In June, a 52-year-old sword-wielding Californian construction worker named Gary Faulkner was detained by police in rural Pakistan after claiming that he was on a mission to find and kill Osama bin Laden. There were many jokes at his expense. Now, several months later, GQ's Chris Heath has published a 7,000 word profile of the bin Laden hunter. Faulkner is an odd subject for a magazine mostly known for its profiles of beautiful celebrities, but he is no less fascinating. Here are the bullet points.
- Faulkner first decided to hunt down bin Laden because of a dream he had in 2004.
- Heath says Faulkner "bought a twenty-one-foot yellow-and-white yacht called the Piña Colada" because he interpreted that dream as calling for him to sail to Pakistan. He had never been on a boat in the ocean before and claims a Pacific "hurricane" crashed him into Baja 22 days after departing San Diego.
- Faulkner: "It's not like I'm in it for the money. I'm in it because of my faith…and that's where he's at, too, so it's the two titans of their faith. He stood up on a world platform and made his announcement, I stood up on a world platform and made my announcement, and we're getting ready to go toe-to-toe."
- His father used to whip him, until the abused Faulkner told him, "If you ever touch me again, I'm going to cut your throat in your sleep." Faulkner says their relationship improved tremendously after that.
- Heath: "Each time he wanted to fly to Pakistan, Faulkner had to first visit Los Angeles to apply for a visa. In January 2008, he decided to do the trip by road, accompanied by his friend Tony Montana and a man they knew as Pickles."
- Faulkner: "I've done crack, I've done crank, I've done coke, I've done pot, I've done everything in the world out there. ... You know, I've been to prison, I've been shipwrecked, blown up, shot, stabbed. My story does not just start here; it started when I was 5 years old, the first time I tried to hot-wire a car."
- Heath: "He is listening to Nickelback on the pink iPod Shuffle he had with him in Pakistan."
- In 2006, Faulkner bought a hang glider to use in hunting bin Laden, but first decided to fly to Israel for a test flight. "He had never flown a hang glider in his life. ... The ride was short. Three seconds later, he had several broken ribs and a dislocated shoulder."
- Faulkner still has "fireworks fights" with his brother Daren, who at one point proudly displays the scar that resulted from last July 4th's battle.
- Heath: "Gary Faulkner believes that by the time this article is published, he will be triumphantly completing his mission in the rubble of a cave in northwest Pakistan. If he fails, it will be one more victory for rationality; one more victory for everyone who likes to see the world carry on spinning evenly and predictably; one more victory for common sense. It will be one more sad victory for all of us who never really tried."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.