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life Posted 2006-11-03 18:26:08 by Jim Crawford
In 2002, a National Geographic team finally identified Sharbat Gula, National Geographic cover girl:
“The team finally located Gula, then roughly age 30, in a remote region of Afghanistan; she had returned to her native country from the refugee camp in 1992. Her identity was confirmed using biometric technology which matched her iris patterns to those of the photograph with virtual certainty. She vividly recalled being photographed ? it was the first and only time she had ever had her picture taken.”
For close to twenty years, she was known only as “Afghan Girl.” I find this worldwide fame combined with complete anonymity fascinating. A similarly famous and anonymous figure is the iconic Tank Man:
“Tank Man or the Unknown Rebel is the nickname of an anonymous man who became internationally famous when he was videotaped and photographed during the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989. Several photographs were taken of the man, who is seen to stand in front of a column of Chinese Type 59 tanks, preventing their advance.”
Jason:the guy who stole the tank?
Me:the other tank man! :)
Jason:oh right
Jason:stood infront of tank man
Jason:later went on to stand infront of various cars and mobile homes

Exactly. Just like the 9/11 Tourist of Death, who went on to stand in front of lots of other disasters.

But Jason was thinking of Shawn Nelson, an interesting figure in his own right:

“Shawn Timothy Nelson was a US Army veteran and unemployed plumber who, at the age of 35 and under the influence of methamphetamine, stole an M-60 Patton Tank from a National Guard Armory in San Diego, California and went on a rampage on May 17, 1995 destroying cars, fire hydrants, and even an RV, before being shot dead by police.”
Jason and I live right across from that National Guard Armory, incidentally. There's a big, imposing tank sitting on the front lawn.

Me:“The first tank he broke into would not start, and neither would the second.” damn! i thought he just used the tank on display
Jason:that was only put out a few years ago
Me:shit :)

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