Dear Chelsea Manning, if you are somehow reading this, I want you to know that you changed my life (for the better). I am not exaggerating, but I will get to that in a moment.
I was shocked and saddened to see this callous headline in a local “news”paper this morning Transgender traitor Chelsea Manning denied entry to Canada. I’m sure you are unfortunately well aware of such biased and inflammatory journalism, but it took me back. How could a human being write such crass rhetoric, and attempt to back it up with erroneous reporting? How could imaginary lines on a map prevent a peaceful person from visiting other peaceful people? Why do so many other people still conflate the ideas of legality and morality? What can I do to help counter these points?
So back to my opening statement, yes, you did in fact change my life. And my wife’s life, and so many whom I have come into contact with since, and of course so many others’ lives. You see, back when you were trying to figure out how to notify the world about the atrocities you were seeing as part of your intelligence analysis work in Iraq, I was living the Standard American Dream (SAD). I was a lead systems engineer on the Apache Helicopter, helping to create airborne weapons systems that were “protecting our freedom.” We were creating awesome machines, from an engineering perspective. I had my house and my debt, and I viewed myself as a patriot.
Then one day I heard rumblings within the cubicle walls about a video that was released on a site called Wikileaks, with the title “Collateral Murder.” The word at the water cooler was that we were being asked to not look at the video. Naturally, due to the Streisand Effect, the first thing I did was to go watch the video. What I saw impacted me so deeply that it changed me forever and altered the course of my life.
As I watched from the perspective of the Apache Copilot/Gunner (CPG), the 30mm rounds were leaving the Apache’s chain gun and raining down upon peaceful journalists and civilians, causing incomprehensible destruction. I felt as if it was my finger on the trigger, and I could not let go. The bullets continued to rain down, and I did my best to keep my outward cries from notifying my cubicle neighbors. Then, when the van pulled up to take the victims to the hospital, I felt my finger on the trigger again as the CPG performed a double tap, and took them out as well. As I saw the U.S. soldiers removing the lifeless bodies of two children from the van and run them off to a hospital, I saw in them the bodies of my own children, and I couldn’t take it anymore.
I don’t want to make this letter all about me, but I wanted to say that your bravery and sacrifice in blowing the whistle on this and other events set me down a path of introspection and life change. You can hear me speaking about it here. I am happy to say that I left the military-industrial complex, and I now only work on projects which add value to people’s lives. Thank you, Chelsea.
I am very sorry to hear that you are not able to vacation in Canada due to your apparently permanent blacklisting by the U.S. government and its partners. As an alternative, my wife and I would love to have you visit us here on the Freecoast of New Hampshire. Within a short drive, we can show you amazing ocean beaches, crystal clear mountain lakes, world-renowned leaf peeping, a vibrant night life, and (in my opinion) the most amazing liberty community on the planet. No big hoopla, no pressure, just a way to meet some really cool people and see an amazing place. My family will personally pay for 3 nights of your hotel stay if you decide to make a visit. This offer has no expiration (although winter will provide a different type of beauty than the fall). If you are interested, please drop me an encrypted email.
p.s. For anyone reading this who is not Chelsea, please let me know if you have a verifiable way of sending her this message. Spontaneous order and network effects can be a powerful thing.
*Photo credit, The New York Times Magazine.
This post contains my personal views. I do not claim to speak for any other individual or organization. Although I suspect many would be in agreement.