I’ve recently been the victim of online hacking. Somehow, someone managed to get access to all of my bank accounts and has been using information from my debit and credit cards to make purchases… over $8,000 in purchases from over 5 different accounts, to be more precise, including all of my American accounts and a brand new Australian account. I still have all of these bank cards in my possession. They haven’t even left my safe in my hotel room, so it’s safe to assume that the information was stolen from my computer via the wifi network, or via a silent malicious computer virus sent by an unknown attacker.
To this unknown person, I would like to say the following:
In the words of Disney’s magical musical Beauty and the Beast: “If you think that what you’ve done is right… you’re a fool. Think again.”
I don’t know why you think it’s okay to steal money that isn’t yours. Money that someone else has clearly worked hard for, and saved. Money that is allowing someone else to survive: to buy food, pay rent, pay for medicine, keep the lights on, and the computer running. Money that could be needed for an emergency, for themselves or a parent, a child, or a pet.
I don’t know why it’s so hard for you to imagine someone else’s life, and that awful moment when they realize that their freedom has been stolen from them. Because that’s what money provides for most people: Freedom. Freedom to choose how they live— instead of being forced to live on the street. Freedom to choose how they work— instead of being forced to spend their days in horrific conditions or giving up their souls or their pride to earn a dollar. Yet even at such a low-point, they would choose to Earn.
What have you earned? How exactly have you earned the life that my money is paying for? What have you done to earn those fancy hotel stays, and prepaid mobile phones, the dozens of taxi rides, the $200 food deliveries, the sex toys you bought at that adult superstore in Newtown? What have you done in your life to earn any of the fun times that you’re experiencing on my dime?
I hope that you are enjoying your life. Because your fleeting experiences of luxury that I am paying for with my money (ie- my time, and energy, and talents, and skill— including all of the years of training that I grew from, and the hundred thousand dollars that my parents saved through their hard work to help put me through a specialized university)— all of THAT wasn’t intentionally gift-wrapped for YOU.
Maybe you didn’t have the means to study at a university, or parents who saved their money to support your education. Maybe you didn’t think you could be somebody who has a life of your own. But I would venture a guess that you used to have a childhood dream. To be a doctor or a teacher or a wrestler. To be someone. And I would also assume that you used to be kind, since most young children are empathetic and compassionate beings.
Somewhere along the way, you changed. You hardened yourself against the world and against other people. You chose to intentionally block out the consequences of your actions. And although you are having fun right now, you are subconsciously living with the knowledge that you have completely screwed up someone else’s life in the process. But doing it over and over has probably made it easier for you to brush off. You see me as a series of numbers on a bank card. You see me as an opportunity to get ahead.
But I don’t think you realize that You are the virus. Who you choose to be in the world has infected the hearts of every person you inflict. Your actions cut deep into the subconscious of each victim, making them question their trust in humanity itself. Making them doubt their faith that if they work hard, they can support themselves and their family. YOU are turning the world into the ruthless, unjust mess that you perceive; which triggered your self-serving criminal activity in the first place. We all create the world that we choose to see, because HOW we view the world sparks our response to it. You are succeeding in creating the world that you battle—with every person whose computer you hack into, and every person’s heart that hurts in the process. You are literally turning people against each other, and causing good-hearted people to be distrustful of everyone, since you are a shadow lurking in some unknown corner behind a dimly lit screen.
I doubt you will read this letter. But if you do, may it shed some light on how your victims are coping. And may it spread some light into the dark hardened space that lives inside of you. You matter. And your actions matter. Because you create the world. We all do.