Daniel McGowan: My Own Pearl Harbor

Medium, December 7, 2022

December 7, 2005 was my own personal Pearl Harbor: the moment that defines the ‘before’ and ‘after’. The morning started out normal enough. I had plans to stuff some holiday cards for my job and then stop off at a sporting goods store to pick up a gift for my brother-in-law. After that, I was going to babysit for my sister, which I really looked forward to.

After some mundane hours in the office, I looked up for a second and a few men were in the doorway of my cube. “Daniel McGowan?,” they said and before I knew it, I was standing, spun around onto the desk and being cuffed. “You’re going back to Oregon” is the phrase that sent me spinning. And like that, the past had caught up with me.

Nowadays, when I smell Christmas trees, especially when they are sold on the street, I am right back there on Court Street, being led handcuffed to their waiting federal car. A brief stop at the Brooklyn Federal court happens, giving them enough of a chance to tell me that the U.S. Attorney is in town and I have a short window to make a deal.

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