Friday, May 30, 2003

Sniping at Muhammed

I fail to see the problem with seeking the death penalty in the case of John Allen Muhammad. It should not be important whether or not he pulled the trigger to kill any of the victims. News reports consistently referred to Muhammad as an army trained sniper. Well why not check the regulations governing snipers?

Under the heading of "Organization" we learn that:
b. Snipers work and train in 2-man teams. One sniper's primary duty is that of the sniper and team leader while the other sniper serves as the observer. The sniper team leader is responsible for the day-to-day activities of the sniper team.
In other words according to his training, snipers operate in teams. Each one is an essential component of the team. Specifically,
Each member of the sniper team has specific responsibilities. Only through repeated practice can the team begin to function properly. Responsibilities of team members areas follows:

a. The sniper--

Builds a steady, comfortable position.
Locates and identifies the designated target.
Estimates the range to the target.
Dials in the proper elevation and windage to engage the target.
Notifies the observer of readiness to fire.
Takes aim at the designated target.
Controls breathing at natural respiratory pause.
Executes proper trigger control.
Follows through.
Makes an accurate and timely shot call.
Prepares to fire subsequent shots, if necessary.
b. The observer--

Properly positions himself.
Selects an appropriate target.
Assists in range estimation.
Calculates the effect of existing weather conditions on ballistics.
Reports sight adjustment data to the sniper.
Uses the M49 observation telescope for shot observation.
Critiques performance.
The way John Allen Muhammad learned how to shoot, was in two man teams. He was an essential component to the commission of the crime. I fail to see why the question of whether or not he pulled the trigger is relevant. He should be subject to the needle if he is convicted.