Is It Ethical or Moral To be a Sniper?
by James Glaser
February 14, 2013
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Just to start off, I have spent many months in VA Hospitals for PTSD Treatment and for over 20 years I've worked with vets from WW II to the first Gulf War, and a common stressor that so many vets had was the shooting of someone by mistake. They thought they had a weapon, or they thought it was a man, or they thought it was an adult they were shooting.

Now they live with the thought that they murdered somebody by mistake. None of these vets were snipers. They were infantry soldiers and Marines who were at the wrong place. Maybe they were on guard duty, maybe they were scared, and it was dark, and sometimes maybe they just wanted to shoot somebody. Yes, that happens. Guys get so mad about their friend getting shot that they just lose it and take some innocent person out as a form of revenge that they have to live with for life.

Snipers are shooting at people a long distance away. How far? Well the longest shot was over 2400 meters. There are 1609 meters in a mile. So snipers are shooting at people who are hit before the sound of the shot even reaches them. And most snipers will tell you they were always shooting at "legal" targets. Some of the people they shoot are a mile and a half away, but they have some way of knowing that this Iraqi or Afghan or Vietnamese or whoever the current enemy is, is really the enemy and not some farmer who has a rifle with him for protection from the same enemy we are fighting.

Now, in the news are reports of Navy Seal Sniper Chris Kyle who had over 150 confirmed kills. Kyle decided he would help a former Marine suffering with PTSD by taking him to a shooting range. That Marine killed Kyle and his friend. To me it is pretty dumb to take a guy with mental health issues to a rifle range and give him a gun to kill you with. But I digress.

Is it moral or ethical to shoot somebody from over a mile away? Somebody who can't even see you or have the ability to shoot back? I don't know, but I do know snipers will have to take that up with Jesus someday.

I think the real evil here is the people sending the snipers out and letting them roll up their score and gain praise for more and more kills. Let's face it, people who kill over a hundred and fifty other people, no matter the reason, are going to have issues to deal with for the rest of their lives.

Yes, people with high kill numbers will tell you that every kill was a "good" one. They have to say that every day of their lives, and sometimes many times every day just so they don't go nuts. If doubt creeps in, their problems expand.

So, our government gives this select group of killers high praise and shiny medals and tells them that they are heroes. That works for some. However, I have found in dealing with veterans that no matter how many medals you get and how much praise is heaped on you, the medals end up in a drawer, all that praise is in the past, and each Soldier, Marine, Sailor or Airman has to deal with their own demons.

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