We know this story too well: Local man disappears into the Middle East to help homicidal maniacs further their bloody, wretched, nihilistic ends. But get this: A 28-year-old Army vet from Sturtevant, Wisconsin, has also left for the Middle East -- to fight against ISIS.
On Friday, the Daily Beast wrote of Jordan Matson's journey from a troubled and depressed Midwesterner to a member of the YPG, or Kurdish militia. In 2007, he'd served in Iraq and Afghanistan before an early discharge, but returned home "a person at war with himself, looking for a way out."
The Kurdish people belong to a geo-cultural and autonomous region that makes up parts of Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Turkey, and for decades have been subjected to harassment, discrimination, and even attempted genocide. Saddam Hussein committed the largest chemical weapons attack in history when he bombed Halabja, killing upward of 5,000 people. ISIS is only the latest threat to Kurdish sovereignty.
Before leaving, Matson told his friends that he needed to do something meaningful with his life. He'd been working the graveyard shift for a food service company. In 2012, he was apparently so distraught over the re-election of President Obama that he tried to kill himself. Later that night, he told police during a traffic stop that he'd put a handgun to his head, but it didn't go off.
Matson took up Kurdish arms in September, but his real value to the YPG may be in attracting media attention to their cause. He started a new Facebook page Friday on which he offers a glimpse into his worldview:
On his personal Facebook page, Matson recently wrote that he'd been hit by a mortar, but was doing fine. He even boasted that, during a six-hour fire fight, he had "Delivered an ISIS bastard to hell."