Return of the Jawa

The Jawa Thing occurred while I was occupied. Specifically, I was north of Kandahar as part of Task Force Moses--just a week or two after we came down off Suck Hill (home of the castle) and Corporal Edgin died--when my friend Jawa, known to some as Ron Arlt, posted the now infamous grand exit post on the blog that I was hosting for him.

There was a big to-do at the Chronicles of George forum where we had met. A lot of people were concerned. As with me, some of those people had met him, eaten in his company, talked with him. And by the time I came back in touch with technology, it was coming out that Ron wasn't Jawa at all--in fact, he wasn't anyone that we knew, but this other guy who lied compulsively to people and stole from people and swindled people.

It kind of sucked, because I spent a lot of that summer planning what I would tell him when I got back about the mortars and the RPGs and the machine gun rounds and the dust and the stupid. I was looking forward to that conversation, so it was really kind of a pisser that I came back online to find out that my friend and mentor Jawa had ceased to exist--had never been--and there was just some guy named Ron who was wanted in several jurisdictions for check fraud.

I took my time, went through old e-mails, and after a few weeks I put together "So Who is Teh Jawa?" (parts 1 and 2), and then I pretty much put it out of my mind. Unlike Jawa, I was involved in a non-imaginary actual war, and I couldn't simply drop my identity when it got a little too hot.

In the two and a half years since then, I've received e-mail from a handful of people--ex-girlfriends and other people who have encountered him or (more rarely) knew him growing up. The worst was from an Army widow that he'd tried to date, trading on his pretend experiences. I do cursory searches every once in a while to see if he's turning up elsewhere.

Most recently, another former Jawa blog site has been used as a sort of clearinghouse for the rumors and the stories that he told. Lately, he runs under the name Jake Hunter, or Tanner "Jake" Scott, or other various combinations thereof. The friend of one of his scam victims runs the site now, and has been trying to spread the word and make sure his activities see the light of day.

I have mixed feelings, which haven't really changed in the last few years. I'm sad to see he's still running around telling variations on the same lies. I'm disappointed that he couldn't fake wearing the uniform better than this. And I still miss the guy that turned out not to exist. Just a little.

But mostly I'm just tired of it. I have actual war experience now. My real Army friends, SSG Smallville among them, are going to Afghanistan again soon, and I'm not going with them. I'm worried about actual American heroes doing a dangerous job while I am safe at home with my family, and I no longer have the energy, patience, or will to spend time on a wannabe.

If you're not familiar with his story, I recommend you read it. And then wash your hands of it.

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Comments

Addendum

El Gee over at his blog posts more frequently on Jawa-related topics. He is someone I have known online for quite a while, so I trust him as much as it is possible to trust someone you haven't met in person. Also, I'm quite certain he's NOT Jawa, and after reading posts on the Opiophile forum (where Jawa posted as DBoyJake) for a while, that's no small thing.

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Thanx for the plug. While

Thanx for the plug. While we have not met in person, having a son in the National Guard has helped me understand a soldier's mind a bit better, therefore I feel I know you some as well.

We have traded posts and e-mails (both you and your bride) and I have thoroughly enjoyed reading what you both write about.

I agree that this thing needs to be put to bed, however I also believe that the more people that know about him the better. He is a sick man and he needs help. Is is also quite talented in story telling and I pray he will get the help he needs and go legit. I don't think prison is the answer (and this is coming from a mostly conservative Christian!)

Take care, God Bless you and your family.