VANTAGE POINT

Chris R-0851 Image by Christine Renney

He repeatedly makes his way down and comes back up. He times his visits for when the place is at its busiest, at rush hour, early in the morning and again in the evening.
He moves through quickly, weaving his way amongst them, his progress almost frenzied. Once he is clear, he slows and pushes his way back.
He has established a routine of sorts and, loitering on the outskirts, he waits. He steps out a circuit beginning at the edge of the ring road and eventually taking in the grounds of the cathedral. When the grass verge begins to widen, he makes toward a remaining section of the old city wall. There is an iron railing and, clambering, he swings himself around it and steps down onto the narrow ledge below.
In his ragged and dusty clothes he leans back against the grey stone. He can see so much from up here. It is the ideal vantage point.

Most of them have disappeared into the buildings. He watches the others, the ones still moving in and out of the shops. The tableaux from up here always looks the same but it isn’t. Some of the shoppers leave and others arrive and he is all too aware that this is constantly changing. Only during the lunch hour, when the workers emerge from the office blocks, can he be sure. And it is important that he has completed his circuit and is back here by then.
But he still has a little time and he lifts the rifle. It isn’t real but a replica. Still cost him a pretty penny though and leaving it here is risky he knows. But he can hardly carry it with him and anyhow the fact it hasn’t been taken and is just as he left it, propped up against the wall, reassures him that he hasn’t been discovered, that nobody knows.
Pushing the rifle hard against his shoulder and crouching he takes up position. Pressing his eye against the telescopic scope he picks out first one shopper, then another, and another. CLICK, CLICK, CLICK.

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9 thoughts on “VANTAGE POINT

  1. I’m sure that, at some point, most of us have felt this urge. The question is, I suppose, what is it that leads us to this point? And what, indeed, leads some to actually act upon it? A fine piece which should lead us to question the society in which we live.

    1. Thanks Chris. I’ve responded to this comment but mistakenly I didn’t hit reply but made a new comment instead, it’s cheeky I know but would you mind clicking on the post again ! Sorry!

    1. Thanks Tony – I wanted to take this character right up to the line but then leave it open as to whether he would actually take that next step.

  2. Thank you, Chris. Sadly there are no easy answers to this but it is undeniable that many people do feel marginalised and their anger escalates and they are very susceptible to acting on it. I was talking with Christine about this and it seems that children with access to guns in the USA are likely to be the perpetrators and the victims and usually male, whereas here guns are used by male adults; for example the incidents in Dunblane, Hungerford and the crimes of Raoul Moat. If our children also had access to guns then no doubt the knife, currently the weapon of choice (or necessity?) would be replaced. Seek out Gary Younge’s book ‘A Day In The Death of America’ which Christine is reading and which I am waiting to read. Again thanks.

    1. I will certainly add this to my ‘to read’ list. I agree that ease of access leads to use, but I feel that things run a lot deeper than this. We seem to have created a society in which violence has become the ‘normal’ (and almost accepted) response to situations, particularly those over which people feel a lack of control. I’m not sure that this can be attributed to any one factor: the removal of levels of discipline, recreational activities (such as computer games) which focus on the individual rather than being social – and indeed are often violent; the fact that in such games death is seen as an inconvenient stumbling block as opposed to a finality; a political system which, for over 30 years has focussed on the individual rather than society as a whole, whilst marginalising the poor (and protecting the wealthy)…
      Each factor – and I’m sure there are more – forms a small part which combine to leave us where we are now. The biggest worry is can we reverse this situation? My fear is that the answer is probably not , partly because to do so would involve a sense of social commitment which we seem to have lost sight of.
      Sorry that I’ve gone on a bit!
      Best to you both.

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