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Sunday, 29 November, 2020

A Tale of Two Snipers

Date: 15 July, 2001

By: Chief

Imagehere is only one reason for a sniper. To kill. To kill by using stealth, cover and concealment. A by-product of using a sniper to kill is to inflict psychological injury on the enemy. There is no other reason. Period.

I know a sniper. I know him very well. We've been friends for as far back as I can remember. My friend, years ago, was recruited by the U.S. Marine Corps after he set a national record with a high power rifle in a 1,000 yard competition. The Corps taught him the 'tricks of the trade' and bestowed upon him the title of sniper. He did his tour of combat duty and was very good at his job. 17 kills, though he does not discuss the matter. He utilized his own rifle. Still has it as a matter of fact.

My friend killed in the name of his country and for his country. It was one of those undeclared wars our government, for no apparent reason, tends to enjoy starting. He once told me "every time you kill, you die a little as well." Apparently war can do that to people. War extracts a terrible cost from its participants, indeed.

But why, you may very well want to know, why do I bring up a friend who was a sniper in combat? The answer is in the last sentence. "A sniper in combat." In other words a member of a military service engaged in combat actions against a foreign country. Against foreign enemy soldiers.

As the title of this paper indicates two snipers, let us move on and discuss the second sniper. This sniper I do not know, though you and I have read a great deal about him. His name is Lon T. Horiuchi. He is a Special Agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the FBI. In the vernacular, he is a federal cop. But Horiuchi does not investigate complaints. Nor does he make arrests. He is a member of the FBI's Hostage Rescue Team (HRT). His job on the team — sniper.

Horiuchi a few years ago, in a foreign country - Idaho - at a place called Ruby Ridge, shot and killed an innocent, unarmed, citizen named Vicki Weaver. Earlier this month (June, 2001) the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal, meeting En Banc, reversed its own decision and stated Horiuchi did not have immunity and as such could be tried for manslaughter. I applaud whole heartedly the court's decision.

A law enforcement officer of any flavor can kill a citizen only if the situation involves the immediate or instant threat of loss of life. Yes, a policeman on the beat and encountering a 'stickup' may have to make a split second decision. Sometimes they are right, sometimes they are wrong. A sniper on the other hand has the utter and complete luxury of stealth, cover and concealment. The 'bad' guys do not know a sniper is there. Hence a sniper does not need to make a split second decision. A sniper has all the time in the world.

In the Ruby Ridge fiasco, as the court record reflects, there was no hostage situation. None. Yet the HRT was called in and used. Used to the hilt. The results speak for themselves; innocent citizens killed = 2 (Vicki Weaver's teenage son who was shot in the back by a U.S. Deputy Marshall). In short, Horiuchi committed murder. Cold blooded, calculated, premeditated murder. As the court record further reflects, there was no immediate or instant threat of loss of life, to anyone. Yet Horiuchi wilfully chose to aim and fire at an innocent, unarmed citizen - Vicki Weaver. Nobody pulled the trigger for him. Nobody threatened him. Horiuchi alone made that decision. Why? I suspect we shall never know.

What transpired up on Ruby Ridge was frontier justice. A remake of the O.K. Corral in the State of Idaho. It truly seems the more civilized we claim ourselves to be, the more brutal we actually are.

Having snipers in our military makes sense. War is the business of killing and conquering. Having snipers within our law enforcement agencies and police departments makes no sense at all. A citizen is:

"Innocent until proven guilty in a court of law."

If there is no imminent threat of loss of life an officer has no need to use deadly force. Besides, how does a law officer make an arrest from 1,000 yards? Send the suspect a telegram? Collect call? How? A sniper's job is simply not to arrest, but to kill. Indeed, to commit murder. Which is exactly what Horiuchi did.

There is, in my opinion, no need for snipers in law enforcement. None whatsoever. There are those however, who shall claim nay. The nay sayers will claim we are risking innocent lives by not having government sponsored and taxpayer funded professional killers as members of law enforcement. To that I say nay. Vicki Weaver was an innocent life, now extinguished. Extinguished by a sniper's bullet. Further I say: snipers and HRTs are a danger. They fall under the heavy hand of government. A toy, so-to-speak, which can be used, at will, by those in positions of power to crush the will of the citizenry. As we have seen, government will stop at nothing to achieve its goals, whatever they may be. Ruby Ridge, Idaho and Waco, Texas are only two examples of many. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Snipers, SWAT units, HRTs have no place in law enforcement and need to be disbanded. Permanently.

The difference between these two snipers, as it should be quite clear to all, is not their 'job description' but their purpose. One killed foreign enemy soldiers during war. The other killed ... an innocent American citizen within the boundaries of the United States, land of the free, home of the brave.

Having the power to kill with impunity is a power which most people can not handle. It is, to be sure, a very demanding 'genie in the lamp'. It is also the one genie which we do not want released. For once released it can never be placed back into its lamp.

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