Nick “Irv” Irving had never taken a human life when his platoon sergeant took him to one side. “After you kill a man,” said the NCO, “there’s no other feeling like it. Mark my words. You won’t want to do any hunting again. The excitement of that will be gone. You won’t find any joy in it. Once you kill a man, you can’t replace that feeling.”
Later, in Iraq, Irv was on the .50 caliber machine gun in a column of Stryker armored vehicles outside of Ramallah. On Route Tampa, the sun had just climbed above the horizon when a car sped past them at 70 mph. “If this guy turns around and approaches us at that same rate of speed,” said Irv’s supervisor, “take him out.” Irv Wondered: If it was that easy?