It was a Sunday afternoon. I had just finished everything on my todo list and was feeling fantastic. While I pondered what to do with the rest of my evening, and I got a private message. Excited at what that message might be, I eagerly went to check it.
It was from John, one of the co-hosts of the Polite Society podcast. I have never met him in person, but you pick up bits and pieces about them from the podcast, and so I have great respect for him (and all of the co-hosts for that matter). John and I have had some discussions both publicly on Facebook, and in PM’s, so getting a message from his was not unexpected.
The message was Photo_3047.svg. John had been talking about a rifle that was up for auction that styled like a ’57 Chevy. I know John is a rifle guy, and figured he bought something like that. Without hesitation, I clicked on the link, not even thinking. what is an .svg file? (Red Flag) A message popped up asking if I wanted to open the link in internet explorer (Red Flag). Sure, I clicked, wanting to see this picture. IE opens, and I see some .html address pop up in the address bar, and I immediately knew what happened. It wasn’t a photo at all, but a link to some malicious site. It appears my virus software protected me, maybe.
Furthermore, I had seen at least 2 Facebook posts from High School classmates with something about “If you get a picture from me, don’t click on it, it’s a virus, or I have been hacked.” You can’t get a virus from a picture and that is not what hacking means. But, I got so caught up being a Grammar Nazi, I completely missed the message that something was going on, on Facebook with pictures and malicious content (big freaking, glowing, waving, red flag)
OK, so, now I am upset with myself. I am a computer guy, and a self-defense guy. I don’t get fooled by these things. I just don’t. But, I just did. I am now seething with anger, not a John (I know this wasn’t something he did maliciously), but at myself. I felt safe on Facebook and let my guard down. I was in condition white. I would have never clicked on a link in an e-mail or a popup on the regular internet.
And, then I realized, this was a metaphor for life. I move though life in condition yellow, always aware of my surroundings. And, where I can legally, I always carry a gun, you know, just in case. The truth of the matter is, the more aware of your surroundings you are, the less likely you will ever need the gun, because you will see trouble developing in plenty of time, and you can simply avoid it. But, some people I talk to about concealed carry, I ask if they carry a gun every day. They reply, “No, only if I feel I need to.” They are in condition white, they feel safe, and so they don’t look for trouble.
But, that is what bit me. I know better. But, I felt safe, and I let my guard down.