Introduction

Introduction

 

I am Tim Bagwell. I am the author of these poems.

The anger in them is mine. While the title’s reference to crafting them with a knife is, indeed, a metaphor, it is apt as the frame of reference in which I wrote them. The pain is real. I claim it. I live it daily. I use “knife” in the title to specifically convey to you, the reader, that these are not “nice” poems; these are not written to entertain anyone. They are an attempt to keep me alive (not a metaphorical statement) and to wake you up to what war does to people who are “lucky” enough to survive physically.  I want them to cut as I have been—and continue every day—to be cut.

I am a Marine Corps combat veteran of the American war in Vietnam. I enlisted at 17 and I was out of combat—and Vietnam—by age 19, meaning I have lived with post-traumatic stress my entire adult life. I was suffering from the disorder before it had its modern name, but it has always been part of the mental debris of every combat soldier who physically survived war no matter whether they talked about it or not.

I find the depth and tenacity of my anger enormously sad. As a general rule of my daily life, I hate people. It is what war taught me. I try to be good. I try to do good. But I always, always expect to fail. I always, always, expect others and my culture’s institutions to fail me. That is what war taught me. I try daily, hourly, to direct its demon forces, rooted and constantly replaying just below mindful consciousness, to push me to do everything I can to stop war, to never quit toward achieving this life goal; to fight and fight and fight to bring about a world where war is as publicly repugnant as an adult playing with his or her own feces.  I can conceive a world where it is so. I know it is possible. I do not believe war is anything but human choice.

In 1954, when I was four, C. Wright Mills published a book in which he presciently said the power elite running this country had already begun to turn to the military to run the world. This was the era of the “Cold War.” But, now, that “war” is over and yet feel how accurate Mills’ statement continues to be:

“…men in authority are talking about an ‘emergency’ without a foreseeable end. … The only seriously accepted plan for ‘peace’ is the fully loaded pistol. …  Peace is a mutual fright, a balance of armed fear.”[1]

Since September 2001, this fear has been renamed the “Global War on Terror.”

I vehemently argue there is a better way. We must change both our capitalist economies—which values monetary net worth above human beings—and our philosophy of life. Our world is falling apart and we are the people doing it. The US is the largest arms dealer on the globe, all of us are killing the earth with our waste, and we have absolutely no sense of our continuing overpopulation. It is time we change.

I stand with Grace Lee Boggs:

“To make a revolution, people must not only struggle against existing institutions. They must make a philosophical/spiritual leap and become more human human beings. In order to change/transform the world, they must change/transform themselves.”[2]

I do not write passive poetry—a stylistic preference that has been and no-doubt will continue to be a point of critique.  Nor, do I feel anti-war poetry can be prettied up without losing its power to motivate people to action. While most of my “war” poetry can be considered passive and non-directive because it is my history, my anti-war poetry is everything except passive. If this is a problem for you, you will not like my work. If you like to have your poets play with their words, don’t read mine. I have a poem, included here, entitled “Political Bukowski” and, while it is not my most directive anti-war poem, it is animated by the straight-talking spirit of Charles Bukowski. I hope and intend that all of my anti-war poems are so forward, clear-spoken and boldly directive.

Ann Jones, in her just released book “They were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return from America’s Wars—The Untold Story,” understands the tremendous need for clear language, language that must hurt to read because it comes from war. “It’s a perfect conspiracy of silence,” she writes, arising from America’s refusal to look straight into the ugly face of what war is and what war does. 

“… an inability to use plain English to name what happens in war when we’re so well trained to speak of war in the elevated locutions of patriotism, heroism, and godliness that have little to nothing to do with the thing itself. The worst we can say of war is that it is ‘unspeakable,’ which in fact it is not. But we don’t speak of it because that would involve so many nasty words we don’t want to use and elicit so many things we don’t want to know, so many things we think we can’t do anything about now that the government answers only to the powerful few … ” [3]

There are few secular books I have come across that have had a lasting impact on the world.  One of those few is Henry Durant’s The Battle of Solferino[4], which articulated the ideas and ideals underlying today’s Red Cross and Red Crescent. That single slim volume motivated a world-wide organization that we all should cherish and actively support.

Says Hazard (sic) Adams in The Offense of Poetry:  “… great poetry is itself offensive and … readers must confront and pass through the offense, which is a moment of challenge, crisis, and decision generated out of the prevailing cultural view of language …”

 I can only hope my words might have a similar impact. I’m trying as transparently and creatively as possible to stop war. For me as a poet, whenever my politics and pretty words clash, I go with the politics.  For this reason, I don’t like Brian Turner’s Insignia[5], but I love the ending of Bertolt Brecht’s “The Interrogation of the Good”:

“Hear us then: we know

You are our enemy. This is why we shall

Now put you in front of a wall. But in consideration of your merits and

good qualities

We shall put you in front of a good wall and shoot you

With a good bullet from a good gun and bury you

With a good shovel in the good earth.”[6]

 

Again, the poems that follow are my poems, my words, my pain. I do not apologize for a single one, but nor do I ask anyone to “like” them. If you want entertainment, don’t look to me. I write them so that you—whoever you are, where ever you are—and I will act, daily, to stop war. If these poems do not do that they are worthless words.

I hope they are not, but only your actions—you changing you and your community for the better—will make them so.

 

Tim

 

P.S.  If you want to tell me about your actions, write me at bagwelltimothymarvin@gmail.com


 


[1] C. Wright Mills, The Power Elite. 1956/2000. Oxford University Press, pps.184-5.

[2] Grace Lee Boggs, p. 292, The Verso Book of Dissent. Edited by Andrew Hsiao and Andrea Lim. New York: Verso. (Italic in the original.)

[3] Ann Jones, p. 96, They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return from America’s Wars—The Untold Story. New York/Chicago: Dispatch Books and Haymarket Books.

[4] Henry Dunant. A Memory of Solferino. Geneva: International Committee of the Red Cross. 1939/1959.

[5] Brian Turner, Pps. 64-65. Phantom Noise. Farmington, MA: Alice James Books, 2010.

[6] Quoted in Violence by Slavoj Zizek. London: Profile Books, p.33.

Advertisements

Excellent example of what activism is all about–Thank you, Vera Scroggins!

Court injunction brought by oil and gas company

makes even supermarkets off-limits

 

by Suzanne Goldenberg in Montrose, Pennsylvania/ Wednesday 29 January 2014

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jan/29/vera-scroggins-fracking-activist-pennsylvania

 

Vera Scroggins, an outspoken opponent of fracking, is legally barred from the new county hospital. Also off-limits, unless Scroggins wants to risk fines and arrest, are the Chinese restaurant where she takes her grandchildren, the supermarkets and drug stores where she shops, the animal shelter where she adopted her Yorkshire terrier, bowling alley, recycling centre, golf club, and lake shore.

In total, 312.5 sq miles are no-go areas for Scroggins under a sweeping court order granted by a local judge that bars her from any properties owned or leased by one of the biggest drillers in the Pennsylvania natural gas rush, Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation.

“They might as well have put an ankle bracelet on me with a GPS on it and be able to track me wherever I go,” Scroggins said. “I feel like I am some kind of a prisoner, that my rights have been curtailed, have been restricted.”

The ban represents one of the most extreme measures taken by the oil and gas industry to date against protesters like Scroggins, who has operated peacefully and within the law including taking Yoko Ono to frack sites in her bid to elevate public concerns about fracking.

It was always going to be an unequal fight when Scroggins, now 63, made it her self-appointed mission five years ago to stop fracking in this, the richest part of the Marcellus Shale.

Just how unequal became clear on 21 October when the case of Cabot v Scroggins came before a local judge, Kenneth Seamans, in the Montrose court house.

Cabot turned up with four lawyers and nine witnesses, employees of the company and the firm it hired to provide security. Scroggins represented herself. She told the court she had been unable to find a lawyer as the hearing had been called on 72 hours’ notice.

By the time the hearing was over, the judge had granted Cabot a temporary injunction barring Scroggins from all property owned or leased by the company.

“It is hereby ordered that Ms Scroggins is restrained, enjoined and prohibited from entering upon property owned and/or leased by Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation including but not limited to well sites, well pads and access roads,” the injunction reads.

The effect of that ban is far broader than the dry legal language would suggest.

In court filings, Cabot said it holds leases on 200,000 acres of land, equivalent to 312.5 sq miles. That amounts to nearly 40% of the largely rural county in north-eastern Pennsylvania where Scroggins lives and where Cabot does most of its drilling.

The temporary injunction granted on 21 October does not require Cabot to identify or map the lands where it holds drilling leases, putting Scroggins in the bizarre position of having to figure out for herself which areas were off-limits.

Cabot later offered to limit the scope of its exclusion order in court filings seeking to make the injunction permanent. The next hearing on that injunction is scheduled for 24 March.

Scroggins, who now has a lawyer, is fighting to overturn the injunction.

Until then, each trip Scroggins makes outside her home requires a calculation about whether her route will take her on lands or roads leased to Cabot, or a visit to the court house to pore over property records.

“We need a map. We need to know where I can and can not go,” she said. “Can I stop here, or can I not stop here? Is it OK to be here if I go to a business or if I go to a home? I have had to ask and check out every person I go to: ‘are you leased to Cabot’?”

Many of those businesses are, it turns out. Susquehanna County is one of the most active areas in Pennsylvania’s natural gas rush. Eight of the top 10 most productive gas wells are in the county, according to an industry newsletter. All eight belong to Cabot.

Environmental groups say the court – and Cabot – went too far.

“It seems to be an extraordinarily heavy handed reaction by industry and one which was extremely out of proportion to what she has been doing,” said Kate Sinding, a lawyer for the Natural Resources Defence Council.

Campaigners claim other over-reactions by industry and police against fracking opponents – such as the arrest last December of two protesters in Oklahoma for “terrorism hoax”, after they unfurled a banner and dropped glitter on the floor of an office tower owned by Devon Energy.

But Scroggins’ lawyer, George Kinchy, says this was the first time to his knowledge that a company has used the full weight of the law against a single activist.

He also said Cabot was lucky Scroggins was not represented by a lawyer at the hearing.

The company was not pressed to demonstrate the gas leases gave it the right to make such absolute decisions about access. “They have no proof that they had the right to exclude her. They didn’t present evidence of leases that gave them the right to treat the property as their own,” he said.

Anti-fracking activist Vera Scroggins, left, talks with Yoko Ono, center, and Sean Lennon at a fracking site in Franklin Forks, Pennsylvania. Scroggins is also a videographer and self-appointed guide to the gas patch of northeastern Pennsylvania, where she lives in a single-wide trailer near a lake. Photograph: Richard Drew/AP

Cabot refused several requests to respond, beyond a brief email statement from spokesman, George Stark. “Cabot has a policy of not commenting specifically on litigation to which it is a party,” the statement reads. “That being said, Cabot supports an individual’s right to free speech and regrets having to seek relief from the court in order to prevent Ms Scroggins from repeatedly trespassing on company property, where she could potentially jeopardise the safety of herself and others.”

However, the company arranged for Tom Shepstone, a consultant who blogs at Natural Gas Now, to speak to The Guardian. Shepstone said the injunction was overdue.

“I’m proud of Cabot and what they’ve done because they’re saying we’re not going to take this any longer,” he said.

Cabot in court filings does not accuse Scroggins of violence or of causing harm to property, and she has never been arrested or charged with trespass. She has not chained herself to machinery, or staged sit-ins.

But Shepstone argued Scroggins had upset too many people to be tolerated. “I believe she is a public menace because what she does is she essentially trespasses not so much on property – though she does do that – but she trespasses on the soul of the community,” he said. “She does not allow the people of this community any peace.”

In the five years since fracking came to north-eastern Pennsylvania, Scroggins has been relentless in trying to exposing the risks associated with the industry.

Scroggins and her then husband moved to this very rural area of north-eastern Pennsylvania from Long Island, New York more than 20 years ago, when their children were small. After various careers, Scroggins, now a grandmother, considers herself a full-time activist.

She has visited frack sites – posting up to 500 videos on YouTube. She has called in health and environmental regulators at perceived violations, and she has organised bus tours of frack sites for anyone who is interested – from Yoko Ono and Susan Sarandon to visiting Canadian elected officials.

None of that activity by Scroggins or other activists was illegal, or presented a public danger, according to Jason Legg, the district attorney for Susquehana County.

“I don’t recall any major protests or people trespassing on any property,” he said.

Even by Cabot’s own admission, in court testimony last October, Scroggins seems to have been more nuisance than danger. Her biggest and most repeated offence, according to court testimony, appears to have been parking her car on access roads – and at times even on the narrow public county roads – at angles that required the big water tankers to swerve around her.

Scroggins, who does not appear adverse to confrontation, was also insistent on talking to personnel on site. But in every instance cited by Cabot witnesses, she left the area within 5 or 10 minutes – sometimes after they threatened to call police.

By 2011 those repeat visits to gas sites made Scroggins public enemy number one, so far as Cabot was concerned.

Cabot’s security contractor, Northeast Diversified Services told the court it had posted photographs of Scroggins in their guards’ campers, and had been following the activist since 2011.

“Yes, we follow you, yes, from site to site,” the company’s vice-president, Thomas Tolan, told the court.

Scroggins wasn’t winning friends in the community either. There are landowners in Susquehana County who have made money off leasing their land to Cabot and other gas companies for fracking. “The consensus is basically that it has been a lifeline to an area that was struggling,” Legg said.

In a small town like Montrose, population 1,600, Scroggins’ forceful brand of activism appears to have been too much for some – though she has a hard core of supporters.

In a recent visit to the court house to check on Cabot leases, she was scolded by a court official just for striking up a conversation with the person beside her at the counter.

A few minutes later, Thomas Meagher, the county solicitor, said Scroggins brought her legal problems down on herself by failing to following the “unwritten rules” of civilised discourse.

Scroggins rejects the idea that “nice” has anything to do with it. “I am doing this as nicely as I feel is warranted. I have other concerned citizen friends who play passive and they don’t get anything done more than I do. They are just in the background,” she said. “They are playing passive and nobody even hears about them. Those who want to play that womanly role, they can play it. I don’t have to.”

As for Cabot and her critics in the community, “They can just get used to it,” Scroggins said.

Close Guantánamo prison, says first US commander on 12th anniversary

Close Guantánamo prison, says first US commander on 12th anniversary

• Major General Michael Lehnert says facility is a liability.   ‘Terrorists aim to change our behaviour. They have succeeded’

 

By Martin Pengelly in New York/11 January 2014/theguardian.com

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/11/close-guantanamo-prison-general

 

 

On the 12th anniversary of the arrival of the first prisoners at the US detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, the first commanding general of the base has said that it should be closed.

In a statement released by the advocacy organisation Human Rights First, Major General Michael Lehnert – who has spoken out on the issue before – said: “While there were compelling operational reasons to stand up Guantánamo prison early in the war [in Iraq and Afghanistan], we squandered international goodwill and lost opportunities by failing to adhere to the Geneva Conventions and to our own rule of law. Those decisions turned Guantánamo into a liability.”

Last May, in a major speech at the National Defense University, President Barack Obama detailed his continuing determination to close Guantánamo. Nonetheless, the base still holds 155 prisoners, of whom 76 have been cleared for release.

Lehnert continued: “The objective of terrorists is to change our behaviour and make us live in fear. By those standards our adversaries have been successful. We must reclaim our moral position.”

Guantánamo, which has been the subject of international protest since it opened, is sited on land controversially leased by the US from Cuba under a 1934 treaty.

“The Constitution does not stop at the waters’ edge,” Lehnert said. “We can defeat terrorism only if we do so in a manner that is consistent with American values. Guantánamo does not serve America’s interests. As long as it remains open, it will undermine America’s security and status as a land where human rights and the rule of law matter.”

Administrative attempts to reform Guantánamo continue. On Thursday, a government review panel that was established by an executive order from Obama cleared for release Mahmud Mujahid, a Yemeni prisoner who has been held January 2002. Mujahid, who had been accused but not charged of being a bodyguard for Osama bin Laden, is now deemed not to pose any danger to the US.

In December, after Congress passed a defence bill that cleared up transfer restrictions at the base, three Uighur detainees who had been held without charge for 12 years – and had been determined to pose no threat to the US – were transferred to Slovakia. The men could not be sent back to China, as their minority is persecuted there.

Such concerns are said to affect a number of prisoners remaining in Guantánamo, although December also saw two Saudi prisoners returned to their own country. One British resident, the Saudi citizen Shaker Aamer, remains in custody at Guantánamo

In a statement accompanying Lehnert’s comments, Dixon Osburn of Human Rights First said: “The United States has a legal obligation to find lawful dispositions for all law of war detainees when the war in Afghanistan ends this year.

“The administration must vastly accelerate the administrative review boards and obtain appropriate security assurances from host nations so that those detainees cleared for release can be sent home or resettled. The clock is ticking.”

Yesterday was the 12th anniversary of the US torture center at Guantanamo, Cuba!

We must reject indefinite detention and offshore prisons.

We must no longer use our fear of terror to inflict terror

on the world

 

by Molly Crabapple/Saturday 11 January 2014/theguardian.com

Today, 11 January, the Guantánamo Bay prison “celebrates” its 12th birthday.

In case anyone needs a refresher, $4.7bn has been spent running Guantánamo. Nearly 800 men have been imprisoned, many losing over a decade of their lives. Nine have died. The world will never look at America in the same way again.

Barack Obama, who promised to close Gitmo in 2008, transferred out 11 men since the summer. These are men long since proven innocent, men too obese to walk and too schizophrenic to make any sense. These transfers are the first signs that the US may close a prison that exists to hold enemy combatants in the war on terror – a war whose battlefield, opponents, scope, and ending have never been defined. But the prison built to “protect our freedom” after 9/11 has made us no safer. According to Major General Michael Lehnert, Guantánamo’s first commander, many of the detainees should never have ended up there at all.

I’ve seen Guantánamo’s absurdities first hand. In the summer of 2012, I became the fourth artist to visit the facility. I saw the razor wire-ringed cellblocks in which we keep the 155 remaining detainees. According to a 2005 report by Seton Hall University (pdf), the vast majority of these prisoners were captured by Afghan and Pakistani forces, then sold to us for bounties. Of these, Guantánamo’s chief prosecutor General Mark Martins told me, only 20 were even chargeable with crimes.

Medics with Shakespearean psuedonyms showed me the chair where, at one time, 45 hunger strikers were strapped down and force-fed twice a day. They were refusing food to protest their indefinite detention. The US military had taken away their lives as they knew them. We would keep them alive by force.

Detainees are allowed to speak to their families, via Skype, only four times a year. The prison library bans many books, including Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago about Soviet forced labor. The librarian told me it might sow dissent. Instead, they offer handbooks on reducing stress. Military police showed me the room where hunger strikers were shackled, alone, to watch TV. A guard snickered about how the prisoners liked the show Top Model.

I visited Guantánamo twice, but I only saw detainees once, for seven minutes, through a one-way mirror. They were skinny, middle aged men, joking and praying. Detainees are forbidden to speak with the press. According to Rear Admiral Richard Butler, who is responsible for prison operations, this is to avoid “making a spectacle” of them, which is forbidden by the Geneva Conventions. But Brandon Davis, who served as a guard in 2002, told me that soldiers were instructed that the Geneva Conventions were not in effect.

Captain Robert Durand, a Guantanamo spokesman, assured me that detainees now attend interrogations in return for Happy Meals. In the past 12 years, all the information we have suggests that every detainee has been tortured. A 2002 memo by military lawyer Diane Beaver approved waterboarding, beatings, extreme temperatures, and making a detainee believe his family was in danger of death. Mr Davis told me he and fellow guards beat detainees. At the start of every shift superiors told them “[the detainees] would kill you and your families in a heartbeat”.

In Guantánamo’s courtroom, I drew Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his 9/11 co-conspirators. He is being tried in a military commission system that has produced eight convictions out of the nearly 800 men who have been detained on the island. Though it is over a decade since 9/11, Mr Mohammed’s trial has not yet started. Lawyers are still hashing out the new legal system – half military, half civilian – that President George Bush created for Guantánamo. For a week, they fought over co-conspirator Mr Bin Attesh’s stomach problems.

Press watched the hearings through layers of bulletproof glass. Soldiers confiscated my opera glasses (brought to better see Mr Mohammed’s face) as “prohibited ocular amplification”. An official censor put stickers on my drawings before they were allowed to leave the room.

With several exceptions, Guantánamo’s detainees are not criminals serving a sentence. They are enemy combatants, held until the end of the war on terror. But terror is not a nation – it’s a concept. Colonel Morris Davis, who served as Guantánamo’s chief prosecutor from 2006 to 2007, told me, “We never really had a discussion about when the conflict was going to end.”

Meanwhile, we keep 155 men in cages, at the cost of $1.7m per man, per year. When they try to starve themselves in protest, we keep them alive with tubes shoved into their stomachs. Guantánamo Bay’s official slogan is “Honor Bound to Defend Freedom”. Like so much of Guantánamo, it is easy to mock. But freedom, like terror, is a slippery word. What is its meaning amidst Gitmo’s cameras and razor wire – where captives, cleared to leave the prison for years, are only flown home in shackles and hoods?

Clifford Sloan, Obama’s newly appointed envoy to transfer prisoners out of Guantánamo, recently told PBS that he was sure the prison would be closed in the foreseeable future. I suppose the 11 men that Obama released in recent months given some hope that this may come true.

But even if we close the prison, we must make sure we do not build new Guantánamos. America must never again start a war with no defined enemy. We must reject indefinite detention and offshore prisons. We must no longer use our fear of terror to inflict terror on the world.

America must no longer must no longer write “Honor Bound to Defend Freedom” on the walls of its most notorious prison. Instead, we must mean it.

Where do I go to resign from the human species?

This is wrong on so, so many levels.  I am truly sad to be a human being.

***

Craig Harrison (sniper)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Craig Harrison
Born 1975 (age 38–39)
Cheltenham, Gloucestershire
Allegiance United Kingdom United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Rank Corporal of Horse
Unit Household Cavalry
Battles/wars Afghanistan War

Royal Marines snipers with L115A1 rifles, similar to the L115A3 used by Harrison, but outfitted with Schmidt & Bender 3-12×50 PM II telescopic sights

Schmidt & Bender 5-25×56 PM II LP telescopic sight, similar to the sight used by Harrison, and its adjustment controls

Seen at 5x zoom
Seen at 25x zoom
The P4 stadiametric rangefinding reticle as used in the Schmidt & Bender 5-25×56 telescopic sight. The small red figure in the images is the silhouette of a man standing at a range of 2,475 m (2,707 yd).

Craig Harrison (born 1975) is a Corporal of Horse (CoH) in the Blues and Royals RHG/D of the British Army, and holds the record for the longest confirmed sniper kill in combat, at a range of 2,475 m (2,707 yd). Established in November 2009, this exceeds the previous record set by Rob Furlong in 2002 by 2,430 m (2,657 yd).[1] This record was certified by Guinness World Records.[2]

Record details

In November 2009, Harrison consecutively struck two Taliban machine gunners south of Musa Qala in Helmand Province in Afghanistan at a range of 2,475 m (2,707 yd) using a L115A3 Long Range Rifle.[3][4][5][6][7] In a BBC interview, Harrison reported it took about nine shots for him and his spotter to initially range the target successfully. Then, he reported, his first shot “on target” was a killing shot followed consecutively by a kill shot on a second machine gunner then a third which disabled the machine gun.[8]

In the reports, Harrison mentions the environmental conditions were perfect for long range shooting: no wind, mild weather and clear visibility.

Creative use of environment and equipment by Harrison

According to JBM Ballistics,[9] using drag coefficients (Cd) provided by Lapua, the L115A3 has an approximate supersonic range (speed of sound = 340.3 m/s) of 1,375 m (1,504 yd) under International Standard Atmosphere conditions at sea level (air density ρ = 1.225 kg/m3) and 1,548 m (1,693 yd) at the 1,043 m (3,422 ft) altitude or elevation (air density ρ = 1.1069 kg/m3) of Musa Qala. This illustrates how environmental condition differences can significantly affect bullet flight.

The Schmidt & Bender MILITARY MKII 5-25×56 0.1 MIL RAD parallax, illumination, double turn telescopic sight used by Harrison on the L115A3 Long Range Rifle can be adjusted in 0.1 milliradian or mil increments (at a distance of 2,475 m (2,707 yd) 1 adjustment increment of 0.1 milliradian equates to a 24.75 cm (9.74 in) point of impact shift) and has a maximal vertical elevation range of 26 milliradian. To increase the maximal elevation range Accuracy International produces mounts for telescopic sights with a 13.09 mil (45 MOA) built in vertical cant designed for their .338 Lapua Magnum rifles fitted with the 5-25×56 telescopic sight. Even with a 13.09 mil canted mount the employed sighting system is not able to dial in over 39.09 milliradian of vertical aiming correction, which is significantly less than Harrison required during his record shot.

The external ballistics software program by JBM Ballistics predicts that the bullets of British high pressure .338 Lapua Magnum cartridges using 16.2 g (250 gr) Lapua LockBase B408 bullets fired at 936 m/s (3,071 ft/s) muzzle velocity under International Standard Atmosphere conditions at 1,043 m (3,422 ft) elevation (air density ρ = 1.069 kg/m3) and assuming a flat fire scenario (a situation where the shooting and target positions are at equal elevation) and a 100 m (109 yd) zero (the distance at which the rifle is sighted in) arrive at 2,475 m (2,707 yd) distance after approximately 6.017 seconds flight time at 251.8 m/s (826 ft/s) velocity and have dropped 120.95 m (396.8 ft) or in angular units 48.9 milliradian (168 MOA) on their way. Harrison had to use the P4 reticle offering 0.5 mil spaced holdover hash marks in his 5-25×56 telescopic sight to compensate for the lack of vertical aiming correction and thus achieve the required aiming solution. The long horizontal line at 5x zoom or magnification represent 49.09 milliradian (168.6 MOA) or slightly over the required assumed vertical elevation.

References

See also

Records
Preceded by
Rob Furlong
Longest recorded sniper kills
2009-2013
2,475m (2,707 yd / 1.538 mi)
L115A3 w/ 16.2 g (250 gr) Lapua LockBase B408 bullets
Succeeded by
Unknown

The Sayings of Lao-Tzu: On War

“Weapons, however beautiful, are instruments of ill omen, hateful to all creatures. Therefore he who has Tao will have nothing to do with them.

“Weapons are the tools of violence;all decent men detest them.Weapons are the tools of fear;a decent man will avoid themexcept in the direst necessityand, if compelled, will use themonly with the utmost restraint.

“Peace is his highest value.If the peace has been shattered,how can he be content?
His enemies are not demons,but human beings like himself.He doesn’t wish them personal harm.Nor does he rejoice in victory.How could he rejoice in victoryand delight in the slaughter of men?
“He enters a battle gravely,with sorrow and with great compassion,as if he were attending a funeral.”

Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

http://voiceseducation.org/content/lao-tzu-war-and-weapons

retrieved 01/02/2014

Manifesto howled in the surditorium[1]

I went to war for this country.

I hate that I went to war for this country.

My American war ruined my life.

I work hard to find anyone who gives a damn.

As a kid, I played war and reveled in dirt-clod heroics.

As a teenager, I fought in the American war in Vietnam.

In middle-age, I ran from my memories and tried ineptly

to heal the suppurating mind-scars.

Now, in old age, I stand vociferous against war,

against war’s inundating acid torrent.  I weep at war’s relentless,

dismemberment of life, its disembowelment of being.

I hate—to the dregs of my heart—all war, all war-making.

My words are caustic, inelegant, intentionally and painfully direct—

steaming scat at your pretty dinner parties.  I chose them to be.

Other poets are graceful word swans, beautifully flicking forth flumes,

diaphanous brocades of the finest in quotidian life.  I’m duck-ugly—

gawky and ungainly at refined word-smithing. I’ve thought

of making my poems funny: maybe I will make everyone laugh,

then surreptitiously slip in a seriously different way of being …

maybe I will use funny spoons, clacking in rhythm …

maybe I will hire twin midgets playing tiny twin trombones …

maybe I will lease the Marine Corps Band to play Jimi’s

Star Spangled Banner and have them, at finale, smash

their instruments in one grand,glorious gesture of defiance. 

Ah, but none of this is me.

I’m an angry American veteran, a voice writing madly what I know,

seeking to excise love of country and human ideals

from pompous patriotism and sanguinary selfishness.

How did I get here?

I want you to know …

***

Spring 1968:  Khe Sanh, Rowen & Martin’s Laugh-In, the USS Pueblo, the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and, of course, the Tet Offensive.  Sacramento, California: I am 17, a senior in high school; white kid who grew up in blue-collared, conservative-Christian America. I enlist, going on active duty two weeks after high school graduation: U.S. Marine Corps, semper fi!   A Man! – by instant American mythology.

January to July 1969:I arrived “in country” Vietnam, January 9, and get assigned to B (Bravo) Company, 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, in I Corps, just below the DMZ. Our nickname was “The Walking Dead.” My MOS—Military Occupational Specialty—was an M-60 machine gunner. My first operation  was Dewey Canyon, a sweep south through the A Shau Valley, where the Ho Chi Minh trail comes back into Vietnam from Laos—six weeks of constant dread, fear, death, and jungle.  Leeches suck—clothes shred—we go without food—we carry our dead—jungle rot eats to the bone on both my shins.  Months of bad combat ahead.

Late July 1969: I’ve survived so far and now I get tremendously lucky! I remain with Bravo, 1/9, when Nixon includes it as he pulls out the first 25,000 troops from Vietnam. (You had to be more than halfway through your 13-month tour and I had just crossed off month seven!)  I was getting out—out of the bush, out of the country! Alive and, physically, unharmed.

July 1969 to January 1970: We shipped out of Da Nang harbor aboard Navy troop ships—OMG! Fresh water and daily showers!—and landed at Okinawa, training as a ready-reaction force. I came down with malaria in Manila: I listen through the wonderful glaze of my med-induced hallucinogenic stupor to the monkeys playing in the green and palmed courtyards, swaying to south Pacific breezes.  I shipped home after 13 months overseas and took a 30-day leave.

February 1970 to Fall 1970: I am assigned to Marine Barracks, Headquarters Marine Corps, 8th and I, Washington, D.C. The company does ceremonial duties at the White House and Blair House; weekly dress parades at 8th & I and the Iwo Jima Monument, in addition to security at Camp David, the presidential retreat. The district is thick with anger and anti-war sentiment. My Lai hits the news. William Calley is arrested. The shootings at Kent State and Jackson State shock me deeply.  I think long and hard about deserting to Canada.

Fall 1970 to Spring 1971: Nixon appoints a Navy Admiral—Thomas Moorer—chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  I’m picked to become his orderly: walk his briefcase in and walk his briefcase out.  I join Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW). I am investigated by the Defense Intelligence Agency and have my Top Secret security clearance taken away. I take this opportunity to file for a discharge as a conscientious objector.

April 1971: VVAW stages its historic three-day anti-war demonstration on the Mall, west of the U.S. Capitol. I wear the jacket from my dress blues—a large embroidered cartoon character hand-stitched on the back.  Still on active duty, I return my combat and military medals to the U.S. Congress.  Nixon, hurt politically by the authenticity of the VVAW, jerks away international press coverage by inflaming the MIA/KIA issue. (I still can’t see that black and white flag without my blood pressure rising in anger.)

May 1, 1971: I am honorably discharged as a conscientious objector. I am 20 years old.  I start college in the fall, studying religion at Anderson College in Anderson, Indiana, trying to fit in.  The scars were already showing up, but I wasn’t seeing them.

 ***

In my mid-50s, post-trauma jerks my mind backward, and I begin to know the trail of litter I have left behind: three marriages, two affairs, deserted sons, multitudinous jobs, distracted dreams and wasted meanings, zero retirement. All this, muddled together with shards of anger, hopeless love, resentment, hope, impatience and, from a warped conservative Christian upbringing, misunderstood carnality. War taught me to feel fierce force everywhere. War conditioned me to breathe hyper-vigilant states of anger, fear, distrust. I would look around my narrowed world and blearily see others, less embattled than I, set the unblemished sails of their lives for cashmere horizons and glistening goals.  I look up and see my life-sails pierced and ragged by bloodied bone chips, blasted fragments of life, grisly sprays of blood and brain, piss, shit, and madness.  

Now, in old age, I accept that I stand forever bathed in war’s dirty light, my throat and thoughts forever knotted to a titanium lamppost designed by Homeland Security to withstand a direct hit by a terrorist’s dirty bomb. I know my neck is noosed for life with a hangman’s knot. My ’60’s mates are gone—into releasing death or well- paid corporate life, sub silentio; middle-class America has been pimped off by an all-volunteer military of the poor, the immigrant, the dumb, and the politically blinkered. The brute elites—pretty and well-coiffed in their grey suits tailored—enter their banks, laughing amongst themselves over their latest 24/7 mass market manipulation. My battles—they tell me, when they deign speak—are non-existent, self-chosen, delusional. Life is good, brisk, easy-in-Tahiti, for those smart enough to work it. To hell with the rest, they whisper, smiling.

***

If the toxic words of my poems hurt you—and I want them to pierce deeply—figure out why.  But you need to know I ask of no man, no woman, permission to carry this stake through my heart, traipsing across America’s plush white carpeting, splashing sloppy blood and bowel with hard angry steps.  I am trying—with an intent for which I am truly willing to die—to scribe upon every American’s mind, heart, eyes, and hands, a true picture of how we cause so much pain and death worldwide. I know deeply I can—you can—we can stop war with nothing more than singular hard work to halt nationalist gore and the people who ignore their blind-eyed role in its perpetuation. I don’t mourn the combat dead: I mourn the civilian living; mind-dead and fatted on force-fed lies; I mourn for the future of the living, those numbed to the unlearned lessons of the available past.

For me, I refuse to let my combat in the American war in Vietnam be the signal event of my life. Millions died and millions more were injured for lifes—generation after wounded generation. Children, including my own sons, grew up in chaos and death and weary, lonely, soulful sadness because of our uncritical acts of ugly, human idiocy.  I willingly accept this debt I owe them—all of them, both Vietnamese and American.  I vow to die for peace worldwide: That will be my repayment.

Where are the Joseph Rotblats? Where the Mordechai Vanunus? Why are we not cloning all the Gene Sharps we can? I ache for more humans like Alice Herz, Norman Morrison, Roger LaPorte, Nhat Chi Mai, Florence Beaumont.  But my old age blunts my blades of fierce fight and steals my small tools of anti-warfare. My last weapons are refusal and will and they too are fading. I hone what small steel I have left on the black angry granite where I have rebuilt my thunderous soul.

***

We don’t have peace because we don’t want it.

That simple? 

Yes, that simple. 

If we wanted it, truly and deeply,

we would rise up and make it.


Do you? 

Will you?

Copyright Tim Bagwell 2013

 

 

 

 

 


[1] A neologism meaning an auditorium filled with deaf persons; surdity, deafness.