The reports about the capture of Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic inevitably bring to mind Edgar Allen Poe's short story The Purloined Letter.
In the short story, a compromising epistle is hidden in a room. Everybody knows it's there but nobody can find it. Why? Because rather than squirreling the letter away in a secret hiding place, the bad guy placed it in a prominent position. (It reminds me of the time in 2003 when I looked everywhere for my spectacles but didn't find them until somebody pointed out that they were in my right hand. Good thing. Otherwise I'd probably still be hunting.)
Karadzic, a contemporary bad guy of the first order, used the same approach in avoiding the Serbian police for ten years. He let his hair and beard grow out white and added a pair of dorky glasses. Then he set himself up, successfully, in plain sight and with Web site, as a spiritual leader and healer. It's hard to understand how the man who led the slaughter of 8000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica could get away with the charade. I guess he never went to a Target store; in the U. S., they and other major retailers use facial recognition software. And I guess the people he was "healing" never got around to asking about his hometownand therefore never played the know-someone-who-knows-someone-who-knows-your-cousin's-friend's-cat game.
As Poe demonstrated in 1844, sometimes you just can't see what's right in front of your face.