The military may call something like this “collateral damage.” A lawyer may refer to what happened to me as “incidental consequences.”
Whichever way you look at it, I could not have foreseen what would happen with the book I wrote on Vietnam ending up where it is ending up today.
While walking in Conshohocken, I met a fellow by the name of Tom, a veteran who served in the military and was discharged in 1961.
We had spoken when I saw his camouflage “boonie hat” and exchanged courtesies. He then surprised me by purchasing a cup of coffee for me at a restaurant he frequented. When I found out about the gesture, I decided to give him a gift in return. I marched to the place and spoke to the owner and requested she give Tom an autographed copy of my book, “Vietnam war Recall, the best and worst days of my life.“
Unbeknownst to me, Tom had purchased seven of the books on amazon.com after I had left the book for his perusal. He had eventually read it and wanted to share them with other people.
He approached me several days later and told me about the purchases. In addition, he told me that he wanted me to sign three of the books so that he could send them to three people at three different organizations.
(I should have suspected something wasn’t right. As we spoke, he stood outside a Catholic Church that was holding a meeting for anti-abortion rights advocates. Tom greeted several of them as they entered the church.)
I signed the books and learned that the first was to be sent to none other than Sean Hannity of Fox News. The other two were earmarked for persons working at OAN and at Newsmax. All three are known to be far-right opinion providers. None were part of a reading audience I had ever envisioned.
Who would’ve thought that a card-carrying liberal like me would be sending books like the one I wrote – not to glorify war but to point out the trauma inflicted by war – to such organizations? You just never know in life.
“Collateral damage” and “Incidental consequences” can occur without any thought or effort by you or me!