This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
If I were accused espionage guy Ed Snowden, I would immediately surrender to authorities and throw myself at the mercy of a federal court.
I say this because if I had to do time, I'd probably be happier doing it in a federal prison than living in Cuba or Honduras. Snowden is running out of options.
Also, he's been stuck in an airport for the past few weeks. Anyone who has ever flown anywhere can tell you time spent waiting in one of those is the sum of Dante's Inferno. Give yourself up, Ed. We promise not to shoot you.
However, if you decide to run, keep in mind that some of the "courageous" countries offering you asylum would almost certainly shoot you if you pull that whistle-blower #&%@ on them.
Ever have a plan or an idea that sounded great upfront, but instead went horribly awry? I have. I once tried to become independent by joining the Army.
Granted, that isn't on a level with ratting out the government. This isn't about whether Snowden's actions were right or wrong, but rather about human irony. When it comes to what we want, we rarely think things all the way through.
Ed's plan started out well enough. In an interview with the Guardian newspaper, Ed said he knew what he was doing when he revealed what the U.S. government was up to on social media websites such as Facebook, My Space, Taliban Swingers, etc.
"I don't want to live in a world where everything that I say, everything I do, everyone I talk to, every expression of creativity, or love, or friendship is recorded," Ed told an interviewer from the Guardian.
That's great. Makes total sense. But Ed did the very thing that would guarantee him a world exactly like that for the rest of his entire life.
Today he's reduced to seeking asylum in countries that don't bother recording everything their citizens say, but instead focus on keeping them from saying it in the first place.
Forget expressions of love and creativity, Ed won't be able to use a restroom in Venezuela without that government AND the NSA doing their level best to monitor it.
Not only will this happen to Ed, it will also happen to whomever he develops a relationship with in the future. If he goes on the lam and meets a woman and starts a family, they'll get spied on as well. Hell, I wouldn't even want to live next door to him.
Maybe Snowden knew all this and decided to take one for Team Privacy. He's publicly admitted that the CIA might try to kill him. He rarely gets out anymore. He says he gave up a good job and a girlfriend for a life on the run in order to expose the government.
It's a fair question if you think Snowden is a hero and 58.7 percent of respondents in one survey say so. If you knew what he knew, would you trade everything you currently have family, job, friends, freedom for a life on the run in order to expose it?
It's easy to say that you would. That's the planning part. You might even make noble noises about the moral responsibility of doing it for the benefit of everyone else.
Follow through is a bit tougher. But if you're the average American who won't even stop talking on your cellphone while you drive for the good of everyone around you, it's rather doubtful that you're that altruistic.
One-hundred percent of people surveyed (just me for now) know that I'm not.
Robert Kirby can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or facebook.com/stillnotpatbagley