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Ari Got His Gun



He knows he can’t hesitate.

He sits amidst a pile of rubble, mostly debris from decrepit, antiquated buildings that line an abandoned street. No point in bombing them. They could fall to pieces themselves.

He’s dug himself through a section at the top of the pile so that his Galatz sniper rifle can point out the other side.

He wears a bandana over his face. One sneeze and the pile falls and, just like that, he’s compromised. The billowing dust brought in by a desert wind makes it difficult for him to survive.

His is on a mission without many details. He’s to position himself near a mosque that contains a safe house in the occupied zone. He’s taking out a terrorist whose name he doesn’t know. As a muezzin sounds the call to afternoon prayer he’s to shoot the terrorist through a wall as the man kneels towards Mecca.

He knows not whether he’ll be facing him, or whether his back will be turned. School never taught him which direction Mecca was in.

It doesn’t matter that the sniper can’t physically see the room — his scope is a mega high-tech one mounted at the side of the Galatz. Its heat-seeking technology can map the bloodflow of a man’s body.

When he hits his target, it’s assumed that the rest of them will flee the building with guns blazing. The army is prepared for that. A platoon surrounds the mosque at every entrance, waiting to unleash a hail of bullets against anyone trying to escape.

The scope makes his job a lot easier. On one hand, he can see through the wall into the “musalla,” or prayer room, completely unnoticed. On the other hand, he doesn’t really “see” his targets – they’re merely syntagmas of their greater wholes. In this light, the radiated greens of the scope, they mean nothing more to him than the goombas or flying ducks of his Nintendo days.

He needs to see them this way. They’re animals, terrorists, born of a land they never owned. They were born serfs, and now they want to eradicate the people who were divinely-appointed to hold this land. To imagine these vassals as anything more than dogs would make him hesitate and compromise his mission.

He steadies the rifle as the voice of his drill sergeant plays back in his head. A rigid, forceful man, his job was to strip away every trace of humanity from soldiers’ targets. They were dogs; jackals; desert rats combing your home for unearned bits of food. Very simply, they were Others — everything the army was not.