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Entreaty to feds: Don’t hijack rich NW legend

Tue., Aug. 2, 2011, midnight

The bombshell broke over the weekend and stopped me in my tracks.

The FBI is looking into a new “credible” lead in the famed D.B. Cooper skyjacking, my radio blared.

I have a few words for these intrepid federal agents.

“Leave our legend alone!”

The D.B. Cooper case is one of the last great yarns of the Northwest.

Untold hours have been spent in glorious speculation about that daring desperado who parachuted into the dark and stormy night on Thanksgiving Eve 1971.

We’re fast approaching the 40th anniversary of Cooper’s leap into history and the talking points still remain.

Did he perish in the fall?

Did he make it safely to ground only to succumb to the rugged terrain and subfreezing conditions?

Or did he scamper away with most of his 200 grand in ransom cash?

Message to feds:

Don’t want to know.

Besides, the FBI has so many better things to do. You know, like planting cocaine to frame mob bosses or wiretapping Charlie Sheen.

I’m betting I’m not the only curmudgeon who’d rather see the D.B. Cooper saga stay a mystery.

Man, what incredible stones that dude had.

Yeah. Yeah. I know.

We’re talking about a brazen criminal here. Cooper claimed to have a bomb in the briefcase he carried onto the Northwest Orient Airlines flight 305 from Portland to Seattle.

By definition that makes him a terrorist.

Even so, we can’t overlook the point that no passengers were harmed in his misadventure.

Cooper greedily traded them for four parachutes and 10,000 $20 bills after the airplane touched down in Seattle.

Then 30 minutes after takeoff, Cooper bailed out of the now Mexico-bound plane with his loot.

In 1980, a packet of Cooper’s marked 20s was discovered on the bank of the Columbia River. The find sparked another round of conjecture.

Was the money proof of D.B.’s demise?

Was this a red-herring left purposely to throw trackers off the trail?

I say let it rest there.

Like spices that go into a great meal, the identity and fate of D.B. Cooper are delicious unknowns that make life all the more palatable.

Finding out whodunit would just spoil everything.

Besides, we don’t seem to have as many of these grand myths to celebrate any more.

Every time you turn your back, somebody is trying to debunk Bigfoot or unearth Jesse James for a DNA test.

The problem is closure. Everybody is so obsessed with closure these days.

Not me. I’m an open-ended sort of guy.

I still love that fade-out ending in the old “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” movie.

Did they live? Did they die?

Who knows?

There was an actual rumor circulating that Cassidy survived the shootout and moved to Spokane to live out his life under an assumed name.

Now that’s a great legend.

This so-called Information Age that we’re in has made life a lot less interesting.

You can’t sit in a bar and mouth off like you could in the good old days. The second you do someone will start Googling the lie you just told on their iPhone.

Next thing you know some fact-happy fool will try to prove that Elvis really did croak on his bathroom floor.

Elvis not alive?

Who wants to live in a world like that?

Doug Clark is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review. He can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or by email at

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