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For 4 voices, In 3 movements

Program Notes:

"It is through careful contemplation

that we may find a broader definition of what

it means to be a 'victim.' The Third Law would remind

us that cross-hairs look both ways."

Collateral murder draws from a transcript of a real-life event. While observing leaked video footage of American soldiers committing atrocities during a middle-eastern conflict, I came to an alarming realization. It was a realization that decentralized my sense of self for several days. Somehow, despite the horrific scene, I felt a debilitating sense of grief for both the soldiers and the dead. This piece uses a transcript of the event as a source of dialogue. Performers all speak simultaneously, prompted with written emotions and gestures. The result is occasional cacophony mingled with hazily understood sentence fragments. The performance is just as confusing as the real event.

Performer instructions:

Each voice performs each stanza by reciting all four lines in any order. They end by reciting the line they started with. Pause for a time between each stanza. Anyone may begin the next stanza. Vary the dynamics. Follow the given instructions for each movement.



Okay I got it.

I got a black vehicle under target. 

It's arriving right to the north of the mosque.

Down that road.

It's a guy with a weapon.

There’s a…

There’s about, ah, for or five

One of them has a weapon.

I just estimate there's probably about twenty of them.

That’s a weapon.

He's got a weapon too.

All right, we got a guy with an RPG.

Request permission to engage

You are free to engage.

I'm gonna fire.


No, hold on.

Once you get on 'em just open 'em up.

I can’t get 'em now because they're behind that building.

He was, uh, right in front of the Brad.

You're clear.

Alright, firing. 

Light’em all up

Come on, fire!

Keep shooting

Keep shooting

Keep shooting

Keep shooting



Varying timbres

Alright, we just engaged all eight individuals.

Oops, I'm sorry; what was going on?

All right, (laugh I hit 'em...

We're shooting some more.

Got a bunch of bodies layin' there.

We got about, uh, eight individuals.

Approximately eight individuals, uh KIA.

Oh, yeah, look at those dead.

He's getting up.

Maybe he has a weapon down in his hand?

All you gotta do is pick up a weapon.

If we see a weapon, we're gonna engage

We have individuals going to the scene, looks like possibly uh picking up bodies and weapons.

Let me engage. Come on!

Can I shoot?

Come on, let us shoot!

I'm firing. I got 'em.

I think the van's disabled.

Go ahead and shoot it.

Oh yeah, look at that. Right through the windshield!

Be advised.

There were some guys popping out with AKs behind that dirt pile break.

We also took some RPGs off, uh, earlier.

Make sure your men keep your eyes open.



Location I have about twelve to fifteen dead bodies.

Looks like a kid. Over.

Got that big pile, to the right?

Got that big pile of bodies to the right…?

Bring the trucks in, cordon this area off.

That could help out a lot.

Roger I copy, ground level.

I've got uh eleven Iraqi KIAs

One small child wounded. Over.

We need a… uh, to e-vac this child. 

Ah, she's got a… uh, she's got a wound to the belly.

I can't do anything here; she needs to get e-vac’d.

Oh well.

Well it's their fault for bringing their kids into a battle.

That's right.

We're at the location where Crazyhorse engaged the RPG fire.

Can you tell battalion…

…two civilian children casualties are coming back?

I got a wounded little girl

Bushmaster Six; Hotel Two-Six over.

Roger, that's a negative on the evac of the two, ah, civilian, ah, kids

They're going to have the IPs [Iraqi Police] link up.

IPs will take them up to a local hospital over.

Copy over.

Collateral Murder

November 2015

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