Fascination with Snipers

What is it about snipers that makes them so cool? I love the idea of a sniper. But I can’t determine why. I’m not in the military. I have no professional reason for this fascination. I am not a marksman. I have no fanatical reason, either. The only experience that I have with sniping is from Hollywood and video games, especially Halo and Call of Duty. Why the fascination? I don’t know, but I can tell you what I like about sniping.

Think back to the days of the old black Xbox. Halo was the game of choice. It had a wide array of weapons, but one of the coolest was a .50 caliber sniper rifle with a 10x zoom scope and optional night vision. Precision. Accuracy. Stealth. Power.

Fast forward to Halo 2 on Xbox Live matchmaking. The queue is snipers–a specified game type devoted to the .50 cal sniper mentioned above minus optional night vision scope with a secondary alien sniper rifle, an energy beam type, and grenades and stickies amidst a 4v4 grudge match. Cat and mouse. Hide and seek. Solo, pairs, or groups. High ground. Low ground. Strongholds. Scoping. No scope pwning. ‘Twas the gentlemen’s game: evenly matched with identical firepower, but the men separate themselves from the boys through precision, strategy, and team work. It was amazing. Hours upon hours were spent in sniper glory. Win or lose, it was intense fun.

Then came Halo 3. Snipers no longer existed in it’s own Xbox Live queue. The sniper rifle itself was made more precise, requiring even greater accuracy in the hands of the shooter. The four rounds of the sniper could not leave the gun as fast as the predecessors. With the accelerometer speeding up head movement, aiming became much more difficult. When it eventually got its own queue again, snipers simply was no longer the same intense fun. Not to mention, it wasn’t as balanced, because the alien sniper was no longer the secondary weapon. Either the pistol or the shot gun was the secondary, giving a heavy advantage to the combatant armed with the smaller weapon in a close range battle against an opponent who still has the sniper in hand. This distaste lead me to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.

Before Modern Warfare, I had played Call of Duty 2 and 3. They were fun, because they were nostalgic. They had realistic but classic sniper rifles. Still required accuracy. Still possessed power. But it had an added element of realism. The sniper could hold his breath to steady his aim. Super cool.

Now, fast forward to Modern Warfare. It was as realistic as they could be. But add to all the realistic weapons, steadying the aim, and add in stealth. Snipers could wear camouflage appropriate to the surrounding environment. Bangarang. This level of stealth is unparalleled. However, it doesn’t stop here.

Modern Warfare 2 takes the video game sniping cake. Cool weaponry. Sweet tech. Awesome stealth. But then it added in awesome tactics awarding the solo sniper for his patient and valiant efforts: predator missiles, harrier strikes, pavlo choppers, gunner choppers, and even game ending nuclear bombs. These enable the sniper to go rogue, patiently work to destroy the opponent, and, with the aforementioned perks, become a one man army, a multiplier.

I’m not here to determine which game is better between Halo and Call of Duty. I’m here to declare what I like about snipers. But I have merely covered video games. I have yet to talk about Hollywood.

There are several movies and a couple of TV shows that come to mind immediately concerning snipers. Enemy at the Gates is an awesome sniper vs sniper movie. I love it. I get engrossed in it. Saving Private Ryan has a sniper and even a sniper vs sniper aspect, but it left me wanting more. Shooter is, simply put, awesometown. Mark Whalberg does a great job in that movie. Bad to the bone. Tough. Patient. Smart. The movie shows the versatile but deadly nature of a sniper. It highlights how well a sniper utilizes stealth to attain victory. This movie, like Enemy at the Gates, kept 110% of my attention all the way through.

Movies are not the only Hollywood aspect. Leroy Jethro Gibbs from NCiS is a Marine Corp sniper, and the show relies on his past quite a bit, and I never tire of it. This show demonstrates through fiction how sophisticated the methods and tactics of a sniper really are.

More so than NCIS, the History Channel has had a couple of episodes highlighting sniper stories from Vietnam through the current day. This show is absolutely impressive. Not only does it recount the story of some sniper kicking butt and taking names, but it offers reasoning, strategy, science, and replicated experiments. It is superb.

So, there you have it. I’m fascinated by snipers. I love the power and precision of a sniper rifle. I am drawn to the stealth strategy of a sniper. I applaud the sophisticated methods a sniper uses. It’s similar in many respects to my fascination with ninjas, but that’s for a different time. Maybe all of these things fascinate me because I like strategy and sophistication? Maybe it’s because I like the concept of a lone ranger? Or, maybe it’s the psychological association I have with the fond memories from Halo 2 Xbox Live?

What about you? Are you fascinated by snipers? What’s your favorite sniper game? Sniper show? Sniper movie? Why do snipers fascinate you?

Supercharged 2011 Mustang GT Sets Speed and Time Records

Ford Racing’s supercharged 2011 Mustang GT set a speed and time record at Bristol. It completed a half mile oval in 19.481 secs at 98.497 mph. It doesn’t seem fast, though, right? Consider this:

So while that doesn’t sound all too impressive to those of us used to 1320 times, well, put it like this: the best of super bikes was only able to eek out a time just a tenth slower & a mph slower, also. That’s nuts; a Mustang beating a bike around the track in a 1/2-mile sprint!

Go to the article at StangNet and watch the video to see it yourself!

New Mustang Color for 2012: Lava Red Metallic

Ford is producing the 2012 Mustang with one additional paint color, lava red metallic, according to StangNet, who is basing its information from Mustang Heaven. See this post for more details.

I love this paint. It is like the 98 Mystic Cobra. Close up, it looks like a black cherry red, but, as per pictures, farther away it looks black. Very nice color. I’m still hooked on grabber blue with those aluminum rims though, but I thought this new lava red metallic was worth a mention.

Chelsea 2-0 Manchester City

Here was an exciting game. Chelsea was fun to watch even though they didn’t score many goals. Torres was looking brilliant. I think Torres with Kalou is a good pairing up front. I think Torres is finally beginning to get comfortable and is finally finding his form in Chelsea blue. David Luiz continued his strong form in the back and netting a goal up front. Ramires obtained his first goal for Chelsea in injury time during the second half, clinching the W. Notably, this game marks Cech’s 13th clean sheet according to the commentators. Three points well earned, and though we won’t gain on Manchester United, it is good that we kept the momentum going. Well done, Blues!

The Future of Martial Arts Movies

In high school and much of college, I was really into martial arts movies, especially Jet Li. My favorite one was Fist of Legend. As I type, I am currently watching Fist of Fury, the Bruce Lee movie that Fist of Legend seems to have been based on. My cousin really liked Jackie Chan, and I liked him best in The Legend of the Drunken Master. The two teamed up in The Forbidden Kingdom recently, which was rather enjoyable. But they are aging. Like Chuck Norris, they will have to settle down. I have not been watching martial arts movies since college, and, so, I am not familiar with this genre’s posterity. Who are the movie warriors to replace Jet Li and Jackie Chan? Well, replace is too strong. Who will fill their shoes? Who are already on the rise? What contemporary movies are available with up and coming warriors? It doesn’t matter if it is a Kung Fu or ninja movie. I just love martial arts; seeing it in the movies is just plain and simple fun.

Whodunit: CSI vs NCIS

I love a good murder mystery movie or television show. As for TV, I love two particular programs–CSI and NCIS. I started watching CSI back in high school. Now, I’m not a fan of CSI: Miami and I can only tolerate CSI: New York. The original CSI, the one depicting a forensics crime lab in Las Vegas, is my favorite of the three, and I don’t merely tolerate this one. I love it. In the past year, I have expanded my whodunit horizons; I began watching NCIS. I’m not talking about the one in Los Angeles with Chris O’Donnell and Ice Cube. No, I’m talking about the one that takes place out of Washington DC. Like CSI, I love it.

Each of these whodunits have their own distinctive characteristics that I really enjoy. I love CSI’s focus on forensics, but I love NCIS’s playful banter. I love NCIS’ focus on deduction, but I love CSI’s complex antagonists. There are other differences, but I have made my point.

Now, which one is better, CSI or NCIS?