Open Letters to Ross Ulbricht: Your Pain is Reflected in my Past

Note from the Editor: This letter is the latest in an ongoing series of open letters to Ross Ulbricht hosted by Bitcoin.com. 

Also read: Open Letters to Ross Ulbricht: To Have a Happy Roommate


“Nothing makes the earth seem so spacious as to have friends at a distance; they make the latitudes and longitudes.”

-Henry David Thoreau

Dear Ross,

We are kindred souls. You and I share much in common. We were both raised in Texas. But more poignantly, we have shared traumatic experiences. And though these experiences are not exactly identical, I can empathize with some of what you have endured. I too was a victim of the drug war. I have felt the cold steel of the State’s gun pressed against my temple. I have seen the inside of a jail, but I was just lucky to break free of those fetters, thanks to family, friends, and a bit of good fortune.

But even through my experiences, I never mustered your courage. I did not commit my “wrongdoing” on principle. I was just a kid doing kid things. I was immature and rash of heart. What you did was heroic, beautiful even. You actively sought to subvert political slavery. You wanted to experiment with sovereignty and share its pleasures with everyone; and in my eyes, you accomplished this task. You adhered to philosophy. You navigated your plan through the Silk Road with the end goal of making the world a better place.

Free Ross

We cannot yet fathom the full scope of your project, but it has already shaped the lives of thousands. It has affected the way people conceptualize free markets, and already etched itself in the annals of history. Many people have followed your lead, because your actions were ones of principled liberty.

I wish I would have exercised this same conviction and honor. I wish I would have been as ideological and brave at the time of my misdeed. I wouldn’t have doubted the virtue of my actions. That is why you have my lifelong allegiance. I will always support your cause with every fiber of my being, even if you question whether your own actions were good.

I had the pleasure of meeting your mother, Lyn. She let me know your actions were just. A mother may indeed be biased toward her son, but a mother’s love also betrays the innocence within her son’s heart.

She spoke at Porcfest and I witnessed her eloquently unravel the secrets of the kangaroo court you received. Your mother delivered your truth with such spirited fervor and passion that I was blown away. Her ire for your predicament was palpable. I knew through her voice that you did not deserve your fate. You were dealt a great injustice. But she laid the truth on the table.

I wept at the pinnacle of the speech. Her words brought all of my memories bubbling to the surface. At that point, I knew I would become a loyal supporter of you and your family. Her words allowed me to relive my experiences and vaguely comprehend your struggle. It inspired me.

Lyn and I

After the presentation, I spoke with her for a moment off stage. I told her a little about my past legal troubles, as well as the activism I am involved in. I told her I was only loosely familiar with your situation until she clarified it.

We met again the next day, and I purchased a shirt from her. We spoke more about your trial, and about what I intend to do to help. It was a bittersweet conversation. Your mom’s heart weighed heavy. I saw your pain mirrored in her eyes. I felt a cascade of emotions surge through me, and she recognized them. Lyn said she saw something in me, and that I stood out. We bonded deeply in that moment. I will never forget our exchange.

I left Porcfest knowing I wanted to do more for you and liberty. I returned home and I started writing more ardently. I created my own activist web page to help educate people about freedom and Bitcoin. I did this in part thanks to you and your mother’s courage. To this day, I talk to everyone about your situation. I wear your shirt in public and start conversations. I take selfies with it and share it online. I implore people to consider the good you did. I do what I can to rally the population to your defense. I want to rise to your level of courage and honor, especially since I feel your pain reflected in my past.

And like many have said in their letters, I do not feel you will be locked forever away and forgotten. I believe someone will take notice of the grievous injustice you experienced. Some, I believe, already have. Your mom posted this quotation on the Free Ross Facebook page:

“If only 10% of what Lyn said about the trial and the events leading up to the trial are true, there should be a reversal. As a former prosecutor, I am appalled at what the federal government has done to Ross.”

I hope this news, as well as my empathy, compassion, and hope finds you well and unhurt. I hope you are being treated with the dignity and decency you deserve. You are a blessing to the world, and may the world never forget. I will not.

Sincerely,

Sterlin Lujan