Deleted Scenes: Waiting For Snowden

…To die. Sorry, that headline should read “Waiting For Snowden To Die.” I guess there wasn’t room to finish it in the header.

Because, call me crazy, but doesn’t it seem like ever since NSA-contracted employee Edward Snowden leaked the goods on the government spying on everybody’s everything all the time, the entire country, media, Twitter, whatever, has just been waiting for the dude to show up dead? And, call me crazy again, but am I wrong for thinking that’s totally fucked?

Snowden, 30, let the info out on June 5 and on June 14, the U.S. government brought up charges against him for making the Prism surveillance program public. So it goes for whistleblowers throughout history—they are thoroughly and royally screwed at a near-universal rate—but Snowden was already out of the country in Hong Kong at the time. With all that spying, you’d think the government would’ve known the leak was coming and grabbed him before he left, but hey, these people can’t even pass background checks for gun purchases, so maybe paranoid estimations of the state spying on the populace to enact a totalitarian regime are a stretch.

Anyway, the pasty leaker had split out to Hong Kong, where he YouTubed a clip in his own defense—the usual whistleblower megalomaniacal “I’m making a difference” crap; see also Julian Assange; as-frickin’-if any of them could ever change anything on a substantive level—and said he was going to try to find asylum. At press time, Snowden was said to be trying to do so in Ecuador—again, see also Julian Assange—but here’s the thing: He didn’t catch his flight.

Last word was he was in Russia, but even that was sketchy, and when it comes to people being disappeared by governmental forces, Russia aren’t exactly unfamiliar with the process. Already Secretary Of State John Kerry has come out and said, “Gosh, we sure hope he doesn’t get asylum in Ecuador,” but what really strikes me is the level of delight in the media sphere that people seem to be taking in the fact that this guy’s life is in danger.

Edward Snowden isn’t the bad guy here. Why should we be waiting for him to show up dead, and doesn’t it say something about who we are as a people and where we’re at as a country that we should even expect him to? But we do, don’t we? Since the beginning of June, we’ve all been watching the Snowden Show, hoping sooner or later he’ll “hang himself” or some such shifty nonsense. What the hell is wrong with us?

And more to the point, why should we be sitting glued to the updates instead of taking whatever action is necessary to correct a system that might lead us to the expectation that someone who speaks out against the government in a country that bills itself as the “Home of both The Whopper and Free Speech” is going to lose his life for doing so? Isn’t that the principle we hold most dear as a people? Where did this idea that he’s going to die come from?

We live in an era of flying death robots. Of media saturation. Of such hyperstimulation that if you’re actually willing to take the time and construct a full sentence in a spoken conversation, you’re already late for something. I’m not saying that the cultural progression at the root of all this is anything new—people have been interested in watching other people die since we were single cells eating each other in the primordial ooze—but for a society that considers itself so fucking advanced on so many levels, shouldn’t we take an opportunity just this once to even come close to practicing what we’ve preached for the better part of the last 250 years?

Yeah, probably not. Ecuador’s not saying if Snowden is there, in Russia, or in a hole somewhere. I guess we’ll see if he surfaces and the show continues or if we’ve reached the thrilling conclusion.

JJ Koczan