Thursday, March 15, 2007

Catching Up on The New Yorker's Mark Singer

AltTulsa posted a report a few days ago about former Tulsan Mark Singer, a long-time staff writer for The New Yorker. His most recent magazine piece, as we reported, told the amazing and unlikely story of three Mexican fisherman who survived months at sea when their small boat was disabled (see March 2 posting below).

Singer's article inspired us to seek out more of Singer's recent New Yorker work. We quickly found another amazing story, this one with an Oklahoma connection. Last fall—October 6, to be precise—Singer reported on one Richard McNair, formerly of Duncan, and now a wanted man. McNair's claim to fame is breaking out of prison, which he's done several times over the past two decades, most recently from the U.S. Penitentiary in Pollock, Louisiana.

One of McNair's most useful skills, Singer reports, is charm. The man is affable. People like him, even some of the people who are supposed to be keeping him in jail. He's also clever and manipulative. And he's still on the run, Singer writes. As of last October, U.S. authorities had tracked him to western Canada, where the trail went cold.

Singer went looking for NcNair too, in Duncan and Oklahoma City, where McNair once sold cars. McNair's family, Singer writes, didn't want to talk. After all, they said, McNair left town about 25 years ago. Why stir the pot?

Yet McNair is a dangerous man, having been convicted for murder in North Dakota. In Singer's story, McNair's no choir boy, but he is an interesting outlaw.