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Sun Feb 3, 2013, 04:42 PM

What type of person does it take to be a sniper??

Obviously not someone that has a lot of respect for life, so long as the person they are killing is the "enemy". The "enemy" is non-human. I'm sure there are many rationalizations before they pull the trigger? They are doing it for their country. They are only killing them before they kill you or your friends. That is the nature of "war". They will sleep like a baby after a good head shot. Have you ever wondered what it takes to be a sniper?

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Reply What type of person does it take to be a sniper?? (Original post)
kentuck Feb 2013 OP
liberalmuse Feb 2013 #1
11 Bravo Feb 2013 #2
WinkyDink Feb 2013 #43
Ian David Feb 2013 #3
kentuck Feb 2013 #4
Ian David Feb 2013 #23
coalition_unwilling Feb 2013 #26
RC Feb 2013 #49
davidn3600 Feb 2013 #57
hlthe2b Feb 2013 #5
The Straight Story Feb 2013 #6
FarCenter Feb 2013 #7
cynatnite Feb 2013 #8
X_Digger Feb 2013 #9
JI7 Feb 2013 #12
cynatnite Feb 2013 #13
Drunken Irishman Feb 2013 #32
TheMadMonk Feb 2013 #55
Hoyt Feb 2013 #10
bluedigger Feb 2013 #11
NightWatcher Feb 2013 #14
obamanut2012 Feb 2013 #21
coalition_unwilling Feb 2013 #27
Lady Freedom Returns Feb 2013 #28
coalition_unwilling Feb 2013 #29
Lady Freedom Returns Feb 2013 #30
NightWatcher Feb 2013 #33
kestrel91316 Feb 2013 #37
bluestate10 Feb 2013 #42
sarisataka Feb 2013 #15
Lady Freedom Returns Feb 2013 #16
cherokeeprogressive Feb 2013 #38
Lady Freedom Returns Feb 2013 #39
WinkyDink Feb 2013 #44
cherokeeprogressive Feb 2013 #40
Lady Freedom Returns Feb 2013 #41
nenagh Feb 2013 #47
Lady Freedom Returns Feb 2013 #50
nenagh Feb 2013 #56
Lady Freedom Returns Feb 2013 #58
Posteritatis Feb 2013 #17
bluestate10 Feb 2013 #45
libtodeath Feb 2013 #18
obamanut2012 Feb 2013 #19
obamanut2012 Feb 2013 #20
Cali_Democrat Feb 2013 #22
jazzimov Feb 2013 #24
Spider Jerusalem Feb 2013 #25
oneshooter Feb 2013 #60
Peregrine Feb 2013 #31
Deep13 Feb 2013 #34
shcrane71 Feb 2013 #35
Oakenshield Feb 2013 #36
bmbmd Feb 2013 #46
treestar Feb 2013 #48
Bosso 63 Feb 2013 #51
XemaSab Feb 2013 #52
Tierra_y_Libertad Feb 2013 #53
southernyankeebelle Feb 2013 #54
AzSweet Feb 2013 #59

Response to kentuck (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 04:47 PM

1. Well...

I posted something that even surprised me on a comments section. It was pretty cold and callous, and I'm not proud of it. I guess I'm tired of gun worshipers and their "heroes". The scientist or doctor working in a lab to help cure a disease is a hero. Someone with a large body count due to being blessed with the ability to scope a living, breathing, moving target with their weapon and pull a trigger at a distance is not. And if you take a soldier with PTSD to a gun range, even this civilian (who was once military) could tell you that it may not end well. Why would someone who wants to help soldiers take them to a gun range? Flame away. It's a legitimate question that my mind is unable to reconcile, so any thoughts would be welcome.

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Response to kentuck (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 04:51 PM

2. One of my nieces just married a Marine sniper who did two tours in Afghanistan.

He seems like a really nice, normal kid. If I didn't already know, I would have never guessed his background.

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Response to 11 Bravo (Reply #2)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 07:21 PM

43. Why are we there, again?

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Response to kentuck (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 04:52 PM

3. That's the idealized version of a sniper.

I suspect the real life version is more like the Vietcong sniper in Full Metal Jacket.

Remember when the sniper deliberately wounded someone so they could take shots at anyone trying to rescue them?

NSFW:

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Response to Ian David (Reply #3)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 04:55 PM

4. As I recall...

The sniper was a young teenage girl?

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Response to kentuck (Reply #4)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 05:59 PM

23. Yep. n/t

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Response to kentuck (Reply #4)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 06:13 PM

26. Kubrick thereby explains in a single cinematic scene why a

 

rag-tag body of irregulars was able to unleash a can of whoop-ass on the world's most powerful military.

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Response to coalition_unwilling (Reply #26)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 08:13 PM

49. That and the fact they were defending their country from ruthless invaders, who too often

 

had a problem with telling local men with weapons shooting at them, from the local women and children just trying to live their lives and survive, as best they could in the middle of a war they did not start.
We seem to keep forgetting that all too often, we are the uninvited invaders into their country. So, yeah, they have a little added incentive to fight a little harder to defeat THEIR enemy (US) and drive them out.

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Response to RC (Reply #49)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 09:25 PM

57. Urban warfare is ugly for any army

We're not really any better at it than any other country. The Soviets got their butts kicked in Afghanistan.

Invading armies usually have the huge disadvantage. And when the population is opposing the invaders too...it's damn near impossible to hold the territory for very long.

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Response to kentuck (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 04:55 PM

5. This is tough, because the natural extension of this is the bomber pilot...

whose distance from the damage wrought by the bombs dropped makes denial of the impacts or the inevitable civilian casualties a bit easier, I should think.... Even more so, the new breed of drone pilot thousands of miles away, watching only from satellite feeds.

But, no, I haven't even wanted to think what it takes to be a sniper. But, we have them in the military, in the secret service, in police swat forces throughout the country... And, I'd imagine many instances when we would be glad they are there.

The leading reason I don't want a gun is the possibility of having to live with taking a life--and quite possibly an "innocent" life. So, no, I don't know how I could rationalize it on a regular basis. I'm glad I personally haven't had to find out.

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Response to kentuck (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 04:58 PM

6. Killing others from a distance. Drones. Our government in general.

What kind of person does it take to order strikes on people they never even see - and then have them cover it up the way Yemen did for the US by claiming it was them doing it to take the heat off of us?

I worry less about the individual sniper and more about the larger collective who orders such strikes as those mentioned.

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Response to kentuck (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 05:20 PM

7. One who scores high on Concientiousness and low on Neuroticism and Tender-Mindedness

One who carefully plans an approach, stalks the target, and has a planned retreat to safety. One who endures the difficulty of patient movement in concealment with great fortitude and who does not become anxious when in danger, but coolly completes the mission and escapes. One who does not have qualms about killing when the opportunity is right.

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Response to kentuck (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 05:24 PM

8. You could apply that to anyone who joins the military and picks up a weapon...

The problem here is that you are making an assumption based on nothing other than your idealized version or some movie you saw.

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Response to cynatnite (Reply #8)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 05:25 PM

9. +1 n/t

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Response to cynatnite (Reply #8)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 05:31 PM

12. many join the military because lack of other options, Jessica Lynch joined as a way to

help her pay for college .

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Response to JI7 (Reply #12)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 05:32 PM

13. I joined for a job so I could support my daughter when she was small. n/t

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Response to JI7 (Reply #12)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 06:30 PM

32. My dad joined because of a deteriorating atmosphere at home.

He was sixteen. His mom signed off on it and by eighteen, he was serving in the jungles of Vietnam.

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Response to cynatnite (Reply #8)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 08:54 PM

55. And the difference between us and them is the Berring Sea.

 

The simple truth is, killing another human being is not an enormously difficult thing. Like almost all of human behaviour it's a learned skill. The existence of the Roman Empire, not to mention a few others before and since, owed their esistence to it being a learned skill.

All it ever takes is to think of people as things.

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Response to kentuck (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 05:26 PM

10. I can usually -- not always, like My Lai -- accept what someone has to do in military, but promotion


and celebration of guns, and callousness here at home, is very difficult for me to understand.

What bothers me most is some yahoo who intentionally buys a "sniper" rifle or other lethal weapon in this country and practices with it, even with targets that resemble people.

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Response to kentuck (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 05:29 PM

11. I've known a couple, but not well.

I'd say a sniper needs to be cold, calculating, self-sufficient, unassuming, stoic, and above all, patient. They tend to be independent operators more than leaders, and are generally pretty humble people that avoid the limelight.

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Response to kentuck (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 05:33 PM

14. So now we're hating on our soldiers?

A sniper does his job, just like a tank driver or the guy who slops the food.

Snipers often double as recon agents and bring back intel that saves other soldiers. Snipers are some of the toughest, best trained people you will ever meet. Snipers also work in defense positions providing cover for other troops to move. Snipers also guard targets. The Secret Service hires snipers to guard our President. Capitol Police have a highly skilled sniper division.

Snipers often work alone or with a scout deep behind enemy territory with no backup. Snipers die fighting for us.

Please stop shitting on the troops unless you're going to sign up and put your ass on the line.

(Oh yes, I used to work and train with snipers and have known a few)

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Response to NightWatcher (Reply #14)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 05:57 PM

21. Yes, in several threads

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Response to NightWatcher (Reply #14)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 06:16 PM

27. This isn't a simple sniper. This is someone who publicly touted his

 

body count and went about (in print) puffing his chest at his kill ratio.

Come on, it's not 'shitting on the troops' to call out this kind of assholery. And it's not 'hating on our soldiers' to condemn such bullshit.

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Response to coalition_unwilling (Reply #27)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 06:24 PM

28. Then the OP should have pointed that one case out.

It sounds to much like a generalization of Military Snipers.

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Response to Lady Freedom Returns (Reply #28)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 06:26 PM

29. Oh, FFS, the entire thrust of this thread and of DU today has been

 

about Kyle, so I don't think it was incumbent upon the OP to detail it.

More to the point, the person claiming the OP was 'shitting on soliders' is engaging the same old tired stab-in-the-back bullshit that the right wing and its acolytes have been using ever since Vietnam (and, really, ever since the 'Who lost China?' seeds of McCarthyism.) It's really disgusting to see it rearing its tired, decrepit head on a so-called progressive board.

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Response to coalition_unwilling (Reply #29)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 06:28 PM

30. Still should have pointed it out. n/t

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Response to Lady Freedom Returns (Reply #28)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 06:30 PM

33. a generalization of the military and those who fight and die so others can type bullshit at home

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Response to coalition_unwilling (Reply #27)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 06:46 PM

37. Agreed. It's one thing to be a sniper and simply do one's job and be done with it.

It's another thing entirely to BRAG about it, especially when it involves killing in such a deliberate way.

It's the self-aggrandizement and puffery that bothers me about this guy. Not the fact that he did his job well.

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Response to coalition_unwilling (Reply #27)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 07:20 PM

42. He also helped disabled soldiers and died doing that. I had never heard of the guy before

his death, but when I read about his recent pursuits helping disabled soldiers get back into society, I was ok with him.

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Response to kentuck (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 05:37 PM

15. The snipers I have known were well adjusted

fairly normal guys. i have known both police and military. They like discussing ammo choices, weather conditions- all the technical stuff. Those who never have had to fire on a person sincerely hope to never have to do it.
Those who have shot, and are willing to talk, uniformly mention two things. One is, as you mentioned, by killing one they are saving many; it is the lesser of two evils. The second is mentioned by another poster. Looking through the scope helps to dehumanize the target. It makes the shooting more of an exercise in mechanics than taking a life.
One man I met before his retirement had been a sniper in Viet Nam. He talked a lot about the necessity of killing in war, it is not something to enjoy and so on. One thing I always remember, when he spoke of hand to hand combat with VC during Tet- "Killing at a distance is really easy. Taking the life of someone up close, where you see his eyes... that is a real mother fucker." We wrapped up soon after that.

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Response to kentuck (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 05:38 PM

16. My experience..

The type that will hold you tight and cry with you when the vet comes and tells you they did all they could.
The type that has gone without smokes to afford a cheep little covenant store necklace for Valentines day.
The type that has gave his day's worth of food to a old homeless woman.
The type that no animal and no kid can resist coming up to.
The type that has my back no mater what.
The type that wakes up in the middle of the night drenched in a cold sweet remembering doing his service to this country.

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Response to Lady Freedom Returns (Reply #16)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 06:57 PM

38. Poignant.

If your experience is a recent one, and you are still in contact with him, tell him the haters can't help themselves.

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Response to cherokeeprogressive (Reply #38)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 07:03 PM

39. He is my husband. n/t

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Response to Lady Freedom Returns (Reply #39)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 07:26 PM

44. It's the "waking up in a cold sweat" that should give us all pause.

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Response to Lady Freedom Returns (Reply #16)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 07:08 PM

40. Then as far as I'm concerned, yours is the definitive answer in this thread.

Thank him for me.

Oops, this should be under your post 39. My bad.

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Response to cherokeeprogressive (Reply #40)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 07:13 PM

41. Will do! n/t

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Response to Lady Freedom Returns (Reply #16)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 08:02 PM

47. Beautifully written, thank you..Lady Freedom Returns...

And thank your husband...children and dogs know the real person, don't they..

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Response to nenagh (Reply #47)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 08:21 PM

50. Real easy to write when my my topic is sitting right next to me!

Just have to look over to get inspired. And I will pass along the thank you.

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Response to Lady Freedom Returns (Reply #50)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 09:21 PM

56. I think the two of you are inspiring... :)

ps.. Highly recommended to reduce stress.. 'Misty's Pups Webcam'..the puppies are being raised in the Warrior Canine Connection program.. and will be trained as therapy dogs for Wounded Warriors... but at the moment they are 5 weeks old and a litterbox challenged group.... .

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Response to nenagh (Reply #56)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 09:29 PM

58. Thank you.

And I will check that out!

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Response to kentuck (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 05:43 PM

17. The wording of your question suggests you'd reject answers that disagree with you. (nt)

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Response to Posteritatis (Reply #17)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 07:28 PM

45. That was pretty much my conclusion. A question from a poster when that person already

know the answers that will be accepted unchallenged.

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Response to kentuck (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 05:51 PM

18. I could not do it

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Response to kentuck (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 05:56 PM

19. You can say that about anyone who joins the military

If you are insistent on using that logic.

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Response to kentuck (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 05:57 PM

20. They have to be good at math

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Response to kentuck (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 05:58 PM

22. Don't blame the sniper, blame the government that ordered him to kill.

The sniper is just doing what he's told.

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Response to kentuck (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 06:00 PM

24. I think a better question is

what kind of person can they become after they return to civilian life.

Having been in the service (although luckily never having been deployed), I can only tell you what went through my mind as I was shooting at those silhouette targets and imagining if they were real people. It is nothing as you describe, and I can assure you that I have a deep respect for life. I don't even hunt.

I can tell you that to become a sniper, one must have extreme patience - which can be very useful in the civilian workplace. Also, they must be able to do hundreds of calculations in their heads; taking into account distance, multiple wind speeds, rate of descent of the bullet, etc. Also, if they miss on the first shot (as is fairly common) they must be able to make adjustments immediately. These are also traits that can be very useful in the workplace.

The mindset of "once a killer always a killer" is very counter-productive. People can - and constantly do - change.

The government funded by taxpayers honed these people's skills and taught them how to become efficient killers. Once they return to civilian life, shouldn't that same government undo what they did, and teach them how to become constructive members of society? Including understanding what these people have been through and treating them for mental health issues that the government may have inadvertently inflicted on them by exposing them to the horrors of war?

I will not deny that there are some who glorify killing. But they are the minority. And they do not represent the tenets of our military.

If we are to say that we care about people, then we should care about ALL people - even those we have taught to kill in order to save the lives of others.

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Response to kentuck (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 06:12 PM

25. Calm, focused, methodical, patient and very self-contained.

Many of the "best" military snipers came from rural backgrounds where they learnt to shoot from a very early age and had to engage in subsistence hunting to help feed their families, learning to make every shot count.

As far as psychology goes? Snipers are apparently much less likely to dehumanise the enemy. This, for instance:

But a study into snipers in Israel has shown that snipers are much less likely than other soldiers to dehumanise their enemy in this way.

Part of the reason for this may be that snipers can see their targets with great clarity and sometimes must observe them for hours or even days.

"It's killing that is very distant but also very personal," says anthropologist Neta Bar. "I would even say intimate."

(snip)

What she found was that while many Israeli soldiers would refer to Palestinian militants as "terrorists", snipers generally referred to them as human beings.

"The Hebrew word for human being is Son of Adam and this was the word they used by far more than any other when they talked about the people that they killed," she says.

Snipers almost never referred to the men they killed as targets, or used animal or machine metaphors. Some interviewees even said that their victims were legitimate warriors.

"Here is someone whose friends love him and I am sure he is a good person because he does this out of ideology," said one sniper who watched through his scope as a family mourned the man he had just shot. "But we from our side have prevented the killing of innocents, so we are not sorry about it."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-16544490


And snipers are apparently much less likely than other soldiers to suffer PTSD.

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Response to Spider Jerusalem (Reply #25)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 10:08 PM

60. You mean like this smiling fellow?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simo_H%C3%A4yh%C3%A4

505 kills in 100 days.

When asked if he regretted killing so many people, he said, "I only did my duty, and what I was told to do, as well as I could."

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Response to kentuck (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 06:28 PM

31. The most common target of a sniper is

an enemy sniper.

Mario Cuomo once said that the greatest sacrifice by a soldier was not giving his/her life for this country, but it was the killing of another person. This he said, changes a person for the rest of his/her life.

With your comments you denigrate thousands of people who have returned from war and tried to live an average life. After more than 40 years, my brother still has bad times as a result of Vietnam. And he was in signal intelligence, only shooting to protect his installation from attack.

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Response to kentuck (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 06:32 PM

34. A very calm and relaxed one.

Over a distance, a target in the rifle scope appears to move around almost randomly because of vibrations transmitted to the rifle by the shooter. One must be relaxed and in control of his breathing to minimize that.

As far as the moral implications, history suggests that it is pretty easy for a person to get used to killing.

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Response to kentuck (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 06:37 PM

35. How many rich people's children become snipers?

My parents and grandparents tried to hide the newspaper clippings of my father's tour of service in Vietnam from his children. My grandmother forbade us from rummaging through the contents of a hope chest where she kept the clippings. Being onery children, we looked. Once we realized that Dad had killed so many people, we started to cry.

My father advocates for the total ban of all guns in America. He's a true patriot. I'm proud of him. He has the utmost respect for life. This original post lacks empathy for young people who are put or find themselves in war zones.

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Response to kentuck (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 06:43 PM

36. This Comes Down To Human Nature In My Opinion

You're essentially asking what does it takes for a person to kill another human being. Honestly the answer is more or less "killer instinct", and it's an instinct we all have to some extent. On top of a great control of this instinct I imagine snipers are also very patient and methodical.

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Response to kentuck (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 07:39 PM

46. You know what? He was a patriot.

and I thank him for his service. I mourn his loss.

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Response to kentuck (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 08:04 PM

48. War is a terrible thing

But until we can get rid of it, there's no point in aiming at the people having to carry it out.

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Response to kentuck (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 08:30 PM

51. Patient.

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Response to kentuck (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 08:37 PM

52. My roommate's boyfriend was a sniper

In Sarajevo. During the war.

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Response to kentuck (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 08:46 PM

53. The type that is willing to kill other human beings because the bosses tell him to.

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Response to kentuck (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 08:48 PM

54. I don't understand the glorifing a snipper as a hero. He is doing a job that had to

 

be done I guess. But writing a book and be proud you killed others just doesn't seem right to me. I don't know why in the heck he would take a soldier who had PTSD to a gun range.

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Response to kentuck (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 09:38 PM

59. One of the most ...

uninformed, uncompassionate, idiotic posts I've ever seen here...My husband was a sniper in Viet Nam...a self described "big dumb kid from California"....do you think he never struggled with what the government trained him to do in war? Do you think it didnt take him years to reconcile his soul? I dont think we should have been there, and am among those that think war is a huge racket....but dont disrespect those that did as they were trained, and who thought they were there protecting US...Flag me if you want...but fuck you!

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