I know I come off as a Luddite. I am skeptical about new technologies.
I do recognize, however, that they can do some amazing things.
For example, there are some mapping apps that allow you to get very precise measurements between two points. For instance, the app informed me that I was approximately 1367 feet from the center of Harry’s Place.
That was an interesting bit of information because there were about five men standing on top of the roof.
Dialing up the scope to nine-power, I could see the tell-tale blue glow. At nine-power the men appeared to be a scant fifty yards away.
Again, using the apps on the phone, I learned the north wind had a steady speed of 13 miles per hour with gusts to twenty-five. Those measurements were taken at the airport which is slightly more exposed than my location. Although the old factory had been shaved down to a concrete slab it did have a berm around the site.
I like round numbers. I estimated 10 miles per hour.
Then I accessed the ballistic calculator I had downloaded onto my phone. I entered the data into the program and learned that I needed hold 30 inches high and could expect 18 inches of wind-drift.
The distance and wind-data were critical because I would have guessed the distance to be at least six-hundred yards and the program told me I would see at least seven feet of bullet drop and close to four feet of wind-drift.
People ALWAYS over-estimate distance. Even people who spend a lot of time outdoors and are estimating the distance between items they have walked around for decades. A general rule of thumb is most outdoors people over-estimate by a factor of two and most “city” people over-estimate distances by at least a factor of four.
I ate another granola bar and drank a bottle of water. I continued to monitor the news-feeds. I wanted to be fashionably late to the party. I didn’t anybody to ever accuse me of starting it.
I saw the orange glow coming from Mom’s neighborhood before it hit the “live” news feeds. The news feeds showed demonstrators engaged in frenzied dancing in front of a burning building.
I heard and saw fire-works going off in Vince’s neighborhood. No, I am not using “fire-works” as a euphemism for gunfire. They were setting off Fourth-of-July type fireworks.
I don’t know what they intended to accomplish.
Maybe they wanted a cover for when they started shooting guns.
Maybe they wanted to goad the residents into starting the gunfight.
Maybe they intended to use the fireworks as an excuse for how houses caught fire “I dunno, Officer. It musta been one of dem rockets dat started da fire”
The fire in Mom’s neighborhood was enough reason to start thinning out the herd of blue-faces.
I moved to the far side of the box car. I rolled up the pad I had been sitting on. Then I put the fleece on top of it. Stretching out prone, the muzzle of the rifle was still a solid six feet way from the door.
I almost forgot to put in hearing protection. It was a good thing I remembered before I touched off the shot. I could feel the concussive muzzle blast in my ribcage and even with the hearing protection my ears complained.
Looking through the scope, Mr Blue-face was still standing. It was a clean miss.
What the hell?
I double checked the numbers. Everything looked good.
That is when old Doc Lisenby started whispering in my ear.
Doc was my shooting coach and had very firm views on almost everything.
I heard Doc say “Shooting at a deer that is on the far side of a bean field is no different than shooting an aspirin tablet at fifteen yards. The mechanics are the same.”
OK, maybe I had rushed the shot. One of Doc’s training techniques was to build confidence in his students by having them shoot aspirin tablets with an Olympic grade pellet gun.
When we got good at that, he would make us do ten push-ups and then practice that, too. The push-ups certainly made me appreciate the effect my heartbeat had on where the pellet hit.
Yeah, I hadn’t been paying attention to that, either.
Finally, I heard Doc say “Don’t f___ with the equipment. Especially, don’t f___ with the scope.”
Doc had been a machinist mate in the Navy before becoming a Chiropractor. He served on old ships that had old equipment and he had a healthy respect for “lash”. Ten-thousandths-of-an-inch could be twenty-thousands on the work piece or it could be nothing. Basically, he taught us to never trust the marks on the dial.
I told myself to settle down. It was just like shooting aspirin tablets. It could have been a stray gust that made me miss or the beat of my heart.
Psyched back up, I went into the zone.
If I had a good shot but wasn’t in the best part of my breathing and heartbeat cycle, let the shot go.
Hold the cross-hairs so there is just the tiniest bit of orange sky showing between his head and the horizontal crosshair and line up the vertical crosshair with just a glimmer of orange light between the line and his north shoulder.
Half a second later, Mr Blue-face folded over and all hell broke loose.
The radio minders were all armed. They shot the living shit out of the berm just across Verlinden Avenue from them.
Imagine my surprise when they started taking fire back from that very same berm. My guess is that Alex had deployed shooters on the berm because they could look down the east/west streets and effectively lay fire on the rioters with their longer-range weapons.
After a half a minute of intense fire-fighting, the men on the roof pulled back.
Five minutes later, their numbers were replenished. I learned later that a significant guard detail posted around the perimeter of Harry’s Tavern after the brief fire-fight. If nothing else, the exercise had pulled hard-core Marxists from the riot and they would be less organized.
Oh, and there was a new Mr Blue-face running the show.That didn't take long.