While at the close-quarters combat range on Tuesday, I had a sudden realization: normal people don’t go running through buildings with automatic rifles and pop off live rounds just feet from each others’ heads.
Truth be told, I didn’t give it a second thought – at the time, it seemed perfectly natural to line up butt-to-nut with three other guys against a wall, then rush around the corner in close succession, engaging targets at close range as we did so. But as I walked away from the shoothouse, sweaty and sore, I looked around: under the low rolling clouds two four-man teams were each clearing the half-wall house with blanks – pop pop pop “one clear! two clear! three clear! four clear!” – while another practiced on the full-height house with no ammo. A tingle ran down my spine and it hit me: this is the real deal.
Maybe that’s why I can write about all this with such lucidity. It’s almost like an out-of-body experience – I’m just an observer to this whole situation, yet I’m living it simultaneously.