"The difference between a criminal and an outlaw is that while criminals frequently are victims, outlaws never are. Indeed, the first step toward becoming a true outlaw is the refusal to be victimized. All people who live subject to other people's laws are victims. People who break laws out of greed, frustration, or vengeance are victims. People who overturn laws in order to replace them with their own laws are victims. (I am speaking here of revolutionaries.) We outlaws, however, live beyond the law. We don't merely live beyond the letter of the law-many businessmen, most politicians, and all cops do that-we live beyond the spirit of the law. In a sense, then, we live beyond society. Have we a common goal, that goal is to turn the tables on the 'nature' of society. When we succeed, we raise the exhilaration content of the universe. We even raise it a little bit when we fail."
― Tom Robbins, Still Life with Woodpecker
"It's these times were were get to actually see that we are, in fact, the best we can be. These are the times where we find out if we are the people we think we are. This is where people with the Outlaw spirit stand tall. We are the people that others look to for guidance. When everything and everyone around us seems to be falling apart, we're not. We're not because we know, we got this. Every one of you has the Outlaw spirit. Even thought it may not feel like it right now, every one of you is the best." - Eddie, Outlaw & customer
When people ask about our name and if we're perhaps concerned about the association with criminal behavior, I return to these two quotes.
To me, "outlaw" has always just been someone who lives outside the law, driven by their own motives, and held to their own standards. The origin of the word "Outlaw" comes from people who were no longer under protection of the law, either by decree or by choice. They didn't want to live by the law, and they didn't want the protection of the law. They did their own thing.
Over the years, I have reflected on the deeper meaning and implications of being an Outlaw (as one is likely to do when operating under the name for the better part of a decade). Based on my own philosophies, Russ's philosophies, and what I've observed in our customers, Outlaws have a very strong internal code of conduct. We don't need laws to govern our behavior, because in general, we act in ways aligned with our internal code of conduct.
For example, you don't have to tell an Outlaw (our kind of Outlaw, I mean) not to litter, because we're not going to litter. We don't want to make our immediate or general environment look like crap, so we don't litter.
If we see someone in trouble, we don't go looking around for the nearest official, we go over and help the person. And if it's illegal to go help someone, we're probably going to ignore that law. (remind me to tell you about the time I stopped a kidnapping)
Maybe this isn't what Outlaw means to everyone, but it's what Outlaw means to me.
And in times of division and crisis [looking around, noting division and crisis], Eddie's right: This is when Outlaws are at our best. We actually get to flex our self-sufficiency and human decency muscles. The rest of the time, these are philosophies we believe in, but now, we can practice our values for real.
I started an Instagram account to capture the many wild animals who stop by our water troughs, because it brings me so much joy. If you'd like to see it, here it is: https://www.instagram.com/awildstorey/
(this isn't a promotion, it's just me inviting you to join in the enjoyment of my side hobby)
I keep my politics to myself. We have a diverse group of employees, friends, customers, and vendors, and I appreciate that everyone is active in being the change they want to see in the world.
But here, as Outlaws, we just show up as decent human beings, and I appreciate that. Thank you for being so Outlaw.