Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Remote Riflescope Shutter

SWAT team leader controls when snipers can take a shot . . . and when they can't.
  (+13, -10)
(+13, -10)
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Probably a superfluous invention because I don't think there are often accidental police snipings (Ruby Ridge?).

My idea is simply that the sniper rifle is equipped with a telescopic sight that has a shutter in it that is controlled by a person in charge. The sniper can't take a shot unless with shutter closed. Probably more significant, and useful, is, if the shutter is usually open, a team leader could stop everything (close the shutter) if a sudden change arose. The default (if it lost contact or detected a cracking exploit, say) would be an OPEN position.

I am _certain_ that police snipers wouldn't like this idea very much as they likely think that only they can make an accurate threat assessment from their vantage point.

But . . . there it is.

bristolz, Apr 05 2002

Court TV Crime Library: "All About Randy Weaver and Ruby Ridge" http://www.crimelib...randy_weaver/1.html
"In August of 1992 Americans tensely watched as events began to unfold on a remote ridge in Northern Idaho, involving a white separatist family and the FBI." [bristolz, Feb 21 2005]


       What happens when the sniper is already pulling the trigger and the scope suddenly goes dark? The shot still fires, but the intended target is hit in a nonfatal way. The target then has a few moments to realize he's a goner and shoots the hostage out of spite.   

       Better would be a remote trigger lock with a flashing light in the scope or audible tone to alert the sniper to stand down.
BigBrother, Apr 05 2002

       The shutter could lock the trigger too, preventing the shot from going off.
waugsqueke, Apr 05 2002

       How can the sniper aim (prepare) when he can't see through the scope? Would you appoint someone a sniper if you didn't trust them?. I vote for training.   

       Beyond that, I'd go with [BigBrother]'s solution: trigger lock.   

       Somone also suggested a camera that records what/when the sniper shoots.
phoenix, Apr 05 2002

       Remote control guns. Hmm....
RayfordSteele, Apr 05 2002

       Hey, I added the caveats . . . I didn't think of the trigger lock but I did think about the target assessment for which the sniper needs the scope. My intent was that it be a failsafe device invoked only when . . . well, it is halfbaked you know.
bristolz, Apr 05 2002

       Ah, yes, a re-read makes it more apparent that the intent is to close the shutter on call - not open it. My bad. Bone -> Croissant.
phoenix, Apr 05 2002

       There are remote firing weapons designed to do just this already. They are remotely maneuvered, aimed and fired. Unmanned ground (combat) vehicles are in use in the military and law enforcement. They put the decision to fire at the command level. Not available to deer hunters (yet). Since you are improving weaponry and/or the responsible use thereof, Croissant.
dag, Apr 05 2002

       You have to wonder what the new U.S. Army will be unveiling soon for the 21st century soldier. There have been articles in the science interpretive magazines about this. Lots of high-tech communication gear involved, but don't remember anything about the idea detailed here.
entremanure, Apr 06 2002

       A SWAT team that could be hacked...
dsm, Apr 06 2002

       [dsm]: The proclamation that something can be cracked is nearly pointless because, well, anything can be cracked, no?  Bribing a sniper is a form of cracking the SWAT team (or 'hacking' as I guess some call it).
bristolz, Apr 06 2002

       [bristolz] Anything can be cracked you say? How about.., what about... O.K. you are right.
dag, Apr 06 2002

       They already have the authority. Snipers have to be told to take the shot, but are usually given an if/then as well...'if the hostage is in immediate danger, then shoot'. They line up and track the target, but don't shoot unless told to.
StarChaser, Apr 06 2002

       First off, controlling when your rifle fires is one of the first things a sniper learns. Deciding when it's appropriate to fire comes a little later, but no sniper is put on a rooftop, grain silo, or grassy knoll before demonstrating a thorough mastery of this skill. A device like this would cripple the shooter's target-acquisition time, dramatically reducing the effectiveness of the unit. Additionally, as in StarChaser's example, a heuristic command like "if the hostage is in immediate danger, shoot" would be impossible. The commander can't know what the sniper sees without being told, and the sniper can't see anything with his scope blocked. If we can't trust a SWAT sniper with a functioning rifle, then we should just find a nice shady spot and wait for the Morlocks.
Charles Hatfield, Sep 21 2002

       Well, the idea is that it is normally "open," and would only be closed if there was some unusual "don't fire" situation that the sniper couldn't know about but that command did.
bristolz, Sep 21 2002

       An interesting gun idea, and well intentioned. I would agree with the trigger lock variation, but a field commander with six video screens to watch is no better suited than the sniper to make the call. Although it will eventually come to this, given the race of technology and government, but it should be far enough away that none of us will see it.   

       I'd rather have a team of trained professionals whose judgement I trust.
normzone, Feb 21 2005

       Six video screens?   

bristolz, Feb 21 2005

       Well, no challenge intended here. Six seemed like a reasonable number, considering the [Ruby Ridge] report referenced FOUR HUNDRED federal agents on the scene.   

       There's a Neil Stephenson quote that might fit here....In [Snow Crash], one of the charactors is describing a handful of taxi drivers, holding several handguns and a shotgun.   

       "Any more of these guys and they'll be able to form a government"   

       I would wager the Ruby Ridge incident reflected departmental procedure / doctrine more than errant workmanship.   

       I know that both guns and politics are touchy subjects here. No offense intended, always open to online/offline discourse. I'm not a gun nut, nor much of a nut in general, honest.
normzone, Feb 21 2005

       Motorola had a trigger lock voting system in the mid 1980's - all team members' triggers were locked until they indicated via a button on their weapons that they had a clear shot.
AbsintheWithoutLeave, Feb 21 2005

       Surely the sniper is often also the eyes of the operation. Thats partly what the telescopic sights are for. In, for instance, a hostage situation it is quiet often the sniper which is feeding info to the commanding oficer, who can then make the decsisions. This role would be negated if the sniper was 'blind' until showtime. Also, snipers in these circumstances are often working to an exacting set of protocols which means they can improvise within these protocols and make an educated judgement call.
etherman, Feb 21 2005

       All this is is a guaranteed stand-down. Blind the sniper momentarily so that they can't take a shot. All of the goings on about trigger locks, target acquisition and tracking, snipers being the eyes of the operation, video screens, threat assessment, cats sleeping with dogs, et cetera, have little to do with the idea as written.   

       Granted, it's probably not a great idea but the arguments meaningful to me are those that center on the notion of closing the scope in a crucial instant, of an ironclad stand-down when command knows something the snipers don't.   

       Anything else is just typing ;-)
bristolz, Feb 21 2005

       Blinding the sniper won't work - he/she needs to track the potential target - the trigger lock allows this.
Who is/was Ruby Ridge?
AbsintheWithoutLeave, Feb 21 2005

       Link to lengthy Ruby Ridge recounting added for [AWOL].
bristolz, Feb 21 2005

       [bristolz] Thanks for the link - I agree with [normzone] - sounds like poor planning and procedure escalated this incident. What a scary world some people inhabit.
AbsintheWithoutLeave, Feb 22 2005

       While it wouldnt prevent a bad judgement call like this device could, there is a scope out there that records on a 1/2 second loop until recoil is felt, then it locks its memory and stops recording. It can then be plugged in to a video screen and it can be determinined if the shot was on or if the shooter flinched. Could be expanded to record a longer time period, say, 20 seconds before and 10 seconds after the shot to determine if the sniper was justified in making the shot. Could at least help with any investigations after the fact. Until then, I will rely on their training and judgement.
Hunter79764, Jul 09 2006


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