"CARRIE JOHNSTONE KILLED IN ACTION" was written in large, bold letters on the front page of the Bay Guardian. In smaller text below it read, "Whistleblower of DHS kidnappings shot in Iraq". I'd be lying if I said a smile didn't crack my face the moment I read those words, but no matter what problem arises, death is never a good solution.
Well, at least one that leaves both parties satisfied.
The newsstand I was situated at had a clear view of the new Bay Bridge, which had only been approved for construction a good 2 years after the terrorist attack that devastated San Francisco, and turned the old bridge into a pile of metal and sorrow. It symbolized the transition into a new age, where the Department of Homeland Security was given every right to spy on whatever weird crap was going on in your computers and used the ol’ “catching terrorists and maintaining your safety” excuse to justify their actions. In hindsight, I wouldn’t have been so pissed off about it if I hadn’t been kidnapped and held in a prison by those same people. Wrong place, wrong time was what I kept telling myself, but the blame was to be placed on whoever was involved in it, including Carrie Johnstone. Somehow, keeping a bunch of random innocents in prison and interrogating them for the passwords to their phones and electronic devices was how the DHS decided to investigate the attacks. In the end, it turned against them, but for a year, many of the death tolls in the attack were being held on Treasure Island, their families expecting them to be at the bottom of a river, dead. I was only in there for a few days, but it changed my life. They threatened me if I ever told anyone, and I lived in paranoia knowing that one word I say about it that gets to their ears, means living the rest of my days in a jail cell, just a few miles away from my home. I’m glad it didn’t turn out that way, thanks to Barbara Stratford, but I still think about it every now and then.
I had been out with Darryl and Van since this morning. We didn’t hang out all that much during school, so as soon as summer started we’ve been trying to see each other as much as possible. We decided to just take a drive around town in Darryl’s ride since it was such a nice day, but of course I needed my daily dose of caffeine, so we stopped near the Turkish coffee shop. They already had some drinks before we met up, so I went by myself to get my brew. I got some greetings from strangers along the way, and the owner of the shop high fived me. I had become some sort of celebrity in San Francisco, and even though this kind of stuff had been happening for months now, I wasn’t used to it. I walked out and was turning to go back to the car when I noticed some people circling around a newsstand nearby. I walked over in curiousity, and got a look at the headlines of the Guardian. My jaw dropped, just like the people around me.
I stood there for a few moments, staring at the headlines and learning that one of the very people who...