Karilyn Bales, the wife of the soldier accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians, most of whom were women and children, had a blog.
It seems like the least significant piece of information in a truly tragic story. One that opens up questions about stress to soldiers deployed over and over in war zones, mental health treatment for combat soldiers, and the fallout from another transgression by an American soldier in an occupied Muslim country.
Why is it significant that Karilyn Bales had a blog? (It has since been shut down, according to news reports). Because it documented her life. She wasn’t just talking about herself but her family. Everything in her blog could be used against her husband during his military trial, although from what I’ve read they likely won’t need it. But her thoughts on the minutiae of her family life are on trial now. The New York Times had excerpts in yesterday’s paper that fueled speculation that the fourth tour of duty for her husband was too much. The family was also unhappy last year that he did not get a promotion.
From the New York Times – “A little less than a year ago, in March 2011, Ms. Bales wrote on her blog that her husband had not received a promotion to E-7, sergeant first class. The family was disappointed, she said, ‘after all of the work Bob has done and all the sacrifices he has made for his love of his country, family and friends.’”
The blog excerpts paint a picture of a wife’s life with a military husband gone most of the time. What was supposed to have been a time capsule for her children is now being used to find hints of the horrors to come.
Insurance agencies, divorce lawyers and prosecutors have been using blogs and Facebook for years to find evidence in cases. How sad to think to think the story and pictures of her life that brought her comfort and peace while her husband was away could hurt him.
As a blogger this brings home the public nature of what we do. Will a blog post about a conference where you enjoyed too many conference cocktails come back to haunt you? Or a post where you talk about how conservative/liberal you are hurt your changes of getting your dream job?
These are mild in comparison to what we’re talking about here, but it’s a reminder that a blogger’s life is public. Everything you say online is with you forever.
Yvonne Condes is the Editor and Co-Founder of MomsLA.com