The Sniper

The Sniper
Letter Assignment
On TV, in movies, or in video games, the dead bodies are left behind as the hero goes on
to the next action-packed adventure. In real life, there is an aftermath of killing because the real
consequence of a violent act is the suffering of human beings left behind in the loss of a loved
Your assignment is to pretend that you are the sniper, realizing that the ‘enemy’ you have
just killed is your brother. Write a letter to your mother explaining what happened. Consider
your dedication to your cause, how you came to be on opposite sides, and especially the feelings
of a mother and her sons. Your letter must keep in the voice of the sniper. Try to express
genuine feelings.
One page, hand-written, no skipping lines
Informal letter
February 18, 1922
Dear Mother,
The war has been affecting me both mentally and physically. I feel like I’m broken,
split in half and hurting. I now have fears of killing, but in the moment with the revolver in my
hand, with a serious wound to my right arm, I had to fight back. I had to do what’s right for
Ireland, what’s best for you.
A couple of days ago, I was on the rooftop of a five storey building. I knew there was
a sniper trying to get me on a nearby roof because he had shot at me when I tried to light a
cigarette, so I had to be careful. An armored car rolled by and I was able to kill both the gunner
in the turret and the informant speaking with him. In the middle of the action, I was shot in the
right arm and suffered a serious wound. But you know that your Danny is not one to be picked
off so easily. I faked my death, lured him into sight and shot him with my revolver. He fell
down onto O’Connell street below, right in front of your favourite supermarket. He landed with
a sickening thud and I felt like I might be ill.
I had never done something like this before; I felt like I needed to see the man I had
killed. I risked my life, dodging machine-gun bullets to simply look him in the face. Oh
mother, when I turned him over, Ronnie looked back at me. My tears did not allow me to see
anymore, but I know for sure that I killed my own brother, you eldest son, and now I don’t
know what to do. I don’t know if you knew, but Ronnie had split from the Republicans not too
long ago and I hadn’t heard from him since. Why must the Irish kill themselves like this?
I am sorry mother. I love you. Please forgive me.