Most of us, especially when we get to middle age have fixed opinions on many things. Our basic values, experiences and outside influences over our lifetimes have shaped those opinions.
There is a fine line between being true to our selves, holding on to our thoughts and accepting that change may be good, that our opinions might need to change. That changing our opinions can change our lives and make them better.
As a former soldier in an infantry unit, I had mixed feelings about snipers. I recognised and admired their skill in being able to hit a target at 1000 metres or more under adverse conditions. But like many, I thought shooting someone, even an enemy, from so far away that he had no idea he was in danger, somewhat dishonourable.
Can any killing be called “honourable”?
Almost the same as stabbing someone in the back. It is probably a lingering shred of chivalry from the days when combat was carried out hand to hand with swords, spears or clubs.
Reading stories from WW2, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, I had to accept that one sniper can often inflict more serious damage on an enemy force by killing one or two commanders than a platoon can with greater firepower at close range. There are fewer casualties on both sides and poorly trained enemy troops faced with the sudden loss of their leaders are often made ineffective.
That helped change my opinions about snipers.
Yesterday, I read about a British sniper in Syria who saved a man and his son from imminent beheading by killing the executioner, knife in hand, with one shot from 1000 metres. He then killed two more ISIS fanatics with one shot each causing enough confusion for the man, his son and other innocent victims to escape. That’s good shooting.
It sounds like honourable action to me.
My point here is that while because of your opinions, you may detest war, find the idea of killing anyone awful beyond comprehension, the action of that sniper saved a man and his son from a terrible end, allowed others to escape, took two terrorists out of action and set the enemy back.
A second important point is that lives were saved because someone took hard, decisive, effective action. No sitting around making excuses for a bad start in life, religious tolerance or any other political correctness.
A decision was made, action taken, a skilled marksman did what was expected of him. Lives were saved, three bad guys permanently prevented from carrying out more brutal murders.
I have changed my opinion about snipers and other things too.
Are you strong enough to change your opinions about things? To accept that some change can be good? To take action?
Photo courtesy of Gualberto107 / freedigitalphotos.net