For those of you who have been victim to my long and drawn out essays, this will probably come as a welcome departure, but not any less important, I think. The topic here, as is illustrated in the title, is head shots, more specifically, the preponderance of people killed in the Occupied Territories from gunshot wounds to the head. This may be a waste of time, I hope it will not be.
I, being a firearm enthusiast myself, have spent many years studying the various firearms in use today, and due to the amount of time, study, and hands on experience I have spent with them, could qualify as an unofficial expert.
In perusing the various news stories coming out of Palestine recently, I have been struck by the preponderance of people being killed by gunshot wounds to the head, including the two Brits, one a cameraman, the other a peace activist. There is something that needs to be said here about this, although the information I may be bringing is probably of no surprise to anyone.
The rifle used by the Israeli soldiers is the M-16. I am very well versed on this weapon, as I have literally fired tens of thousands of rounds through it over the last several years. The one thing that can be said unequivocally about this weapon is its inherent accuracy. Throughout the years, I have been amazed at the ability of this weapon to make a marksman out of anyone. When I would get together with other shooting enthusiasts over the years and would compete with them, it was the one time I was willing to gamble money, because hitting a target with it was never a gamble. Typically, a person taking only little care with his aim, can hit a gulf ball at 100 yards 6 out of 10 shots, even with open sights, no scope. My friends and I for fun would set clay pigeons out at 300 plus yards and watch them explode shot after shot. A clay pigeon is only about 4 inches in diameter. The situation is only made better for the shooter if he has a scope on the weapon, in which case instead of hitting 4 inch clay pigeons at 300 yards, he could hit eggs. It should also be noted that in almost every picture lately showing Israeli soldiers in the Occupied Territories, they carry scoped M-16’s.
The reason I am bringing this up is because I fear that many people reading the reports of civilians killed in Palestine by Israeli soldiers will assume that these head shots were the result of random hits fired out of a machine gun. I do not believe this for several reasons, one of which is the fact that the M-16 no longer fires as a fully automatic weapon, meaning that the shooter can empty the magazine by holding down the trigger until he runs out of ammo. The M-16 was redesigned years ago to offer only a 3-round burst, in an effort to save on ammunition.
The other reason I do not believe these head shots are random is because, as I have said, the M-16 offers the shooter the ability to discriminate in the placing of his round. It literally is a sniper rifle, with its precision sighting system, low recoil, and 3,500 feet per second bullet. And due to the small caliber of the projectile, (literally a high-powered .22 bullet) the chances of surviving a hit to the body are better than what would be possible with a larger military round, such as the 30 caliber rounds used by ex-Soviet forces. Therefore, whereas a body shot with an M16 may result in the victim living, a head shot would guarantee his/her death.
This is something to think about as we hear the reports of Palestinians being killed in the Occupied Territories, particularly those children who are being shot in the head. I would like to give the benefit of the doubt to the Israeli soldiers that they aren’t deliberately shooting people in the head, but my analysis is that they probably are.
Mark Glenn is an American and former high school teacher turned writer / commentator. He can be reached at: [email protected]. He contributed above article to Media Monitors Network (MMN).