These nutjobs have to be stopped
They will be stopped with forensic ballistics, not by vigilant cops catching the sniper in the act. What ballistic facts have been released are sketchy, and have been (characteristically for the press) poorly reported.

The bullets recovered may indeed be consistent with those used in the .223 Remington cartridge. But that does not mean that they were fired from a .223 Remington, also known as 5.56 x 45mm or 5.56mm NATO. The same diameter bullet, even the same bullet models themselves, are used in dozens of other, more powerful hunting cartridges. The graphic descriptions I have read so far of the wounds and placement suggest this, rather than .223 in the urban carbine. Any shooting enthusiast can rattle off the names of such cartridges. Update: Kim du Toit rattles some of them here.

Handguns can be had in these cartridges too, though these will be single-shot handguns with a bolt action or a "cannon lock" to contain high pressures. These handguns do not lend themselves to concealment inside the waistband. But they are capable of the accuracy and range exhibited here.

The police reports confirming the .223 caliber---the diameter of the bullet, actually dot two two four inches---can also be smoke. How much of the bullet's material has been recovered?

Bullet manufacturers routinely brag on "high weight retention," how much of the bullet is left, as a percentage of original weight---some is expected to be lost. Hunting bullets get mushroomed, flattened, and fragmented, such that the original dimensions of the bullet may be difficult to determine. They are built to expand, to bring the animal down immediately, nothing inhumane about it. In contrast, military bullets are more likely to be recovered intact, and less likely to do such spectacular damage, because they are constructed not to expand, in accordance with the Geneva Conventions, and they are driven with less energy so the rifles firing them have a longer useful life.

So the bits of lead and gilding metal that were recovered could be from a .243", a .25", maybe even a .264". Blogs4God has conjectured a caliber of .308" though I don't buy that either. They could have been fired from your granddad's Savage 99 in .22-250, or a Swedish Mauser '96 in 6.5x55 (the model numbers are abbreviated years of introduction, beginning in Eighteen, not Nineteen). The rifle could be older than everyone investigating the crime today.

Of course, if I were investigating these crimes, I would not release more of the ballistics I've discovered than I absolutely must to satisfy the baying press. Nor would I be above minor disinformation to protect the progress of the investigation.

So I'm not sold yet on the notion that the sniping is being done with off-the-shelf .223 Remington ammunition and/or with an AR.


Keep it outside the squadron, kids
Donald Sensing posted something a few weeks back, about some military force (not the US, likely) instructing its members not to sleep with each other, because it harms morale. Unfortunately, the link in his post did not lead me to the article he cited. But weigh in on the topic, I will.

If you haven't figured it out already, I just came back from a year of active duty in the War on Terrorism. I started this blog while deployed overseas for that duty. I observed a few things that will be described, in due time, in this space, as I figure out what safely to say about it and what not to. This is the first.

Trying to keep young men and women working and living together, and sharing hardship, from knocking boots is like keeping them from getting tattoos. I spent nearly six months at one location, a logistics center, where the split was nearly 60-40 men to women. There was ample evidence that sexual congress was occurring, and clear communication that Uncle Sugar disapproved of it. It is the first instance I've seen of the term "fraternization" applied to anything other than that (properly) harshly forbidden between officers and enlisted folks.

As Donald quoted in his post:
. . . sleeping with fellow soldiers of either sex, or indeed their partners, would be bad for morale, threatening "mutual trust and soldiers' willingness to help each other."

I agree. It can't be stopped, but it should be limited. Soldiers will accept the limits, if the reasons for such limits can be articulated. And the reason is right there in the quote. Mutual trust, morale, unit cohesion are undermined if sex or even courting is taking place among people who work that closely together, even if they are of the same rank. It can be as damaging as O-on-E fraternization.

Keep it outside the squadron. Don't even date within the squadron. Look after the people in your own unit like brothers and sisters. SPs, you can pursue the Loggies. Fire dogs, hit on the babe in the command post. And so forth. But not inside your immediate unit---not anyone who has the same first shirt as you. It's like incest.

I realize that many military marriages started out this way, and it verges on hypocrisy for me to weigh in against it, because my wife and I met through work. Still, the reason for such a prohibition is not hard to argue, nor hard to understand.

Please see my lone comment at Donald's post also.