Sunday, December 16, 2007

Military Rumors

Thanks for this particular rant can go to the instructor I had at my new job with whom I was idly shooting the bull during a lull in class. He had asked how to spell my name. I replied, "Two 'r's and two 't's." At the same time, one of the mechanical engineers who had started at the same time as me said, "Just like the rifle!" (Note to anyone who has reason to write out Mr. Ronnie Barrett's company's name: It is two 'r's and two 't's. Not Barret. Not Barrette. get the idea.)

Anyways, the instructor made a comment that I cannot recall that led me to state that one day I will have one. (And I will.) Just because of the name. In turn, this led to a conversation that included his past service in the military and a mention of an old piece of incorrect information. "The fifty can't be used against troops, that's a war crime. It's an anti-materiel rifle only. You have to shoot at a wall or something and let the shrapnel get them."

As most folks who are reading this probably already know, that is complete and utter poppycock. See this post at THR for references. Unfortunately, he is a rather headstrong individual and dismissed out of hand the possibility that his DIs may have been mistaken. And I didn't make much of a fuss over this as my passing or failing the class was pretty much at his discretion. But things like this absolutely set my teeth on edge. (Another one is the myth that the AK-47 was designed to fire both Soviet and U.S. ammunition. But that's a completely separate rant altogether.)

After all, I usually hear things like this from otherwise intelligent people, such as my instructor. I mean how many times have we heard about snipers taking extraordinary shots at enemy personnel? It was just a few years ago that a Canadian sniper made a record breaking shot in Afghanistan with a .50 rifle. Do they really think that this would be allowed if it was a war crime? (As an aside, this is usually attributed as a crime under the Geneva Convention which affects more than just the U.S.) How do they reconcile things like this in their minds? Or do they even process the info, just accept it at face value?

I've missed logical incongruities before myself, but this and things like it are passed around too often and by too many people to just shrug it off as a brain fart moment.

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