Senior Project Paper


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Senior Project Paper

  1. 1. Phillips 1Austin PhillipsMaxwellBritish LiteratureSeptember 30, 2011 Sniper: The Silent Long Range Killer “One shot, one kill” is the motto of every long range sharpshooter foreign and domestic.The history of snipers is different in each branch of the military and in the police force.Although they may have different backgrounds and different histories they are still more closelyrelated to each other than most other jobs with the same title, such as manager or officer. Amilitary and police sniper is the same in many ways yet are still completely different in how theyoperate. The most amazing part of any sniper, whether foreign or domestic, police or military, istheir ability to solve a complex mathematical equations in matter of seconds and it be completelyaccurate or for their case be right on target. The swat sniper or really the swat team in general is still a new program to the policeforce. It was started only fifty years ago and still has to improve greatly. Not to say that theswat team has not come a long way, they have gone from just a first response team with greaterfirepower to that and a hostage response team and much more. The swat sniper may be a fairlynew division but the military sniper has been around for hundreds of years. The history of snipers says that they first appeared in World War I, and to so extent thatis correct. Really the sniper was first used in the Revolutionary war as a colonist that had areally sharp shot. This gave them advantage over the British because they could shoot fromgreater distances and only had to aim for generals or important figures in the British army, whereas a British soldier could only shoot about half that distance and had to aim for the other soldiers
  2. 2. Phillips 2that were firing back at them. Although back then they were not called snipers, they were calledsharpshooters. The sniper did not get his name until the First World War, and they were namedafter a bird called the snipe. The snipe is a wading bird renowned for being the hardest of allbirds to hunt due to being difficult to locate, impossible to approach without flushing, or to hitonce in the air due to its erratic flight (Mike Hanlon). Since then Snipers have been used inevery war since then as a one man team to take out the key figures of the enemy and gatherintelligence. The snipers appeared to be one of the most important factors at the battlefield(Marija Mitrevska). Then during the Vietnam War the one man team turned into a two manteam, a shooter and a spotter. Spotters are now one of the most important key factors to a sniping team. These are thepeople behind most of the math that goes into every shot. They are the ones that calculate therange, wind direction and speed, the drop of the bullet and the size of the target. They have allthose factors to consider and on top of that they also have to watch the bullet once it is shot anddetermine if it was a hit or miss. The spotter can track the shot by watching for that vapor trail,an Army Ranger Sniper says, "It just looks like mixed up air. You can see through it, but you seethe distortion" (Robert Valdes). If it is a miss then he has to recalculate and tell the shooter howto fix his scope so that it will hit the intended target. Spotters are also helpful on the intelligencegathering missions because the two can take turns using the spotter scope to spy on the enemy,this is to avoid eye fatigue and allows one team member to rest while the other watches(RobertValdes). This is more in the military then in the police force because the military missions areover long periods of time. Once the sniper became an important factor in war overseas, people decided that theyneed them for domestic problems as well, thus the police sniper was created. Now when the
  3. 3. Phillips 3police need help they have to call on the swat, and when the swat needs help they call on theirsnipers (60 Minutes). Although certain people have argued that having the police snipers hasmade the police department more and more dependable on them. Even though Rodriguez, apolice sniper, says “The goal is always to not have anyone injured or killed. I think what youstart to reach in that gray area is how much risk are you going to allow the hostages to remain inon the hopes of you will have a negotiated settlement.” Then continues to say, “Everybody says,When you fire your weapon, somebodys going to die. Thats not correct. When I fire a weapon,somebodys going to live. That may be through the death of somebody else, but thats a farremoved change from Lord High Executioner” (60 Minutes). Liked or not, the sniper is an amazing team of very smart men or women. Whenwatching television and movies all people see is the guy look through the scope, see the target,and shoot, but really there is a lot more to a shot then just point and shoot. Actually half the timemost snipers will not see the target in his crosshairs. This is because he has to take inconsideration wind resistance, bullet drop, weight of bullet, and movement of both rifle andtarget, and truthfully that is not even half of the factors that a sniper and spotter has to take intoconsideration. Although there are three main factors that they have to consider if nothing else.First is the wind resistance of three different places, one is the wind resistance where they are setup, second is the wind resistance where the target is, and finally the wind between the both thesniper and the target. Second factor is the bullet; they have to know the weight, size, bulletpowder ratios, rotational spin, and the force of gravity on the bullet before it can leave the barrelof the rifle. Third, they have to consider movement. Not just the recoil of the gun but also themovement that the target might make between firing the rifle and hitting the target.
  4. 4. Phillips 4 Even though ever sniper, both military and police, have many things in common like theequations they have to figure out and the factors that they have to consider, but they are twocompletely different departments. The big thing that separates both departments is their trainingthat they have to endure. The military has to go through many more weeks of vigorous andtough training then a police sniper go through. Another thing that separates the two snipers is thecamouflage that they use. The police sniper is still in either their police uniform or swatuniform, where as the military has the gillie suit, the gillie suit is basically old military uniformsthat snipers modify for their special purpose (Robert Valdes). The final thing that is an obviousdifference is military snipers is long term observation missions they are sent on, where policesnipers only observe the certain situation that they are in for a short period of time. As said, even though they may have their differences they still are alike in many waysthat people would even think about. For example, both military and police snipers are side jobs.Neither of them are full time jobs; they both are just attachments to either the infantry, for themilitary, or the swat, for the police department. Another big example that is both the sniper andspotter have to have a brotherhood like relationship with each other. This is because the sniperhas to trust their spotter with their life because one of the jobs of the spotter is to protect theshooter and the team (Robert Valdes). They also have to have this relationship is the two dependon each other for survival (Robert Valdes). The key to becoming a great sniper is not the person’s accuracy, not the teamwork, andnot the stealth; it’s the fact of whether or not they can survive. Yes all of those things areimportant and are helpful, but in the long run a great sniper does not happen after one mission.Snipers are the ones that go far into enemy lines and have to infiltrate enemy compounds, and allof this with just the equipment that they have with them. They have no help waiting for them to
  5. 5. Phillips 5call and they have no back up to finish the job while they escape. Their missions are either passor fail, and most of the time failing is not an option that they have, because if they fail they runthe risk of death or capture. On top of all of this, the enemies know to look out for them on thebattlefield; the sniper has a higher bounty over their heads then most generals. Even after all of the training that they endure and all of the pressure that they are under,the military and police snipers still go out and do their job. They may run the risk of neverreturning home or being captured and tortured for information, but they know that what they aredoing is not only helping even the battle field but it is also saving thousands of people in the longrun. Plus not only are they saving lives but they are also saving the Government millions ofdollars. This is a fact, because when a soldier fires his weapon it could take a whole sixteenround magazine to kill a target, whereas it only takes one shot for a sniper. Thats a cost-difference of $23,000 per kill for the average soldier, vs. $0.17 per kill for the military sniper(Rod Powers).