JUMPING TO CONCLUSIONS

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Monday, October 14, 2002
 
Nothing new


Newsweek magazine reports that the FBI is looking into failed applicants to the Fort Bragg sniper school for possible leads to the identity of the Washington area sniper.

Not to make light of the situation, but to make a point, this forces one to remember a scene from the movie "Full Metal Jacket" (a scene which Roger Ebert has called a "masterpiece"):


HARTMAN
Do any of you people know who Charles Whitman was?
None of you dumbasses knows?

HARTMAN
Private Cowboy?

COWBOY
Sir, he was that guy who shot all those people
from that tower in Austin, Texas, sir!

HARTMAN
That's affirmative. Charles Whitman killed twenty
people from a twenty-eight-storey
observation tower at the
University of Texas
from distances up to four hundred yards.

HARTMAN
Anybody know who Lee Harvey Oswald was?

HARTMAN
Private Snowball?

SNOWBALL
Sir, he shot Kennedy, sir!

HARTMAN
That's right, and do you know how
far away he was?

SNOWBALL
Sir, it was pretty far! From that book
suppository building, sir!

HARTMAN
All right, knock it off! Two hundred and fifty
feet! He was two hundred and fifty feet away
and shooting at a moving target. Oswald got
off three rounds with an old Italian bolt action
rifle in only six seconds and scored two
hits, including a head shot! Do any of you people
know where these individuals learned to
shoot?

HARTMAN
Private Joker?

JOKER
Sir, in the Marines, sir!

HARTMAN
In the Marines! Outstanding! Those
individuals showed what one motivated
marine and his rifle can do! And before you
ladies leave my island, you will be able to
do the same thing!

One wonders why the FBI is looking for just *failed* applicants.

Also, the scene reminds us that sniper incidents are not new to the United States. In addition to simply catching the sniper (which we all pray will be done soon), affirmative efforts should be taken to make sure this never happens again.

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