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#2. They wouldn’t need to shoot people in the leg if only they would have open borders!

I think their aim is to keep expanding settlements until there is no more border.

Re #2: Apparently very easy.

Bona Fides, I've recieved sniper training from the US Army, and ran a team on deployment. So here goes.......Yes. It's a fairly difficult shot. Appendages and heads move much quicker than the torso can, which is why center mass shots are so common in training. Add in the distance, at 400-500 meters, there is about a half-second of bullet travel time, and a walking leg moves a lot in a half-second. Then there's wind, anything from a ten-inch adjustment to several feet to account for. Bullet drop is going to be 3-6 feet from the zero point, depending on what range the zero is at.

If I were to go, in the prime of my shooting days, and attempt to shoot a moving man in the leg at 500 meters, I'd give myself no more than a 20% chance of hitting the shot. Too much can go wrong, too much that is beyond even what the shooter can correct for. Windage, steadiness and drop is what the shooter controls, but if the guy steps on a stone and falters, there goes the shot. A stationary leg-sized target at that distance would be simple. It's the motion, and the inherent instability of that motion that make it a tough shot.

Tarrou, I just saw your comment, and found it very educational, and even moving.

The sniper story was well-written and engaging, but I wasn't aware of the practice it describes and I find it pretty difficult to defend.

Usually I count myself as an Israeli apologist. I think it's fine to build the fence, and to bomb the hell out of Gaza when they lob missiles at you. But to shoot people who are outside of your own territory, merely walking near the border and gathering information, is not okay. Would it be okay for the Gazans to fire on people on the Israeli side who are, after all, looking across the border into Gaza to gather intelligence in exactly the same way? Would it have been okay for the East Germans to fire on anyone in West Berlin who took a picture of the wall?

This is not a boxing match. The war is eternal and conducted simultaneously at multiple levels. In particular, as the Gazans in question are attempting to gather information to attack Israel, yes, it's OK for Israelis to shoot them. As Israel gathers intelligence in order to prevent Gazans from attacking them, no it's not OK for the Gazans to shoot.

If it's not a boxing match why so finicky about only shooting at the leg?

I'm kind of with you, but there is such thing as a "no-man's land" at a border. Of course this is complicated by the fact that it's not a real border (yet, we hope). Yeah, my training and inclination says if there's a reason to send a man to shoot another man, there's reason to kill him, otherwise don't do it.

Were they shooting through the fence? Or from above it from higher ground? Doesn't a fence, even if barbed wire or mesh, interfere with a sniper shot?

This whole thing runs against my "only shoot if you are shooting to kill" philosophy, but if you are trying for non-lethal wounding, how about starting by shooting the ground near them?

Yeah, you still have ricochets and all the other things that go into "only shoot if you are shooting to kill" but we've tossed that.

"Then, Barry stands up, and this time we are on."

If you take this as a post about ( which is very to do) how difficult it is for a Sniper to shoot someone in the leg, the Sniper is shooting at a Man Standing, in this case. In other cases described, they are standing still or, at the fastest, sauntering. The Targets, also hard to write, can't even see the Snipers, let alone have any means of harming them. These are trained marksmen who have the time to take multiple shots at the legs. I don't see how this can be described as hard.

But maybe the Question is not quite as posed, or meant to be: Is it hard to shoot another human being? And, when you are doing so, is it hard to perfectly focus? I admit to not knowing, but that seems like to me like a more important Question to be asked and answered, and it's the main one posed in the post since the post is from the point of view of the Sniper.

There is a very good reason to read this post, but it has nothing to do with Marksmanship. If you can manage to empathize with all the human beings described in the post, there are important questions to be asked and answered. Otherwise, then, yes, you'll simply take this as a post about Marksmanship.

I think the question Tyler posed has multiple meanings. The article addresses at least three.

In my experience, no more than one or two out of a hundred trained infantrymen are temperamentally suited to sniping. Functionally, it's no different from a gunfight, but emotionally, it is huge. It's a cold-blooded thing, and half the people who can do it are too crazy to let try. I don't know if it is "hard". I know you have to be a little non-normal for it to be something you can do. You have to either lack or be able to suppress empathy. There are plenty of battle-hardened soldiers who wouldn't do it. And they never feel quite comfortable around those who do.

Tarrou, I just saw your comment, and found it very educational, and even moving.

Local news stories in Chicago are full of people getting shot in the leg or arm, etc. Although that's generally not the intended target.

My biggest wonder about the sniper story, which is completely engaging, as David Wright says, is: What is game here?

Is this meant to initiate or confirm a lower level violence equilibrium? Does anyone know if it's working, and in what sense?

Leaving the sniper issue for a moment. I read the teaser for #3 ("Overheads on instrumental variables"), passed it by, said, "Wait. Overhead costs? What?"

By the way. I think shooting A because you *think* he may be planning to do something that may conceivably possibly harm B (where B is someone in your group and A is someone opposed to your group) is very difficult to justify.

Even when you have made it quite clear that you will shoot anyone coming into the no-man's land and they do it anyway? Isn't that a reliable signal they are up to no good?

Those East Germans certainly had it coming, didn't they? After all, the anti-Fascist protective wall ('antifaschistischer Schutzwall') was built for their protection. Just like its official name, the fortified state border (befestigte Staatsgrenze), said.

After all, the East German government already knew, by definition, that anyone in that area was a criminal deserving the death penalty, as all of the East German citizens in that area were actively undermining the East German state.

Try running through a US military checkpoint in Iraq. Think you won't get shot? Or even, jump out of your car and run towards the trooper's car, during a traffic stop on a deserted highway.

I'm not debating the justifiability, just saying that this sort of "shoot because of a perceived threat" policy is quite common.

A non-government would never do it. A weak government couldn't do it.

I think the sniper story is well written, possibly not representative of the IDF (since the author was an American volunteer who arguably is writing from a dovish point of view), and this was the most interesting passage to me, showing the Palestinians are really low-level in IQ at the operational level (note "Barry's" boss is well out of the range of harm, not unlike Yasser Arafat had his kids out of harm's way in France, and not unlike the terrorist/rebel officers who direct naturally suicidal people into becoming suicide bombers, as it has been observed that there is a lull in such bombings when a populations natural reserve of such suicidal people are exhausted):

don’t understand the seeming lack of fear I see in the men we target [it could be that these people are simply stupid or looking for a 'cheap thrill'--Ray]. They get shot at and come right back. Is it desperation? A life of growing up in the Gaza Strip, used to gunfire and violence? What could be so great about being near the border that it’s worth coming back to be shot at by highly trained soldiers who you can’t see and can’t fight? It must be about pride, refusing to appear scared in front of the “Zionist enemy.”

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Well-written and clever propaganda.

Ah ha, "Overheads" means slides.

Please, post more overheads.

#2: Not by accident, though evidently somewhat more difficult on purpose. The more important point is that you shouldn't be firing a gun at someone you don't intend to kill.

#3: I am not totally happy with the slides on IVs, because they suggest (though they do not quite say) that assignment to "treatment" needs to be random, which is not the case. They need to be "as good as randomly assigned" (after controls, if any).

#3.: The slides look like they are almost accompaniments to Angrist and Pischke's "Mostly Harmless Econometrics"; same topics, same nomenclature ("LATE", "compliers", etc.). The opening slides leave the context rather inscrutable; I'm guessing that Jennifer Pan was presenting their work to perhaps a seminar of fellow grad students. Hmm, I see that those three authors published an article with exactly the title that she used in her opening slide in JASA in 1996. But that article didn't use terms such as "LATE" and "compliers". So I'm guessing she had read and was presenting the article in a class or seminar (would've helped if she supplied more complete citation info), but chose or was instructed to present the article through the lens of Angrist's Mostly Harmless Econometrics book.

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