Why I put down the gun and picked up the pen

(TFC) – I was laying in bed and it was early morning. There was a knock at the door. “There’s the feds,” I said and rolled over to look out the window. There were a few local cop cars and the fed SUVs. I had known this was coming since the night before. I also knew they didn’t have a warrant for the location I was at. It didn’t really matter, though. I couldn’t stay inside forever. I walked out the door. “Officers, Agents.” I nodded with the most arrogant grin I could muster. I started counting badge types. There were a lot of agencies involved in this. “Want some coffee?” When they accepted the offer, I figured I had a shot. Maybe they didn’t really have anything? We sat on the porch, so they didn’t get access to the home and they tried to convince me to “help myself”, I tried to find out exactly what I was about to be hit with. By the time the pot of coffee was finished, we both knew we weren’t getting what we wanted. The agent told me he was placing me under arrest. In a small act of humanity, he moved me behind the SUV so my family wouldn’t see me cuffed. That was ten years ago today.

I waited in jail and met my attorney. Eventually, I was hit with a massive indictment with close to thirty counts for my alleged role in an international smuggling ring. We pleaded not guilty and took the case to trial. I sat in the courtroom and watched facts get twisted, lies be told, truth be proven a lie, and lies be proven true. I watched my alleged co-conspirators, some of whom I once considered friends, testify against me. The whole time, I sat and remained silent watching the wheels of justice crush out a narrative. I became a Zen master. What occurred around me was beyond my control. Every other witness presented a new prognosis. Was I doing 20 years? Walking out a free man? Who knew? By the end, I’m not sure I even cared. I had certain goals my attorney was aware of, and they had been met early on. At this point, if I fell on my sword, I fell. My attorney was able to get some charges thrown out, but by the end of the trial, a jury of twelve people who had been misled by the standard proceedings of a courtroom for a few days reached a verdict. I was found guilty on five or six counts, I honestly can’t remember and don’t care enough to look it up. In the federal system though, only the most severe charge matters, all other sentences would run concurrently. In this case, that was an Alien Smuggling charge.  Given the number of aliens we expected the government to claim were smuggled, I was looking at somewhere between 37 and 46 months. I said nothing at my sentencing. I simply stood at parade rest and waited. My attorney advised me to expect between 39 and 43 months because the judge had a habit of sentencing right in the middle of the guidelines. He was right. I was given 41 months. I was ok with this, almost relieved. I never cooperated and never took a deal.  With 15% off for good conduct and six months of halfway house I could expect to be out in as little as 29 months. It took a little longer than that, but never let it be said I can’t take a joke.

People always ask what prison is like. It’s like anything else. It’s whatever you make of it. Prison is an interesting place, nothing outside of it matters; past or present. It’s lonely. It’s a thinking man’s hell. It is depressing. Even in federal prison, which tends to attract a more intelligent clientele, it’s hard to find stimulating conversation. You’re alone with your thoughts. Me? I thought about what I was going to do over the next ten years. One of those things was getting involved in independent media and get to the point where I could bring new ideas to the forefront, maybe even make a difference.

Prior to prison, I was obviously anti-authoritarian and a radical, but I kept it hidden for the most part. After prison, I had no need to hide it. In many ways, the federal court system created the activist and journalist you know today. They forced me to take the time to analyze and create a plan. Before, I was an anarchist and I was a militant, but I tried to work within their system. This was especially true considering I was a military contractor and security consultant. I’m not going to address the conspiracy theories other than to say, no, I don’t work for an intelligence agency, but yes, that’s me in that photo taken around 2005. I’ll also say I wasn’t “at a meeting” with one of the most notorious US Intelligence officials in history, I was providing his security. You’re welcome. You should get some clicks off that statement.

People often point out that you don’t just wake up one morning and become implicated in an international alien smuggling operation. That’s true. I’ve got a backstory to my backstory. I’m not going to talk about every job I ever took or every company I ever worked for. My reasoning is simple: I said I wouldn’t. I’ve been to some dark places figuratively, literally, and in my own mind. I’ve got demons. I think most people do.

I also think many people let those past actions and demons define them and what they think they are capable of accomplishing.  They allow them to limit them when they could be the reason to get up in the morning. In the early 2000s, I never would have predicted I would even be alive today. I was leading a double life, my closest friends who weren’t in the game had no clue what I did. I think some of them thought I was drug dealer, which is funny because I don’t even take aspirin. Hell, I’m not even sure what some of my family believes is true or false. All of these things, and the things that are too dark for a Tuesday morning article, are what make me effective.

The person who convinced me to write this today did so by saying he didn’t much care for me, but he liked that I was consistent. That consistency comes from my past. Why am I so consistent in my opposition to ethnic cleansing? Because I’ve seen it. I know people whose entire family tree was wiped out.  Why do I refuse to let refugees become the scapegoat? Because I’ve been with them the first time they walked into a Walmart. It’s really hard to demonize someone who tears up because of the abundance of food. Why am I so adamant about the right of people to fight any government not of their choosing? Because I’ve seen what governments do. All over the world, you can see people doing unspeakable things, behaving as monsters. As a monster in recovery, I can tell you they only do them because some authority has told them it’s legal or it’s their duty. It’s almost never a person committing a great evil. It’s a tool of the ruling parties acting out a policy of the governing body. You can have peace with all people, but only if you have war with all governments. 

People do things for all sorts of reasons. It could be monetary, religious, a need to feed an addiction, maybe their ego. I’ve always found the most dedicated people are those who are motivated by their personal experiences. They’re often trying to right a wrong or make up for something. I know many fellow penitent foot soldiers of the empire. Their motivations are most often dark, and they’re most likely kept secret.

The other reason I agreed to write this today is as an explanation to our readers. I set out to accomplish a series of things ten years ago. The checklist is complete. I’m going to take some time to plan out the next ten years, so expect fewer articles for a week or so.