, Evans embodies the Michigan spirit. He's a man that knew what he wanted (after reminding himself on a to-do list) and wasn't afraid to chase after it, even being brutally honest about his motivations for the money. That self-starting, entrepreneurial spirit is what put Michigan on the map in the first place and what is so desperately needed if we're to return to our former glory.
Perhaps I'm a softie -- or maybe I've just logged too many hours playing Grand Theft Auto -- but Donald Evans should be granted a pardon by Governor Jennifer Granholm after his impending slam-dunk conviction. And after he's released, he should immediately start his campaign for future governor of Michigan. I'd manage his campaign myself with the slogan "Evans '10: Bringing change I stole from that bank."