Can I shoot you?

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“Welcome to Murderers Anonymous. My name is Frank and I’m here to help you overcome your habit of killing people.

“Now tonight we’re gonna do things a little differently. We’re still going to talk and share as a group, but first I’ve asked a friend of mine to come and speak to you. His name is Nate, and for years he killed people. But now he’s a changed man and he’s going to tell us his story.”

“Hi everybody, my name is Nate, and I used to kill people. My weapon of choice was a pistol, small, sleek, but deadly accurate. I would take it out and kill whomever I felt like. People didn’t matter to me, they were either moving targets or in my way. I had no regard for others.

“One day I was on the beach. I was shooting at some moving targets, and some of them were shooting back. I got hit a few times, but the wounds weren’t too bad. As I limped back to my car, a target asked me, “Can I shoot you?” Instinctively I raised my gun and was about to pull the trigger when I noticed the target’s camera. I mumbled, “I guess,” and the target followed me to my car, taking photos almost every step.

“That got me thinking, the target asked to shoot me. If I asked to shoot people before I shot them dead, then I couldn’t get in trouble. Targets would stop shooting back when I told them I asked and they said yes.

“I acquired a camera a few days later and went to my favourite hunting ground, the lake. The first target I saw was the same one who asked to shoot me a few days ago. So I walked up  and tapped on the target’s shoulder, “Can I shoot you?” The target turned around and smiled, “Of course,” they replied. It worked, I had permission to kill this target, but… I don’t know what it was, I looked at this person, and hesitated. Instead of reaching for my pistol, I took hold of my camera and tried to take a photo. But there was a problem, I had never used a camera before, so I had no idea how to take a photo. As I was looking at the camera, trying to work out what to do, the person walked over and put their hands gently on the camera. They turned it on, adjusted the settings, took the lens cap off and took a few steps back, “Now try,” they said.

“I took the photo and they walked back to show me how to look at the photo I’d just taken. What I saw was something I’d never seen or felt before. I saw pure beauty in my photo, she was beautiful. Her smile was mesmerising, leading me to the cutest dimple, up to her stunning brown eyes and soft eyebrows. And the way her golden hair framed her face was gorgeous. “Wow, you’re beautiful,” was all I could say. She said thank you and invited me to take photos of the lake with her.

“Amy taught me all about photography that day and I saw so much beauty in the photos we took. They changed my perspective, suddenly the world was amazing, full of colour and all these beautiful people. Amy taught me to see the world differently, and I haven’t touched a pistol since that day. We got married last year and love taking photos together.

“Today I have a challenge for you all. I want you all to get a camera and take some photos. I want you to look at the beauty, uniqueness and inspiration of every single person you see. It’s always there, people are so precious, graceful and amazing.

“Thank you all for listening.”

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