After 112 days on the run, Craig 'Lazie' Lynch—who escaped prison, then taunted the cops on Facebook—has been caught. We will miss him, the man who looked the social-media panopticon in the eye, then raised his middle finger.
Lazie's story first grabbed headlines during the rotten honeymoon phase of Facebook's privacy rollback, an event that laid bare an uncomfortable vulnerability to the corporate whims and decisions of our social media overlords. Big Brother is a little bit of them, but mostly us, social media users perpetually broadcasting our whereabouts and activities—and those of everyone else around us. It's woven into the fabric of our social lives. If you have something to hide or something to lose, it can be scary.
Craig 'Lazie' Lynch had his freedom to lose—but nonetheless made himself a cheeky farce of the fear that a loved one or authority figure will some day catch us red-handed if we let our guard down on Facebook, Twitter, Match.com, or wherever else we convene and swap pics. But Lazie also demonstrated how feeble this threat can be: Even with the forces of Facebook HQ and the social media panopticon on their side, Lazie's buffoonishly incompetent hunters let him run free for almost four months.
When writers like Ryan Tate decried Facebook's privacy changes, some asked, If you don't like Facebook, then why use it? Losing a service we frequent is irksome enough (see: Scrabulous' demise) and leaving entirely or being banned— though not unfathomable—would be pretty crappy and you'd miss out on parties and your cousin's new baby pictures and stuff. So, though the Zuckerberg empire was certainly right to cooperate with law enforcement's apparent request to remove Lazie's profile and fan pages, Lazie's subsequent dodges and obsessive honing of duplicate and pseudonymous profiles felt like an underdog victory. He was thumbing his nose at two versions of 'the man': Law enforcement's hard power, and social media's rulers' soft power.