Funny story. So, a few months ago, I’m scanning around on Facebook, trying to connect with various 3/2 veterans. Sending out friendship requests, sending chat messages. Gotta admit, I’m still a noob on FB, so sometimes I fumble around a bit. Anyway, as I start chatting with one guy, he starts getting squirrelly with me, really suspicious. He’s asking, how do I know who you say you are? And as I try to answer this (kinda hard if you think about it), suddenly a strange message pops up on my ‘timeline’. It says:
NICE TRY ISIS!!!
I’m baffled at first. It didn’t come from the guy I’m chatting with, but some other dude I’ve never heard of. I keep chatting (by now I’m in about 3 simultaneous chat sessions w different guys), and it slowly dawns on my that they’ve been chatting with each other, checking me out. One of their buddies was apparently getting hammered at a bar somewhere, and fired off that message from his cell phone.
Then the original guy kind of explains whats going on, and why they’re suspicious. We end up having about a 45-minute phone call that night, and I answer a bunch of his questions. He’s kind of ‘extreme vetting’ me. And I get it, there’s lots of weirdos and kooks on the interwebs, so I don’t mind. We actually had a pretty good talk, and he wants me to talk w another of his buddies. So next day I pretty much go through the ringer again with another guy.
Oh, and in the meantime, I erased the drunk guy’s post from my timeline… That didn’t seem like a good thing to leave up there…
- I need to be a bit more careful when I contact someone out of the blue, especially on Facebook. It’s kind of hard not to sound sketchy through a little chat window. I’ve actually scaled back on my Facebook ‘outreach’ efforts.
- I need to be prepared to answer some probing questions from these vets. I can’t blame them, really. I might be leery if someone I’d never heard of texted me late at night, asking about my deployments.
- Never under-estimate the speed and reach of social media. Literally within minutes, I had introduced myself to one guy, started chatting with several others in his unit, then got denounced as a terrorist. All between commercials.
But there’s also a lesson for you other 3/2 guys:
I backed off my efforts to contact that unit for quite a while. At the same time, other sources were being very open, sharing great info. For the next few months, I pushed my efforts in their direction, and then switched to yet another unit. I’m kind of fluid that way, I’ll follow the leads and sources that present themselves.
I still want to get back in contact with those guys that were ‘extreme vetting’ me that night, because they’ve got an important part of 3/2’s story. And I think that’ll happen soon. But, my telling their story will depend on the confidence they choose to place in me and their cooperation.
Anyway, gotta run. Time for morning prayers at the mosque… (that’s a joke, btw)