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SLCC's Premiere Art & Literary Magazine

Propaganda

Kristofer Randall

I am five years old.

Today is my birthday.

I am given a pop gun as a gift.

My parents don't care if I point it at anyone when I pull the trigger.

They work ALL the time, and they never have time for me.

"Our little soldier!" they would say.

I am fifteen years old.

Today is my birthday.

I am given a shooter game as a gift.

My parents don't care what video games I play.

They never join in on my games and bond with me in this way.

"Our little soldier!" they would say.

I am twenty years old.

Today is my birthday.

I am given a rifle as a gift.

My girlfriend doesn't care when I go shooting.

She'd ask me how many targets I hit after I'm done

"My big soldier!" she'd say.

I am twenty-three years old.

Today is my birthday.

Just like my video games, I am allowed all the time I want on the shooting range at boot camp as a gift.

I don't care how many targets I shoot, they always pop back up.

I am told to imagine my enemy's face on each target.

"My best soldier!" my sergeant would say.

I am twenty four years old.

My birthday was last week.

I am on the front lines.

I was the best in the game, I am the best in the group.

Just like the video games.

Before we set up our camp, I am told to go scout for enemy snipers.

Oh boy! My first assignment all by myself!

I look up in the trees, and I see the glint of a sniper scope.

Just like boot camp, I aim at my target.

"The best soldier!" I say

I fire.

I hit my target.

YES!! I shout.

I hold my gun up for the target to rise again.

It doesn't pop back up.

That's weird, I think.

I go up to see what's going on.

"The best soldier!" I say

I look at my target in horror as I realize

I've just killed someone.

This person looked about fourteen.

He must have lied about his age to get into the fight.

I have just ended someone's life.

A young man who could have changed the world

I took away that chance.

Am I the best soldier?

I am sixty-five.

Today is my birthday.

I am here to share with you this gruesome truth.

For those of you who don't know,

This internal torment of the realization that you killed someone,

This is real hell.

This propaganda promoting death, I saw it become real.

Are we the best soldiers?

I see it now.

On the news every day, day after day I see it now.

Because of the media we have.

Propaganda, propaganda

Because in real war, there is no "re-spawn"

Propaganda, propaganda

The targets don't get back up to fight again.

Propaganda, propaganda

Are we the best soldiers?

The knowledge that someone died because of you.

It hurts.

Go ahead and acknowledge the ones who lived through war.

You just be damn sure you remember the ones who didn't.

Are we the best soldiers?