Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Joshua Armstrong

The Seeker Philosophy

Book cover: The Seekers, by Joshua Armstrong and Anthony Bruno
Book cover: The Seekers,
by Joshua Armstrong and
Anthony Bruno

In his autobiography, The Seekers: A Bounty Hunter's Story, Joshua Armstrong states his philosophy concisely: "If you treat a man like a man, he will respond in a manly way. If you treat him like a beast, he will respond like a beast... You get what you give." When the Seekers are searching for a fugitive, their intention is to capture not to punish him. That's the job of the judge and jury, not the bounty hunter.

But the Seekers never go easy on a fugitive because they feel that he is the victim of circumstance or an abnormal personality who should be removed from society to protect the rest of us. "Except for the truly insane," says Armstrong, "criminals are people who have been thrust into a reality that they don't understand, and this lack of understanding has kept them from becoming responsible members of society; that is, men." By Armstrong's definition, a man is someone who has evolved to a state where he can receive wisdom. The word transcends gender, though he does acknowledge that the vast majority of criminals are male.

The key principals of the Seeker philosophy are represented in their insigniaa caduceus inside a triangle and a circle. The circle signifies completion, be it the completion of their missions or the goal of becoming complete stellar men. The triangle represents the pyramid, and its three planes correspond to the mental, physical, and spiritual realms. They also stand for knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. The two snakes of the caduceus are entwined around the staff of life, representing the head and the heart, intellect and compassion. The wings represent self-mastery. Each of the Seekers wears this insignia proudly as a constant reminder.

Armstrong wants each of the Seekers to be a shining example to the community so that others may follow their path and evolve into stellar men. The subtitle of his bookFinding Felons, Guiding Mencaptures the seemingly contradictory nature of his rules for living. By practicing what is often the dirtiest of professions with honesty and high moral standards, the Seekers by example try to prevent others from ever becoming the targets of bounty hunters.

Whenever the Seekers enter a home to apprehend a fugitive and they know that children or young adults also live at that residence, they will always leave a copy of the anonymously written seventeenth-century prayer, "Desiderata." It says in part:

You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt all things unfold as they should...

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.

Be careful.

Strive to be happy.

Armstrong does not want the young relatives of fugitives to be infected with feelings of hopelessness and despair because a loved one has been captured and returned to jail. The message Armstrong wants to convey to these young people is that negativity enters everyone's life at one time or another, but that's no reason to make you negative.

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