One of the people in the Bible I’ve always had a sneaking admiration of is Pilate. Yes, that Pilate, the Roman Governor who washed his hands of Jesus’s blood.
The reason I admire him is simple. He asked the most worthwhile question of all time. He asked, “What is truth?” As a Christian, I hope he realized one day that it was staring him in the face. But what Pilate was saying was much more profound. He knew that lies could become the truth. And that his truth might not be the truth of others.
Pilate probably lived by the advice of “Believe nothing you hear and only half of what you see.”
As I wait for Books Two and Three to cool a little, I’m hard at work on Book Four–On a Pale Horse, I’m finding myself in a journey of asking that question. To say Will and company are in it up to their eyeballs is being nice about it. But before I go to much into this, here’s something to try to help prove the point.
First, this involves a little conspiracy, and what you’re doing is ganging up on a person. It starts simply enough. Walk up to a friend, and ask if them if they’re feeling OK, and tell them they look under the weather. Of course they’re going to say they’re fine. But if enough people do this during the course of a day, come evening that person will feel sick. It’s this simple. If enough people say it, or it’s said over and over, even if it’s a bold faced lie, then it becomes truth.
In the information age, this happens easier. We say things, and then we back it up with just a little information that may or may not be correct, and bingo, you just launched a PSYOP war against somebody or something. A lie becomes the truth because we believe it to be true.
In the story, in an effort to silence a woman who knows too much, a convoy carrying her (the bad guys assume it’s her) to the county jail is attacked. When the smoke clears, Will and his team are hurt, but very much alive and still in the game. The same can’t be said for those who attacked them. In the course of the battle, there’s a terrible wreck that almost kills Will and RJ. But they take out most of the attackers in the process. The wreck leaves six dead, and four injured of the attacking force.
Will has begun to suspect there’s a lot more going on than they can see. But his suspicions aren’t fact. What he doesn’t know, is he’s on the right path, and in an effort to discredit him, someone launches an attack in the newspapers, radio, and television. Relatives of the deceased start telling anyone who will listen that he’s out of control. He’s already killed (once in Iraq, and then his best friend Max), and that he’s turned into a mad dog killer. His every step is being attacked. Experts say he’s still suffering effects from the war, and his judgement can’t be trusted.
And while Will was 100 percent justified in his actions, he finds that if someone kept saying he wasn’t, what happens to the public perception? A man can quickly go from hero to public enemy number one. He’ll even start doubting himself.
For at least the next couple of books, that’s a stigma he’ll be fighting. He doesn’t realize it yet, but he, RJ, and the surviving members of his team are one the receiving end of a highly thought out PSYOP campaign.
The entire operation is to discredit Will, RJ, and anyone associated with them. And for at least a little while, it’s going to work brilliantly.
I heard a talk given by of all people, Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek. Gene said something really interesting, and I’ve lived my life with it. He said, “Ultimate power on this planet has always been about one thing. The manipulation and control of minds.”
What he’s saying is the truth is up for grabs, and a lie can become the truth if it’s said often enough.
That’s what Will must face. He has to put his faith in the promise of God that what’s done in secret will be shouted from rooftops.