Rob Hayes Is In Jail, And Would Like To Hear From People


(Honestly, I would rather have illustrated this post with this cartoon. But it looks like that cartoonist hates having his cartoons reproduced, so…)

Several “Alas” folks have asked me if my old college friend and frequent “Alas” comment-writer Rob Hayes is all right.

I’m sorry to say, Rob’s in bad shape. He’s had ongoing problems with money (or, more precisely, with lack of money) and with drug addiction, and in May was arrested for bank robbery.

Yes, you read that correctly. It took me a while to believe it, too. (Insert joke about the free market not being that free here.) It’s worth noting, if you missed it when you read that article, that this wasn’t armed robbery; no weapon was involved.

Rob will be in the system for a while – if all goes well for him, I’m told he could be out in a year – and I hope will get the help he needs. Meanwhile, I’ve been in touch with a friend of Rob’s, and she thinks it would help Rob a lot if people would write him. I know that Rob is fond of the “Alas” community, and I’m sure he’d enjoy hearing from us.

So please use the comments here to post well-wishes or comments to Rob, or even to find some old comment of his you disagree with and give him a counter-argument (If I were Rob, I’d love a good argument.) Short comments are welcome, too. I will print out the comments and mail them to Rob, and I’ll also post any responses I receive from Rob.

Please keep in mind that the usual civility rules of “Alas” remain in effect!

This entry posted in Bob Behind Bars, Prisons and Justice and Police. Bookmark the permalink. 

20 Responses to Rob Hayes Is In Jail, And Would Like To Hear From People

  1. 1
    neverjaunty says:

    Oh hell. I was just assuming Rob was dealing with custody/family issues and didn’t have time to post. I’m so sorry to hear about his situation.

  2. 2
    Jake Squid says:

    Wow. That’s horrible. I can’t begin to imagine the desperation and/or state of mind that led to this. I hope Rob makes it through okay and comes out the other side healthier and happier.

  3. 3
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    It’s worth noting, if you missed it when you read that article, that this wasn’t armed robbery; no weapon was involved.

    The presence of a weapon–or a threat–is assumed by the teller, whether or not someone actually has a weapon. Just sayin’.

  4. 4
    Brian says:

    I doubt he remembers me, I only dimly remember him from meeting him in the 1980s. But please pass along my best wishes, and if I can help him as a professional, I will do so. I never argue politics or verbally spar when doing the job, and he has my full empathy.

    Meant directly for Rob;
    As I tell my clients, the past doesn’t determine the future, it can’t be undone but it’s a great place to learn from. Clearing up the wreckage and rebuilding is possible in time if you put in the work. Beating yourself up for mistakes is human nature but once you do the bare minimum of that, look at it all objectively as possible, squeeze out every possible lesson, and move on.

    I spend a lot of time discussing beliefs with people, when I’m on the clock and off. This is because it isn’t the facts of life that get us in trouble usually. It’s our beliefs about the facts. I steal a lot from the Greek Stoics, the Enchiridion of Epictetus especially. When someone gets in a jam, I suggest they look at the facts, and see if their beliefs about the facts helped them or hurt them along their path. You can’t change Life, but you’re in total control of how you FEEL about it. As Albert Ellis said, “No one can MAKE you feel anything unless they use a baseball bat.”

    I finish with the words of someone a lot smarter than I am.

    “Men are disturbed, not by things, but by the principles and notions which they form concerning things. Death, for instance, is not terrible, else it would have appeared so to Socrates. But the terror consists in our notion of death that it is terrible. When therefore we are hindered, or disturbed, or grieved, let us never attribute it to others, but to ourselves; that is, to our own principles. An uninstructed person will lay the fault of his own bad condition upon others. Someone just starting instruction will lay the fault on himself. Some who is perfectly instructed will place blame neither on others nor on himself. ”

    Best of luck going forward.

  5. 5
    Elusis says:

    Wait, is this our regular poster “Robert”? The handsome one?

    It’s sounded like things weren’t going so well for him. I’m sorry to hear they took such a difficult turn for the worse, and I hope this is the start of something eventually better for him.

  6. 6
    Lee1 says:

    Holy crap – is Rob Hayes really “Robert,” the former regular here? His name was one I always looked forward to seeing in the comments when I was lurking here, and I wondered why he seemed to suddenly disappear. My best wishes to you, Rob/Robert – I can’t imagine what things are like for you now, but I hope you do get the help you need and things improve for you soon.

  7. 7
    Ledasmom says:

    Aw, crap. I’m sorry to hear about his troubles. Best wishes and thoughts, Rob.

  8. 8
    Ampersand says:

    Holy crap – is Rob Hayes really “Robert,” the former regular here? His name was one I always looked forward to seeing in the comments

    Yes, he is, and I looked forward to it, too. :-)

  9. 9
    ballgame says:

    Wait, Robert Hayes is … this Robert?!?


    Robert, I don’t know what constellation of circumstances drove you to do what you did, but I’m very sorry to hear about the turn your life has taken, and I hope you can recover from it. I enjoyed seeing your comments here at Alas, even though I not-infrequently disagreed with them … they were almost invariably thoughtful and interesting.

    I’m resisting the urge to append any number of ironic observations about your situation, given the tenor of some of our discussions in the past, because I don’t know what’s appropriate for you in your current situation. I do hope that Amp will be able to include the cartoon he used for this post when he sends along these comments.

  10. 10
    Ben Lehman says:

    Hi Robert:

    I thought you would enjoy knowing I am still ticked off about some of your comments.


    P.S. Good luck dealing with this shit.

  11. 11
    nm says:

    Rob Hayes is Robert?

    Robert, I was just thinking of you a couple of weeks ago — something about a (joking) argument on this blog about avatars. I don’t remember the details, except that neither of us actually used one, but it was one of those conversations so silly that thinking about it still made me smile. I hope you find some things to smile about yourself.

  12. 12
    Jake Squid says:

    It’s all about personal responsibility. You chose the wrong flavor pop tart and now look where you are.

    May the thoughts of pop tarts, correctly chosen, help you through these hard times.

    Pop Tarts.

  13. 13
    rimonim says:

    Robert, I have followed your comments with interest for many years. I appreciate your thoughtfulness, sincerity and good-natured sarcasm. I hope I will find myself chuckling and disagreeing with you again soon.

    I hope the present circumstances will become a catalyst for healing and change. There is nothing, and I do mean nothing, so bad that it cannot be transmuted into good. Best wishes.

  14. Robert,

    I have missed your comments here, though I have not been that active as a commenter myself in the recent past. You made me think and, as importantly, you made me smile and laugh. There was always a fundamental commitment to honesty and decency in what you had to say, a part of yourself from which I hope you are able to draw strength as you deal with the trouble you are in and how troubled you have obviously been. I wish you the best and look forward to seeing your words here at some point in the (I hope) near future.

  15. 15
    Grace Annam says:


    I don’t know what to say. It feels like anything I could say would be inadequate, but I know from personal experience that when I’m in a hole I like to hear from sympathy from people, and not a token, but with some real thought.

    So: clearly I can’t condone what you did, and I’m very sorry to hear that you got to a place where it seemed like your best option. That really sucks.

    I think that Brian has given some really sound advice, and I hope that it helps.

    I want you to know that, although you sometimes drive me crazy in discussion, I almost always look forward to your posts. Even though we frequently disagree, I think that your thoughts are generally interesting and motivated by goodwill, which makes it enjoyable to converse with you.

    In particular, I want to thank you for something which, at the time, I was too angry to thank you for. You said something truly assholish, and I called you on it, and you did something which we rarely get, on this Internet: you gave a sincere and heartfelt apology:

    Thank you for that, and also, though I would not ask you to do it deliberately, for creating the situation which enabled me to get appropriately angry on behalf of a fellow trans woman; it was an important step for me to be able to name and express that anger. I almost always bottle my anger up (which is obviously essential in my professional life, for the sake of others, including all I’m sworn to protect). So an appropriate venue for expressing some of it was a valuable experience.

    I hope that when you have regular access to a computer that you’ll come back to Alas and we’ll be able to discuss things again.


  16. 16
    KellyK says:

    Robert, like Grace, I’m not sure what to say and don’t feel like anything I could say would be adequate, but I’ll give it my best shot. I’m really sorry that things have gone so badly for you, and I hope they get better. (I’m not making any assumptions of guilt or innocence on the whole bank robbery thing, but either things got so desperate that you robbed a bank, or you’re in jail for something you didn’t do, both of which are very shitty places to be.)

    I’ve really appreciated your snarky sense of humor and the way your comments make me think. I hope when you do have internet access again, you can come back to Alas and let us know how you’re doing.

  17. 17
    closetpuritan says:

    Wow, I just assumed he was taking a break from commenting.

    Robert, I have sincerely missed seeing your comments here. I hope that you are able to recover from this and get to a better place in life.

  18. 18
    Brandon Berg says:

    Jesus, Bob! You’ve spent way too much time hanging out with lefties. Did you even read the new edition of the libertarian bylaws? It’s right there on page 37:

    If you need money for drugs, don’t rob a bank. Our corporate sponsors hate that. Instead, rob the government. They owe you for the taxes you paid, and anyway they were probably just going to spend it on illegal wiretaps, bridges to nowhere, and SWAT teams for no-knock raids on old ladies’ houses. Or health care for kids. To-MAY-to to-MAH-to.

  19. 19
    Ampersand says:

    Okay, I’m thinking it’s time to print this out and mail it to Robert.

    So I’ll end this with a note from me: Good luck, Robert. I hope you’re able to get yourself into a better spot in life, and that years from now you can look back on this experience and think it was helpful, or if not helpful survivable, or at least source material for what turns out to be a best-selling satiric novel. (Do you remember “The Color of Light,” the William Goldman novel set partly in Oberlin?)

    Take good care of yourself! You’ll be welcome to return to “Alas” whenever you’re able and want to.

  20. 20
    Ms. Brock, AIS# 283526 says:

    I am about to get out of prison for pretty much the same thing…Is tumbled upon this while Googling cartoons about the Bank of America settlement and am amazed that there are people who may feel this way but I’m not reccomeding this course of action:-) …I live through it at the 7th worst prison in the US –Tutwiler women’s Prison in Alabama… saw some things ansintend to write about it…Google Tuwiler if you want to see something you shouldn’t forget…please tell Robert to write me…c/o Sgt Howton, 69 Palmera Dr., Double Springs, AL. 35553…best…<