This is my rifle. There were 2.5 million made just like it, but this one is mine.

It came to me recently from a friend who passed on, locked in a cabinet given to me by another good friend, his widow. He received from his father. His father received it from, well, we don’t know. The odds are it came from a World War II veteran in the Pacific Theater, a trophy of war.

It’s an Arisaka Type 99 made between 1939 and about 1941 and one of millions made by the Japanese war machine. It’s a heavy, bolt-action weapon with a five-shot internal magazine. It is clumsy and slow in comparison to today’s modern military weapons.

This was a weapon of war, a seemingly perpetual state for our species in which we try to prove whose God is the most holy, whose thoughts are the most pure and whose politics is best. War is declared by governments, doctrines, theologies and political adherents, but it is always people who fight, die and suffer.

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