When a sniper goes on a rampage from a roof, the story is seen through the eyes of 9 different bystanders, as their tremendous experience is told from their different perspectives.
Today is the day. It’s the day where I show them all what real power is. These people are so caught up in their petty lives. They’re controlled by their technology, lust, and greed, but I will liberate them. In the end, there will be glory in all of this. They will look up, and see the wonders of what I did. For what I will do, these people will be free and beautiful. But right now, until then, there must be blood.
I check my watch; it’s 2:47. It’s sunny outside. My mother loved the days like this. Where the sun shined bright along with the cool windy breeze that flowed onto the leaves. I love looking up at the sky during times like this. Sky’s blue with small patches of fluffy clouds. It’s like I am in a perfect dream. It reminds me of the days when I was young. I could never remember the exact time. All I know is it was a time of tranquility and loveliness. The building is tall; it’s around 42 stories. Perfect height for the hunt. It’s where the cleansing will happen. I take out my dark green AWSM .338. This entity is a beauty. I used one like this before in the forces. I remember when I blew someone guy’s head clean off with it before. His head exploded like a balloon. It was a wonderful site. It was in front of his family which made it that much better. To see his sons, daughters, and wife have fear and shock on their face, gave me reasons to live. I love my rifle. Whenever you have a gun, you’re supposed to make it your love. Carry it, feel it, embrace it. Many people carry guns, but they don’t truly understand the magnificence of it. Your gun is supposed to be a part of you. People tend to treat guns badly. They see it just as a tool, but I see it for what it is, perfection. People misuse the purpose of a gun. The purpose of a gun isn’t to just kill, it’s to create something from the kill. That is why I left the military. I was just destroying, but not creating. What I’m about to do today, will create. I am my rifle, and my rifle is me; without the rifle I cannot do my work, without me, the rifle is nothing. Together, me and my love, we are an unstoppable force.
Before I fire, I look down the scope to look at other people. I see many things. I see a park. Parks are amazing. It’s where the parents take their children to play in the wonders of the world. There are kids playing around the jungle gym. It’s beautiful to see the children be lost in their youth. It’s why being a child is the best part of life. Innocence, beauty, and freedom. I see the kids as they chase each other around the sets. I see it in their eyes and smile. They really believe the world is as beautiful as their soul. I suppose, what you believe is what the truth is for you. In their precious eyes, in those children’s hearts, the world is pure. It almost brings a tear in my eye. In these moments that I see the children playing, I can almost taste and even smell the past. I remember when I was young as well, before I was corrupted by the world. The past always comes back to me by the fresh air of the wind going into my lungs. What does it taste like? How can one describe the taste and smell of the wind or the past? I turn my scope to the parents. They are watching their babies in glee. They must have the same feeling I have when I watch the children play. Reminiscence for the beautiful past is what we get, but maybe it’s a little bit different when you’re the parent. You get a sense of responsibility as a parent; you are their guardian, protector, and watcher. The children look up to you as a parent, they believe you are the strongest force in the universe. They obey by your rules, worship you, love you, even fear you, and sometimes hate you. You can say as a parent you are God. Why not? Children are taught to love God more than anything on the Earth, but do they really love God more than anything? What about you, the parent. The one who loves them daily, clothes them, feed them, and shelter them. After all, children here their parents say how much they would fight for them, how they would die for them. I believe that children love their parents more than God. For that, the true God, until they’re older, is the child’s parent.
I switch to the street. It’s a partially empty street. Few people walking on the sidewalks, and several cars going in different directions. I hate the streets, and what it represents. People on their way to work, stores, or just places. They are not there to be settled like the people in the park. They are always on the move and have a destination to go to. It’s the people in the streets that are the cruelest. They will continue on with their day and pass by evil because they are too selfish to tend to others. A beggar could beg for money, and they wouldn’t turn their head because they have to go somewhere. A man could be getting robbed in the middle of the street, and they wouldn’t do a damn fucking thing, because they have to buy something. I see many people on their phones with their headphones plugged in. They are the slaves of their own creation, their technology. But I’ll show them all, I’ll show them to look up.
Although I am pleased by the people of the park compared to the ones who roam the streets, they do share a common trait that irritates me. Both of them are unaware and ignorant of the objects that control their lives. They are not focus enough on the true dangers of this world, and that is why I have to show them. I am going to rid these people of their pointless agendas, so they can come together as one. I look out of the scope and look at everyone with my own eyes. From this building they are so small; they are ants. That’s exactly what they are, ants. This is where we all belong. Me on top, them at the bottom as I control their lives because that is what these peasants need. They need a bigger force to guide them into the right direction to make things better. When I shoot, it will be fast and relentless. I won’t even be able to hear them, or see their reactions. It will be nothing to me to shoot them. The loss of feeling a person gets for stepping on a bug is exactly how I will feel when I eradicate these people. The greater the distance I am from these people by this building, the greater the distance my heart is from theirs. I do not feel anything because I am not there up close to them to feel their emotions as I slaughter them. This is how God must feel. This is why he doesn’t care about taking a life. He is too far up in his perfect kingdom to care about the people on Earth. He does not feel the hardships or pain a parent feels for losing their child, or a spouse for losing their own. Now I am the one on top, far away in my perfect kingdom. Not shedding an ounce of pity for what is going to happen. All the power is in my hand now. I am God.
This is it. I look back into the scope, and I lurk. I move swiftly onto each target before firing. I have to find out which one is the best to slay first. I am like a kid in a candy store, don’t know which to pick. Tick-tock, tick-tock. I can barely hold the excitement in. I keep grinning as I feel my target getting closer to me. I can’t wait. I have it. Bye-bye.
Never have I seen something this brutal before. Blood sprayed my white shirt; I was in shock. To see another human killed right in front of you, is daunting. Not only that, but the inhumane way that a life was taken. What kind of sick and sadistic animal that is derange would shoot another human being right in the head for their brains to spill out onto the street like garbage. People on the street looked on in fright at the gruesome scene. It wasn’t until a lady plummeted to the ground from a force behind her, did people start to panic. We all ran in different directions. There was no time to think, or wonder where the shots were coming from. A headless corpse, and a lady who laid face down on the ground with her neck snapped from the impact of a bullet ripping through her back like paper was all we needed to run for our lives. A person ran into the street and was instantly struck by a moving truck. It’s crazy how one person can control the actions of others. Some people were pushing others down as they only cared about themselves. How can we be so cruel? I assume everyone loses their morals in times of desperation. In moments of darkness, our true character is shown.
“Get the fuck out of the way, bitch!” I heard one man shout as he pushed an elderly lady with a cane onto the ground.
The man’s head flew off of his neck as if the bullet had sliced his head from the rest of his body. His head tumbled in the air like a coconut. When it hit the ground, it made a squishy sound from the meat hitting the concreate. Everything was slow. It was only a few seconds, but it felt forever. I could almost feel every footstep as people’s feet smack against the ground. I could hear every drop of sweat splashing onto the concreate, and every gasp of fear exhaling from their breaths.
“Help me please!” The old lady cried.
I wanted to go back and help her, but I couldn’t. It was everybody for themselves. It was nothing personal, it’s just that I had to make sure I was safe. Savagery is the only way to survive in the wild. When your life is on the line, you cannot worry about being ethically correct. You must survive at any cost, even if that cost is another person’s life. I continued on running not knowing, if I was next.
Everyone at the park heard gunshots. Many of the parents called their children over to them; the children slowly jogged towards their parents. The children had smiles on their face as if they were still in their fun world. They must have thought they were still playing around as they were giggling, but us parents knew what was going on. We heard many gun shots and screams coming from the streets. All we could do as parent were hold our children very close and tight. I wrapped my arms around my daughters head as I covered her. It was surreal. The children had no idea what was happening, they thought it was a game. It’s better that way, to have them believe this was all for fun. They don’t need to know the truth on what was happening. As a parent, one of your jobs is to shield your child, and that includes keeping them away from the truth for their own good. They smiled and laugh while we worried and pray.
“Mommy, what’s going on?” My little one asked me.
“It’s fine. We’re just playing a game, dear. It’s going to be okay.”
I looked into her innocent eyes. She smiled at me as I smiled in worry. I quickly jolted at a sound of another gunshot; this one sounded very close. I turned to the side where I saw a father slumped over as blood poured down his nose and mouth onto the son he was holding. The little boy began to scream. The age of innocence for the children was over; they knew what was happening. Many parents took their children and began to run towards underpass. I snatched my daughter and began to run as well.
“Daddy help!” I heard the boy scream.
I couldn’t leave him alone. I had to react quickly. I turned right back around with my daughter in one arm.
“Come here!” I screamed to the boy.
I grabbed his arm; we ran towards the underpass as well. It was going by so fast, but in those quick moments, I had never felt so scared in my life. I was breathing heavily as sweat poured down on me.
“Daddy! Daddy!” The boy cried.
He tried to go back towards his father whose body laid on the bench.
“No!” I argued.
As I pulled the child back in, I saw the brutality of his father’s body. To see his own father killed right in front of him, had to be the one thing that was going to haunt him forever. It was very sick and gruesome. I didn’t know the man, but I knew it wasn’t what he deserved. His corpse stood on the bench as if he was just a thug shot in the street. It was completely disgusting how someone could do such a vile thing. I felt as the two children’s hands were slipping from mine due to the excessive amount of sweat. Fortunately, I was able to hold onto them as we made it to the underpass. Many of the children began to cry. None of us knew where the shots had come from. It was crazy, you never knew what was going to happen until it happened. I would have never thought I would be caught in the middle of this. One moment I was having an amazing and grateful time with the love of my life, and the next I am fearing for our lives. Those several minutes was an atrocious and wicked nightmare. As I held my daughter, and the child I didn’t know, I saw the look of terror on the other parents’ faces. We were all protectors of our young and weak. Being a parent isn’t easy, the responsibility of being a guardian is harder. Always have to be on the lookout for danger. You’re not supposed to have it as easy as the ones you are protecting. You make things easy for them without them knowing the troubles and sacrifices you go through to provide a utopia for them. When that paradise is threaten, it’s very frightening. To know that your life isn’t in your hand anymore, is petrifying; it makes you feel demoralized.
How can I prepare for this? How can anyone not just a cop prevent something like this from happening? When the duty calls, you must be ready to go, but sometimes I am not. Bad always has the upper hand when it starts a war. Good must be on the defense, hold it long enough before attacking back. As we pulled up, I saw bodies after bodies on the ground. It was a massacre out there. It was all kinds of people dead. There was no discrimination, just a rabid attack by a madman. You can never get used to seeing dead bodies, no matter how many crime scenes you been to. Seeing bodies at the morgue is one thing. It’s the end of the road for them. You know they’re dead, and are supposed to be there, but out here, it’s different. The dead are still in their clothes, bodies still warm, hair dressed up nice. It makes you feel like they should not have been there. That is what got me. We got out of our cars, and crouched behind it for cover. I saw the sniper on the roof. He fired a few shots at us. None of them struck us, only hit the pavement and our cars. One bullet hit a body lying on the ground; it blew its toes clean off. You would have thought killing was enough, but there is much more you can do to a person after they have died. You can piss and shit on what’s left, and that is what was happening. We had to get our guys in the air to take the sick son of a bitch out.
After a few moments, the firing had stopped. We soon began to get up as our guns remained pointed at the roof. The police captain arrived, he got out of his car with a megaphone in his hand.
“Someone get some damn tape around this area already, and put up a better barricade for Christ sakes!”
Why in the hell am I out here. I am always dragged back into this mess. I don’t deserve to be out here. I did my service to everyone when I was on the frontlines, and now it’s supposed to be time for me to relax and rejoice the fortunes I created. However that’s not the case, because of the incompetence of others. Why can’t they be better? Why can’t they be like me? If my men were better at their jobs, I wouldn’t have to be coming out here. That’s all I do nowadays, is just fix fix fix shit that others stir up and cannot handle. I feel like everything would collapse, if it wasn’t for me holding it up. What the hell do I look like, their father? If I can hold down the fort and do everyone’s part myself, then they should be able to handle their own mess. They look up to me when crisis strikes. They look to me because they are weak, and for that I look down on them.
Let me guess, some asshole has a bad attitude, and now we all have to pay for it. Judging at the bodies on the ground, I can tell some people already have. Poor bastards. Just at the wrong place at the wrong time. I see a phone ringing in one of the corpse’s hand, the name of the caller has Mom on it. What a damn shame. Well maybe if he hadn’t been on his phone, he may have been alive. Stupid kids, the world could burn, and these people would either be recording it, or distracted by their phones. Now I have to deal with this idiot on the roof.
“This is the police,” I yell through the megaphone, “we have you surrounded. Surrender, or we will take you out!”
“Sir, we have something for you,” One of my men claim, “the shooter called the police department. He said he has a bomb on his chest that can destroy the entire building he’s on. It’s set on 30 minutes. He said if he doesn’t get 10 million dollars, he will let it blow.”
“You mean to tell me there’s still some people in the building?”
“We just got here sir.”
“Holy hell! The mayor is going to have my ass for this! How do we know he’s telling the truth?”
“He sent pictures to the department. Here.”
I take a look on the cell phone that one of my men held.
“That’s a lot of c4 sir. That is strong enough to take out more than the building.”
“We’re going to have to get the negotiator on this one.”
Another day, another story, that’s what they tell us at the station. We got out of the van as I held my microphone. Yes, it was stupid to be at a scene of a sniper. There was no one around the scene expect for the police. We had to get the story, and I was going to risk my life for it. Some stories are different. Some are sad, make you feel mad, make you happy. Most of the time, I’m just doing my job. When we heard of a sniper on the roof, it was thrilling. One of the biggest stories I was going to cover, I couldn’t wait, but when I got to the scene the mood changed. I have never seen anything like it. It was unbelievable. The amount of carnage that laid on the ground. It was like a battle field where after the battle is over, the bodies are just left on the ground for nature. You can tell when war has laid waste to the Earth. You get the chilling feeling in your heart from seeing left corpses in the dirt as if they are completely forgotten and do not matter. In those moments even the sun becomes cold. After that, I truly understood my job and the burden that came with it. I wasn’t reporting stories that caught the viewer’s attention; I was reporting misery and death. It had to be done which is why I took no shame, but what a complication this world is. My part that I play in this little game called life. You have the criminal, the victim, the enforcer, the bystander, and the instigator. I was the instigator, stirring the pot of emotions and pandemonium.
Back at it again, here I am having to connect others with the misfortunes. I felt like I was getting off to easy. While others cry in misery, there I was to make a living off of it and showcase it as a trophy. I can’t be mad at myself; it is tempting to hate myself for it, but it must be done.
“We have a sniper on the roof, here downtown on 27th street. Police have estimated that a total of 17 people have been killed. The sniper still active. We will have more information on this.”
Whenever you here news about death, the only thing you can think is “Thank God, it wasn’t me, or somebody I know or loved.” It’s pretty amazing actually, how after seeing all those stories on the news, seeing how close they were, that I remained not touched by them. Of course, I know that no one is untouchable by the hand of God. Anyone and everyone can and will be touched by the hand of God in some way. We all lose something we love; in the past, present, or the future. I use to think I was untouchable, I’m glad I don’t anymore. I’m happier that it didn’t take a severe lost for me to learn that lesson. Some people think what they see on the news can never happen to them, until they’re the ones on the news. I can never imagine what it would be like being the one who the news report on, being that person who is killed, or worse, crying over the loss of a love one. I know where my family is at. My little sister is upstairs, my mom is in the kitchen making dinner, and my father who’s a negotiator is upstairs in his office. Eventually they have to leave the house, and whenever they do, I tell them I love them because that may be the last time I can tell them it. Always end on good terms with your family, no matter what, always get “I love you” out. I have lost family members in the past, usually elderly ones that I didn’t get to spend a lot of time with, so I barely knew them; I don’t even remember them that well. However, I am very fortunate to not lose the ones that are extremely close to me: my parents, sibling, and grandparents. I know that I will lose them in the future, whether I’m first or them. I know there will be pain. I just pray to God, that it comes in a later time, when I am much elderly. I supposed the pain would be less seeing how I would get to spend more time with my family.
As long as I know that they would die at their time, and don’t have any more time to give, it would be fine. With so much bad in the world, all I could live by is knowing that as long as I do the right thing God will take care of me. I just hope that I am not flaking out. While everyone is dying on tv, I remain the viewer at home. I am privilege to be in this spot. It may come to me when the roles are switched, but right now, I am bless. That’s the thing about people, especially ones at my age. They get so caught up in other people’s mess and other kinds of nonsense, that they don’t realize what they have in front of them. We take things for granted, and when it’s gone, that is when we realize what we had. I see people complaining over relationships, money, materials, and looks. In their worries, they tend to miss what is truly important, family. Do you truly understand the privilege and blessing you have to have your family love you like they do? Whenever you complain about something so small, you must remember you have your family with you. If you don’t appreciate them now, you will when they are gone. I thank God, that I appreciate my family, so when they do leave, I won’t have any regrets.
My father walks downstairs; he goes to the kitchen. Him and my mother are talking.
“Oh my god,” I hear her gasp.
“I’ll be fine,” My father replies before they kiss.
My father kiss my sister on the head.
“Where are you going, dad?” I ask.
“Just taking care of some business, son. I’ll be back.”
He hugs me, before he goes towards the door.
“Dad, I love you.”
He turns back at me and smiles.
“I love you too.”
As I leave my home of solace, I prepare myself for the worst. I’ve been called to many situations like this before, too many to count. I have been taken out of my own time, just to solve other people’s problems. I understand that they look to me for help, and I can live with that. I can live with having to be called on many times, and to give up something of mine to help other people. I understand that my life won’t be settled because I will always be called into action to save others. I am fine with it all; that is why they look up to me because I am the only one who can do it.
I get briefed on the situation. They tell me he’s a cold blooded killer. One of the worst. I’m not scared, or nervous, but I’m careful. I handle people like this before. So crazy, they don’t know what they want. Do they have a death wish, or are they just bluffing? Whoever this guy is, he must be someone who has nothing to lose, and that makes him dangerous.
I get out of the helicopter and step onto the top of the building. The shooter is just looking on; he doesn’t seem nervous. He seems pretty normal. You’d be amazed sometimes at these people who do these things. Not all of it is like what you see on tv. It’s nothing like that at all. These people put their pants on the same way as you and I. They’re human beings, but apparently something inside of them is crooked, and for that they are evil on the inside. The helicopter moves off the building and hovers above. It’s just me and him. I walk towards him.
“You got the money?”
“We’ll get to that soon.”
“Where is my money?”
“Then who the fuck are you?”
“My name is Tom Bishop. I am the negotiator.”
“Negotiator? You think that you can negotiate with me and try to make me change my mind?”
“Well, I can be very persuasive.”
“Not today. I’m getting my money, or we’ll all die. Doesn’t matter how many people you escort out, this will cause a lot of damage for several blocks. You have 15 minutes left.”
“Let’s talk about what happened today. Why did you kill those people?”
“I didn’t kill them. I saved them?”
“This world we live in, these people are all blind. They bury themselves in their own self-interest. No one cares about anyone today.”
“People can be rough sometimes.”
“What I saw, was true care. I saw men who I cared about and fought next to die on the line of battle. We cared for each other, but did the ones who sent us in care about us? No. They didn’t look another man in the eyes, held his hand as he was dying out for his last breathe. I wear the scars of my fallen brothers on my back. Every day that I live, I am reminded of what I fought for, but by seeing the humanity of people, I am also reminded of how little my efforts are. That is why I did what I am doing today, that is why I must continue. I need to make people care. You haven’t seen their faces as I did in my scope. I saw people run by others in need, but I also saw people care for others and try to help them as I was seconds away from killing them. That is what we need, for people to care for each other.”
“And you think killing will do that for you?”
“Tomorrow, and the next day, there will be so much media coverage on what I did. There will be memorials, and people will care.”
“Then why do you want the money?”
“There’s nothing wrong with wanting some kind of reward for my work. I mean how else is God supposed to pay me. Well I am God, so I guess this is a self-treat.”
I look down over the edge, everyone seem so small from here.
“You think you’re God because you’re on this roof. Does being on this roof and seeing how small we are down there, make you feel bigger? Do you have to be on a roof with a gun to feel better than others?”
“Don’t push me.”
“Or what? You kill us both, and many others, but you won’t get your money. What’s all this work if you won’t get an award?”
“Then where the fuck is my money?!”
I pull out my gun quickly.
“There is no fucking money.”
I shoot the bastard twice in the stomach. He drops to the ground where he coughs up blood. I run towards him. The helicopter hovers closer to the top of the building. The bomb on his chest has 10 minutes on it. I pick it up, and hand it to one of the men in the helicopter.
“Get this down to bomb squad now!”
Another job done. They’ll call me back again; I know they will. I killed many times during this job. The people applaud me for it, but I never really accept it. I may feel a temporary sense of accomplishment, but what does it mean? I can do all of this, but in the grand scheme, is it important? Do my accolades change anything? Does it clear the dark and rainy skies for the sun to shine bright? Does it give virtue to a poison land? Does it add purity to the water of the wicked Earth for those who are in need to live on? I feel like it doesn’t. Why does man always find great satisfaction from the calamities of others? Is there not a way where we can all prosper and be happy in this life without the expense of our fellow man?
They think they won. They believe that this is over, well it’s not. Have you ever had a goal you wanted to accomplish, and people tried so hard to stop you? Beaten, battered, and brutalized is what they do to you in hopes that you won’t make it. They give it all they got, but it isn’t enough because you are determined to succeed. For so long, I have set goals that I believed were possible, but everyone told me it was no use. I didn’t stop believing, and I never will. I am destined for greatness. My mother use to tell me to never give up; my father said I was better and greater than all of this. I will not be denied. I won’t let these insignificant pest stand in the way of greatness. How dare they try to step in the way of God?
He thinks I’m dead, but he is wrong. With the strength I barely have left in my body, I jump up onto my feet. The negotiator turns his attention towards me, but it’s too late. I have him by surprise. I wrap my arms around him in a bear hug. We wrestle for a little while as we lean over the edge.
“If I go, you go!” I smile as I taste my own blood.
With the last ounce of power I have, I turn him over the edge as I start to fall as well. Here we go; falling to our demise. He doesn’t seem all that afraid, as if he knows it’s alright if he dies. Maybe, he believes it has to come to this. I never wanted the money in the first place. I wanted the bomb to go off anyways, but since he stopped that, I knew I had to take him with me. I guess in the end, I was somewhat wrong. He showed me. I’m not all powerful, I’m just one man. No matter how much I think of myself to be better than everyone else which I am, it doesn’t change the fact that I am just another spoke on the wheel. In 50, 100, a thousand years, no one will remember me. They’ll remember God, but not me. That says a lot.
Here, it’s the end of the road. It’s where all the bodies come to for their last stop. A police officer may see bodies on the street, but it’s different here in the morgue. These bodies are cold, and you see them for what they are, just a numb nasty carcass. It’s a shivering feeling to see fellow humans beings stripped naked as they are laid out on a medical table like some kind of monster. I cut their insides out as I rip whatever life they have left from them. This is the world’s dump. The world takes these people, chew them up, and spit them back out to me.
Today I get a cop who’s a negotiator. He’s a mess. They said he fell 42 stories from the air. If I knew him, I wouldn’t be able to recognize his face. It’s mangled. The back of his skull is wide open where his brains busted out onto the sidewalk. They were barely able to recover his brain as pieces of it had splattered all over the street. His entire face is completely red from external and internal bleeding. It’s swollen all over, and it looks like it’s going to pop like a zit. His other limbs are just as bad. A long thick piece of his shin is sticking out of his skin. One of his arms is completely turned in the other direction. It’s twisted like a tree root. The entire scene is such a cataclysm.
His family is in the room. Wife is crying, older son about the age of 17 has a blank face, and the younger daughter, well she seems to be lost. I lift the sheet for her to see her husband’s body. She erupts into tears.
“Oh no!!!!!!!!! Why!!!!!!!!!!!?”
It’s never easy doing this. You would think, the family has enough time to mourn when they get the news, but it isn’t until they see the actual body when they lose control. I’m surprised; she lets the daughter see the face as well. She must be no older than 6, and now she sees her father’s trampled corpse. It’s better to let the child know the truth instead of shield them. By protecting your child too much, you make them weak to the dangers of the world. It’s for the best that the child is exposed to the tortures now, so she can prepare. Nothing can get worse for her; it’ll make her stronger.
It’s a shame that the only time I get visits is when someone has to identify their love one. They leave, and now I have to go back to my work. It’s the same routine every day. I am stuck in this circle, and I cannot get out. I don’t know how to, and I don’t know if I want to. I’m okay with what I am doing even if sometimes it gets exhausting. There is no new way of life for me, only this. I am trapped in my own web, and I cannot get out. I am waiting for a new adventure, but there is none for me. I don’t know what I have to do. If this is what I have to do forever, so be it. I can live with being in this graveyard. I see these bodies every single day; I’m just as dead as these zombies. It strikes me even if I don’t know these people. You don’t have to be directly involved to be hit. Everyone is touched somehow, everyone sees something.