Some people I knew as a child, teenager or young adult went on to become famous. Three people I knew a bit played in the NHL, I knew two future cabinet ministers, and one concert pianist. Some other people while less famous have had successful and practical lives.
But I also knew a terrorist.
His name was Brent Taylor and he was a member of the Squamish Five. You can read the links.
I'm not saying Brent and I were good buds. He probably didn't even know I existed. He was a year ahead of me in school. I first learned of him in Grade 8 when I started Junior High. He was in Grade 9. He was a good athlete, was on most of the school's sports teams and was on the students council. I think he held the provincial triple jump record in his age class at one time. I believe I played at least one rugby game with him. Our rugby team was pretty desperate and he was a good athlete.
By the time I got to High School in Grade 11, he was in Grade 12. His hair was now much longer than it had been before and he had grown a beard. I would have said he looked like Jerry Garcia but I didn't know who Jerry Garcia was then.
He went on, I went on and I had completely forgotten him until I heard of the arrest, subsequent trial and conviction.
Why is all this significant.
In Canada because of the "war on terror", a number of innocent (or not yet proved guilty) Canadians have been held without trial, sent to third world countries like Syria to be tortured or have not been allowed to come home. While there are varying levels of suspicion, from the accounts I read in the paper, the compelling reason for treating these poor individuals as they were or are being treated is that, they knew, were seen talking to, or were related to someone who actually had some connection to terrorists.
I have this recurring thought; Brent Taylor is being roughly interrogated and asked about who his accomplices are. He names the biggest nerd he can remember from school, me. And I am off to Syria.
As a postscript there was another student who went to the same school, a little younger also named Brent Taylor. I bet every time he tries to enter the US he curses his namesake.