13 October 2002
The Loyal Peon is annoyed by questionable weapons speculation in the DC-area sniping epidemic:
Numerous on-camera ignorami (plural of ignoramus, for those who missed that class) have opined that the sniper/shooter must be ex-military or an expert hunter, because of the round, a .223, and the "extreme" range. Excuse me? The M-16 does use a .223, but it's one of the few military weapons that do. Most use the 7.62mm NATO, better known in this country as the .308 Winchester. I used to own a .308 deer rifle, myself. I never hunted with it, but it was a good gun. The .223 is primarily a varmint round, being marginal for deer, which are rather small game animals themselves. As for the range, while 300-400 yards is quite good for an unsupported shooter, it's no big deal with either a bench rest or a bi-pod. Shooting from a van, I'd certainly use one or the other. Why is that reporters speak so confidently upon topics about which they obviously know nothing?
Um, they get paid for it?
I yield to the Peon's weapons experience indeed, to most people's, since I've never owned multiple guns and didn't fire off that many rounds when I wore Uncle Sam's duds but I do claim some expertise in shooting off my mouth without backup. And in your average newsroom, you're probably not likely to find a whole lot of firearms enthusiasts, so I wouldn't be surprised to find that these on-air conclusions are being pulled out of thin air, made only slightly thicker by thirty seconds of Googling.