And somewhere some hapless rag head goes to pick his 72 raisins.
The gunnies are all doing a standing ovation and as they should, I suppose.
Carefully not being said is the amount of random, chit house luck
that played into the shot.
Carefully not mentioned are the ethics of the profession.
As I get older and think more, the more I tend to try and look past the cheering of the mob. Or their rage. When I do that I see things they don't - or won't.
In the real world the effectiveness of these guns starts to fall off drastically at around 1200 yards, give or take a bit either way depending on what cartridge and ballistics we're talking about. Range and wind estimation become absolutely critical when bullets go subsonic. Even with the miniscule amount of error inherent in today's laser range finding technologies (probably somewhere +/- 0.1% of reading)...at 3400 meters that's enough to produce a clean miss. Air density has a huge effect on accuracy at extreme range and if you take the readings for your density off the best instruments possible - you have another induced error large enough to produce a miss. And so it goes - microscopic instrument induced errors are multiplicative, not additive, and they should have produced a miss. Add in the unseen whorls and eddies of winds as they set up lenticulars around objects and terrain - and making a shot like this, even for the best marksmen - becomes the same proposition as winning the lottery. I'm not trying to take anything away from the squaddie, I am trying to put this shot in a realistic perspective.
I was fortunate enough to have grown up around some Canadian vets of the world wars as a kid. My wife's grandfather was one of those Canadian kids that hit the beaches on D-Day and slogged his way across Europe for the remainder of the war as a medic. During idle chatter one day I told him I would have loved to have been a sniper in that conflict (hey - I was still a kid back then) ... and I was astonished when his face darkened. He was ordinarily a happy and chipper man but my comment just ticked him right off. 'You would NOT have wanted to be a sniper," he said. It almost took a crow bar, but I eventually got his take on it: snipers kill men like kids with a 22 kill gophers. They are hated and loathed by the infantry with the heat of 1000 suns. Pretty much anyone that comes under fire from a sniper learns to hate them too - for obvious reasons. They shoot from hidden positions and kill without any honour whatsoever - if such a thing is possible in war.
Accurate shooting is not hard. It's merely a matter of practice and training. Both the Russians and Israelis have produced female snipers that can take most of us fellas to the woodshed. The rag heads are training children that can do it. The trick in sniper work is not making the shot - it's in getting away afterward. The Wife's granddad told me that if he and his squaddies ever caught a sniper they would gun him down in cold blood and leave him for the crows - rules and regs be damned. I saw that man's face when he said it - and I believe him.
I would like to congratulate our marksman along with everyone else. I love the squaddies whether they are United States Marines or Canadian Princess Pats - so I want to add some apologies along with my congrats.
I'm sorry that we had to put you and your comrades in a situation where you had to do stuff like this, kid. And, for gawdsakes - the moral and ethical problems that go along with what you did lie with we the people, not you the soldier. I say this not to ruin your day - I say this because one day you will be an old fart that thinks too much too.