My Time as a Professional Killer
For as We Train, so Shall We Fight...
I used to be a member of a very select group, my team were the people that were called when the talking was over, and it was time for people to die.
Getting on this team isn't very easy and I have been through some very intense physical, emotional, and mental testing. One of the final tests has raised a question in me about morality...
Has anyone ever heard of 'Simunitions'? To make a long story short they are a real bullet with the lead and powder removed. A rubber paint ball type cap is what the lead is replaced by and the firing cap(primer) is what propels the 'bullet' (at a much reduced velocity). They are less than lethal but much worse than a regular commercial paintball. Being shot by one of the projectiles is akin to getting kicked by a mule. A chest hit will knock the wind out of you, a shot in the arm makes the arm useless for quite a while. If you ever got shot by one you would definitely know it and would not be able to pretend that you weren't. They were developed for training exercises because they allow the use of your usual firearm while being less than lethal.
Special Emergency Response Team
After 'making the team' I was activated within 24 hours of acceptance. Activation is being called to duty, being sent out to do the job you were hired to do. I got to our meeting point and some of the earlier arrivals were already loading equipment into our vehicles. I asked the first person I got to what was going on and was promptly told to "Shut Up, get your stuff and get dialed in". I got into our vehicle and asked one of the other newbies what was going on, "a drill?" I said. His response was to show me weapons with 'live' ammo (we don't take live ammo on drills).
...So there I am, activated, in the dark, and knowing exactly what my 'job' is, what I am expected to do, I'm there to kill people first, ask questions later, and accept a surrender if possible. The team is not an inexpensive proposition as you can imagine and as such there aren't very many times that they activate us. Needless to say everyone involved with the teams are some very serious, professional, high-speed, low-drag people... Several of my teammates are ex-Navy Seals, Marine Force Recon, Army Rangers and some are even a little bit ...um... should we say more private than most...
The Heckler and Koch mp 5
Off we go
On the way we are given the situation information. We will be entering a military facility... on this military base hostages have been taken by several highly trained men that were being held there in the base prison. Negotiations are not going well and we are reporting to the site in case negotiations continue to degrade. On the trip, about a 45 minute drive, the old timers are calm, but tense, ready to spring. The newbies are given tasks to complete, things to occupy our hands and focus our minds. Mine was the loading of the H&K MP-5s, the assault 'Machine Pistols' (machine guns) that the team uses. I was instructed to load 5 magazines(thirty rounds each) for each weapon, and 10 extra magazines for each of our two gear men(pack mules, as we affectionately call them).
Once we arrived at the base we helped our snipers get set-up and they began observing for our intelligence gathering. The rest of us started the planning and rehearsing for an assault if it came to that. It is very rare I am told, that someone get selected for the teams and be placed directly into an active slot. I was however selected and placed just like that, straight from the basic academy to an active slot. I was placed in an assault team as the #2 man, or 'Back-Up Man' (bum for short). During an assault I was the second man in the door. I was the second because my partner was shorter than me and the logistics of assault teams dictate that it is easier for me to shoot over a shorter man's shoulder than it is for him to shoot over a taller man's shoulder.
The negotiations were falling apart, at one point the sniper teams reported hearing gunshots and seeing a body thrown out from a window. We were taken to the ready positions. As I sat there geared up and waiting for the go signal it finally dawned on me, I may die here tonight, or I may end up killing someone soon, very soon.
The signal was given and we exploded into the complex. I was like a stain on my partner's shoulder, where he went I was already there. We ended up having to split the 5 man team into a 2 man and a 3 man squad, my partner and I were on our own... We rounded a corner and I came face to face with fate. In the half second it took for my partner to enter and for me to follow 2 things had happened. The first was my partner had been shot and was falling to the floor, the second, the man that shot him was pointing his gun at me. I hesitated for a split second, I felt a bullet whiz right by my ear, I opened fire. My first two shots were center of mass, the third was in the center of my hostiles forehead. I saw the blood spatter, saw the movement of his shirt. I saw his head snap backwards as he fell to the floor. I started towards my fallen partner only to find him up, smiling at me and walking towards me. He hugged me. He said welcome to the team. Then he said, I will never again have any doubt about you 'having my back' and I'll die before I'll let you bleed. I was in shock, I didn't understand what was happening... Then to make things worse, the guy I had shot and most assuredly killed stood up and flipped me the bird. He said something about the forehead shot stinging still and how most 'newbies' miss the head shot...
I sat back on my heels trying to figure out what was going on... One of the Cadre (our instructors) came in at that point laughed at me and said your ok, we loaded your weapon with Simunitions. The rest of the Team, all old hands at this 'final' test, came in and congratulated me and welcomed me to the team. The bad guys were actually ex members of this team or of various military organizations or law enforcement officers.
After getting my wits back and finally coming to terms with the 'dead' man walking around. Getting over the anger at having been 'lied' to by my teammates, we did have quite a few laughs. Seeing how others reacted to the same 'test' was also very informational for me later on. The point to this particular test was that until you actually pull a trigger on a human being, no one really knows if they can or will. On this team they had to KNOW that I could and would and did. Every member before me and every member after me all passed this final test, or they were not allowed on the team. Anyone having failed this test usually just accepted that killing wasn't for them and resigned.
Having the honor of being on this team was and is one of the highlights of my life. Knowing men that will stand beside you and die to keep you alive is not something most people understand, but I do. Being one of them was the biggest ego boost I have ever had. I carry that pride with me to this day.
Back to Morality
I was a member of the teams for almost five years. During that time I was shot once, during a live fire training mission, (a ricochet from another team members weapon, we think?) and I have had lots of people try to stab me, none of whom were successful. The closest I ever came to having to kill anyone was that final test my very first day.
My dilemma is, that in my heart, I pulled the trigger on a loaded lethal weapon. Knowing full well that the consequences to that action, were the loss of life of another human being. A life I was violently ending. In my mind I killed that man, in my heart I knew I was killing him, and that in my mind I did kill him, and was glad for having done it.
My point is... since the matters of the heart and of the soul, are the choices we make. They are the realm of God and of 'sin'... Did I commit a sin that day? Did I do something (that yes turned out to be un-true) that I need to ask forgiveness for? Did I sin by being willing to do what I thought I was doing?
uliveulearn said, "It is sad that in this day and age there is a need for such teams. An element of brain washing occurs during recruitment and training in order to get the job done. You were in a role of perceived protector and was being made ready to fulfill that difficult role when the time came. Your duty is done, forgive yourself and move on to something that makes you happy."
I agree with you, uliveulearn.
It is sad, but they are everywhere. We (people from the United States) are the biggest exporters/suppliers of these kinds of people. We call them Airmen, Soldiers, and Sailors, Police, and Spies...
I say to all our War Veterans... our Airmen, Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, Police, and Spies that if you're no longer on active duty... "Your duty is done, forgive yourself and move on to something that makes you happy." You deserve that.
Thank You, for my freedom, for my peace of mind, for being one of those people that will stand by my side and die with me, for me. I Love You.