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Rising Sun*
12-18-2014, 08:16 AM
Recent Islamicist/ISIL aligned hostage killings here provoked our Prime Minister to question why police snipers didn't shoot offender when he was in clear view through window.

Ignoring our Prime Minister ignoring standard police protocol that they wouldn't shoot while there was a reasonable chance of bringing the matter to a peaceful conclusion, as there was for much of the event, what is the chance of a round from a sniper rifle (and I'm guessing our police probably didn't have a Barrett .50 cal rifle but more probably a lower calibre around 7.62 or even less) maintaining accuracy and integrity after smashing through plate and or laminated glass?

Presumably two snipers could act in concert with one smashing the glass and the other firing momentarily afterwards, but that assumes that the glass collapses which, from my limited experience with laminated glass could be unlikely as it holds together rather well after impacts and penetrations, as it is designed to do.

Is our PM unrealistic in expecting a sniper to get a clean shot through, say, standard 6 to 12mm plate or, nowadays more probably, laminated glass?

JR*
12-18-2014, 11:10 AM
Regarding sniper rifles and their ability to penetrate laminated glass - I am not any sort of expert on this, but I would have thought that nothing less than a specialist, heavy caliber sniper rifle (as used our now-retired South Armagh Sniper) could confidently be expected to penetrate good-quality laminated glass while maintaining accuracy. Even the "two shot scenario" might not allow for the "saggy/sticky" quality which is deliberately built in to laminated glass. Pity your police did not have the services of the South Armagh Sniper ... but then, this is no joke, and I do not mean to joke. Condolences to the Australian people, and the families affected by this terrible event.

Regarding the "Islamist/ISIL" element, I really do not think that Australians should be beating each other up about the fact that the gentleman responsible for this outrage was not on a terrorist watch list. It is more a question of whether he should have been on a watch list for local mental health services. From what I can make out from the other side of the world, this dingbat was well known to the authorities - but in contexts criminal and with relation to mental health issues. Not so much an Islamaniac as a plain, ordinary maniac. There is a question which, perhaps, you (RS*) could help me with. It has been reported here that the perpetrator was on "police bail" pending the trial of very serious charges, including responsibility for the killing of his wife. What does "police bail" mean in the Australian system ? There would seem to have been good reason to detain him in a secure facility pending answer to these charges. Did he appear, at any point, before a Magistrate or District Judge ? The lamentable state of this person seems more analogous to that of the occasional individual Over Here (notably in the UK) who (for example) cuts down a complete stranger on a Metro platform because he has conceived the view that the victim is Satan on his trail. The person concerned here would appear to have been a homicidal psychotic, rather than any real sort of Islamist, trying to recreate some sort of personal fantasy.

A terribly sad case, in any event. With very great sympathy, JR.

tankgeezer
12-18-2014, 09:01 PM
Not knowing what type of glass was installed, or where the hostages were placed, it's tough for me to answer considering the conditions, so I considered this for some hours before writing this. As to a theoretical event where Hostage safety is not an immediate issue, and the glass was not bullet resistant/proof, it would be possible to have a sniper trained in that type of event make a successful kill, or incapacitation shot. In the last 10 years or so, ammunition for Sniper use has begun to be made for more, and more specialized engagements, as have the rifles themselves, and the calibers they are chambered in. A quick answer is that the very reliable 7.62x51, or .308 Winchester will do the job, and retain enough mass. It would be better if a solid round nosed bullet was used, Cupernickel, or all copper, even Bronze. These days, more powerful cartridges are beginning to creep into the Sniper tool chest. The .338 Lapua Magnum has been adopted by many Gov't's and police Dept as an additional option, the .300 Winchester Magnum is also starting to show up in the field. more power than the /308, but alot less costly than the .338 L.M. On the other side of the spectrum, the .300 Blackout has come along to fill a niche Sniper role. It's far weaker than most of the others, but uses a fairly heavy bullet, and for close range work, police, and Urban Sniping, it does a very good job. I looked over a number of images of glass of different types that had been struck by bullets, and there was not a wholesale scattering of shards, with the exception of ordinary unsafe window glass, it breaks up into large pieces, and may cause injury to innocents several feet from the point of impact. All the rest, were pretty much like the images, even with a number of close hits.
In the Military we were taught if we had to fire on a vehicle's driver, from the front, we were to aim 4 or 5 inches lower than the place we wanted to hit This was due to the slanted windshield, and the amount of deflection to expect in general from the light, 55 grain 5.56 mm M-16 round striking it. Shooting through glass is sort of a specialty, but can be done if one has the right tools for the work.
(This in no way is a judgement of the actions of those on the job, in this awful thing, they are the pro's on location. )

Rising Sun*
12-19-2014, 03:11 AM
Not knowing what type of glass was installed, or where the hostages were placed, it's tough for me to answer considering the conditions, so I considered this for some hours before writing this. As to a theoretical event where Hostage safety is not an immediate issue, and the glass was not bullet resistant/proof, it would be possible to have a sniper trained in that type of event make a successful kill, or incapacitation shot. In the last 10 years or so, ammunition for Sniper use has begun to be made for more, and more specialized engagements, as have the rifles themselves, and the calibers they are chambered in. A quick answer is that the very reliable 7.62x51, or .308 Winchester will do the job, and retain enough mass. It would be better if a solid round nosed bullet was used, Cupernickel, or all copper, even Bronze. These days, more powerful cartridges are beginning to creep into the Sniper tool chest. The .338 Lapua Magnum has been adopted by many Gov't's and police Dept as an additional option, the .300 Winchester Magnum is also starting to show up in the field. more power than the /308, but alot less costly than the .338 L.M. On the other side of the spectrum, the .300 Blackout has come along to fill a niche Sniper role. It's far weaker than most of the others, but uses a fairly heavy bullet, and for close range work, police, and Urban Sniping, it does a very good job. I looked over a number of images of glass of different types that had been struck by bullets, and there was not a wholesale scattering of shards, with the exception of ordinary unsafe window glass, it breaks up into large pieces, and may cause injury to innocents several feet from the point of impact. All the rest, were pretty much like the images, even with a number of close hits.

Thanks for that information.

It seems, from the somewhat confused, and I think as usual somewhat irresponsible and or ill-informed, reporting on this event, that there were some opportunities to shoot the offender when he was within perhaps about 5 to 10 metres of the window.

I confess that my initial reaction from the technical viewpoint to our Prime Minister wondering why a shot wasn't taken through the class, as distinct from him ignoring that our police won't shoot while there is a reasonable chance of a peaceful resolution, is that it fell into the "wise after the event but technically ignorant" class of opinions such as the endless and idiotic responses to fatal police shootings here by morons who complain that the police could have avoided killing the target by, for example, shooting him in the leg (no doubt with such exquisite accuracy that not only can these superhuman police with X-ray vision place the projectile perfectly on an armed, hostile and often liberally clothed target moving towards them but also avoid destroying the femoral artery and very rapid bleeding out).

In light of what you've said, maybe our Prime Minister was better informed on that aspect by his advisers than he was on some other aspects which produced inaccurate statements by him.


(This in no way is a judgement of the actions of those on the job, in this awful thing, they are the pro's on location. )

Agree entirely.

But, as usual, we are now undergoing what I think you Yanks call "Monday morning quarterbacks" at various levels of government, news media, and the wider community, all happily free of having been the cops on the scene who actually had to deal with the situation and uninhibited by any accurate or useful knowledge of what the cops had to deal with and various technical and other issues, including the one I raised in this thread.

Rising Sun*
12-19-2014, 03:26 AM
(This in no way is a judgement of the actions of those on the job, in this awful thing)

Without diminishing the outrage and gravity of two innocent people dying in our recent event, it's nowhere near as awful as the intentional murder of more than 130 school children and more of their teachers in Pakistan a few days ago or the ongoing kidnapping, rape and marrying off of school girls in Nigeria and sundry other outrages by Islamic primitives in less fortunate nations.

Perhaps if the latter outrages were felt as acutely here and in other fortunate Western countries as the recent event here, the West might get its act together and base foreign policy on moral outrage about these abominations rather than making soothingly disapproving noises about them while basing national policy on wider considerations of national self-interest and strategy in which the deaths of innocents are ignored when they conflict with those wider considerations.

Rising Sun*
12-19-2014, 08:38 AM
Regarding the "Islamist/ISIL" element, I really do not think that Australians should be beating each other up about the fact that the gentleman responsible for this outrage was not on a terrorist watch list.

It is more a question of whether he should have been on a watch list for local mental health services. From what I can make out from the other side of the world, this dingbat was well known to the authorities - but in contexts criminal and with relation to mental health issues.

Monis had no more mental health issues than any other Islamic fanatic, or other self-righteous and offensively stupid self-styled cleric or cult follower such as the disciples of the Westboro Baptist Church, the Branch Davidians, Japan’s Red Army, etc.

He first came to prominence by contacting the families of Australian soldiers killed in Afghanistan and condemning them for fighting Muslims. e.g. http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/mother-of-killed-soldier-never-felt-safe-after-being-harassed-by-man-haron-monis-20141216-128fuq.html

http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/sheik-pleads-guilty-to-sending-offensive-letters-disguised-as-offers-of-condolence-to-army-war-widow/story-fni0cx12-1226691410774


Monis defended charges arising from this conduct on the grounds it was protected by an implied right to freedom of political expression in the Australian Constitution. It follows that his actions were purely political. This produced litigation (funded by a cash-strapped legal aid service which thought this was more important than squandering those funds on perhaps hundreds of cases of domestic violence, such as that which allegedly led to his wife’s murder by his girlfriend and for which he was charged as an accomplice and for which both were on bail at the time of the siege) which resulted in a final dismissal of his case by the High Court of Australia on Friday 12 December, a few days before the siege on Monday 15 December. http://www.cdpp.gov.au/case-reports/man-haron-monis-and-amir-droudis/

Criminality and terrorism often go hand in hand. What starts out as self-justified crime to fund the political aim can end up as crime for profit and power. Witness the cancerous Palestinian armed movements and their crimes in Jordan and Lebanon as they undermined and destabilised those nations to fund politically inspired irregular military action, much of it directed at the host state, while much of the funds were siphoned off for personal wealth by the likes of Arafat.

Terrorist movements by their very nature of acting outside the law and society’s mores attract criminals, whether or not they have mental problems. What sort of normal citizen raised in any humane society and subscribing to its values runs over and beheads a soldier at random in England or exults in beheading or otherwise murdering people as does ISIS, or killing schoolchildren as does the Pakistani Taliban or countless other acts of barbarity by their ilk, Muslim and otherwise such as Pol Pot, the Mau Mau and endless others stretching back in barbarity through history?

Monis, like most of these appalling excuses for human beings, was nowhere near unfit to plead, so it is irrelevant whether he had lesser mental health issues. Our gaols are full of people with serious mental health problems, but that does not relieve them of responsibility for their crimes nor require that we treat their voluntary decisions to harm others as irrational acts beyond their control. (Nor, apparently, does recognising this impose any obligation on our society and its privately run “for profit” prisons to run effective programs to deal with mental health problems of criminals who in many cases are the victims of appalling backgrounds which formed them as children into bad adults.) Robbing a bank or kidnapping for ransom or any other serious and planned crime, such as that of Monis, is a voluntary choice which requires a rational decision to act in pursuit of personal objectives. Monis wasn’t hearing disembodied voices when he demanded an ISIS flag and stated that Australia was under attack by Islamic State. http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/opinion/lets-be-honest-man-haron-monis-was-an-is-terrorist/story-fni0cwl5-1227158489614 Indeed, his actions were considerably more calculated and rational than, say, an ice addict robbing someone to fund his or her next deal or hurting someone in an ice-induced psychosis.

An academic psychologist I knew many years ago made a close study of, including interviews with, a detestable man responsible for a mass shooting of strangers here. He assured me that the offender had no recognised psychiatric disorder. He just wanted to find out what it was like to kill people, and he enjoyed it.

Whatever it is that releases such people from the constraints which the rest of society observes to enable society to function with relative harmony, it doesn’t make them mentally ill in the sense that they are not responsible for their actions, any more than the average burglar or car thief who acts for personal profit outside social norms is mentally ill. They’re just criminals.

Monis conducted a perfectly lucid and rational chance conversation with one of his former lawyers minutes before he entered the building to commence the siege. The difference between Monis and the common burglar or car thief or even murderer is that his aims were political in pursuit of ISIS’s objectives to wreak havoc on our society.

Mad, bad, or just a waste of space, the man was an Islamic terrorist representing the ISIS brand of terrorism.

The police who refrained from killing him when they had the chance are to be commended for their restraint, and the police who killed him when he brought it upon himself are to be commended for doing so, and for saving the community from years of fanciful court actions by an obsessive litigant immune to the effects his personal and court actions had on others and, especially, those he selected as targets for the special brand of Islamic venom which matured with his siege and which could be expected to permeate his legal proceedings for decades.

Rising Sun*
12-19-2014, 08:44 AM
There is a question which, perhaps, you (RS*) could help me with. It has been reported here that the perpetrator was on "police bail" pending the trial of very serious charges, including responsibility for the killing of his wife. What does "police bail" mean in the Australian system ?

Bearing in mind that I’m in Victoria and the Monis cases were in New South Wales where the legislation seems to have been rather different as in Victoria it would be most extraordinary to be bailed on a murder charge as his girlfriend was, I suspect that (assuming wildly that the journalist got it right) the “police bail” reference may be to a New South Wales equivalent to our bail law which allows police to release many people on bail without bringing them before a court. Generally it applies where the matter is not serious and there are no adverse aspects, such as a flight risk or risk to prosecution witnesses.


10 Where impracticable to bring person arrested before court
(1) Where a person is arrested and it is not practicable to bring him before a court forthwith after he is taken into custody a member of the police force of or above the rank of sergeant or for the time being in charge of a police station—
(a) shall inquire into the case; and
(b) may, and if it is not practicable to bring the person arrested before a court within
24 hours after he is taken into custody, shall, unless the provisions of this Act otherwise require, discharge the person on bail in accordance with the Act.

http://www.legislation.vic.gov.au/Domino/Web_Notes/LDMS/LTObject_Store/LTObjSt5.nsf/DDE300B846EED9C7CA257616000A3571/B0AAD99511F56FEACA25781400774AC9/$FILE/77-9008aa095%20authorised.pdf

Rising Sun*
12-19-2014, 09:19 AM
There would seem to have been good reason to detain him in a secure facility pending answer to these charges.

I doubt it, at least under Victorian law and, by reasonable extension as there is a degree of commonality in laws between Australian states, quite possibly in New South Wales.

The charges against him relating to the letters to families of dead soldiers had been dealt with and were not, on the criminal scale, serious antecedents which indicated that bail should not be granted.

The accomplice to murder charges, whether weak as his lawyer maintains or strong, should have resulted in bail if his girlfriend charged with the murder was bailed, although I am still mystified how anyone charged with that murder in the circumstances described in the press could be out on bail.

The sexual offences charges were not of themselves sufficient to warrant detention pending trial.

If by ‘secure facility’ you mean a prison for people with severe mental disorders, the route to them before trial is usually by a very serious offence such as what would otherwise be murder accompanied by very serious mental illness rendering the alleged offender unfit to plead. Monis didn’t come anywhere near that. If he did, some of our politicians would qualify for indefinite incarceration (Not that I’m opposed to it as some of them are clearly a little irrational, albeit untreatable, such as one who put forward the proposition that if we had “carry concealed” firearm laws then statistically one or two of the Monis hostages would have been carrying concealed and all would have been well. This mimics the response by some in America to school massacres that students and teachers should be allowed to carry concealed. That would add a new dimension to schools. My year nine geography teacher would have been riddled with bullets by most of the class half way through his first lesson, partly because he was a lousy teacher but mostly because no real boys like geography, while resolution of pupil-pupil disputes before and after school and during lunchtime would have made the gunfight at the OK Corral look like a pillow fight and Lord of the Flies look like a hippie love-in. Then again, the knowledge that Brother X could shoot us dead just for not doing our homework instead of giving us the strap would probably have produced a degree of discipline not previously achieved in schools anywhere on this planet.)


A terribly sad case, in any event.

Yes, but perhaps a great deal of good will come of it, if the short term signs can grow in the long term.

There seems to be an uncommonly wide acceptance in our non-Muslim community that Monis did not represent our Muslims (ably reinforced by the Muslim community’s rather bluntly expressed, and I confess in my view a little harsh, refusal to bury him http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/just-dump-man-haron-monis-body-at-sea-muslim-leaders-say/story-e6freon6-1227161221594?nk=7dfbc7dee186e112f47ecabd4e5550cc ), which contradicts previous undercurrents of anti-Muslim sentiment.

The press is reporting condemnation of Monis by Muslim leaders, which reinforces recent reports condemning ISIS and their ilk, which I suspect has not been the case in the past so that the press fed anti-Muslim sentiment by reporting only the negative aspects.

Grass roots movements have sprung up in support of Muslims. http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/how-illridewithyou-began-with-rachael-jacobs-experience-on-a-brisbane-train-20141216-128205.html although naturally there are highly intelligent and greatly perceptive people of deep analytical capacity who can see in this seemingly positive movement hugely troubling signs which merely confirm how the rest of us oppress Muslims by such condescending movements http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2014/12/why-illridewithyou-an-ill-ride-2014121712402325335.html
(rather like the eternal victimhood of some rabid feminists, who see men’s movements opposed to domestic violence as a devious attempt by men determined to maintain power over women by wresting control of the issue from the true believers, being lesbians who don’t much like women in heterosexual relationships who most often are the real victims of heterosexual - as distinct from female homosexual – domestic violence).

Visible signs of basic community unity by Muslims and non-Muslims in condemnation of Monis and what he represents are powerful, and widely accepted as genuine unlike some previous acts of duplicity by some local Muslim leaders.

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So far, Monis has achieved, brilliantly, exactly the opposite of what he and his Islamic primitives want. It is probably the first “own goal” in the history of Islamic, and related but earlier more widely modern Arabic / Palestinian, terrorism, and certainly the best.

In his own words, ironically on Armistice Day (11 November) 2009


HE TOLD them their sons were killers and murderers. But outside court yesterday the self-styled Muslim cleric, Man Haron Monis, claimed letters he sent to the grieving families of Australia's fallen diggers were his own version of a "flower basket" or "condolence card".
Mr Monis, also known as Sheikh Haron, has been charged with seven counts of using a postal service to menace, harass or cause offence when he sent a series of letters to the families of Private Luke Worsley and Lance Corporal Jason Marks, who were killed in Afghanistan in 2007 and 2008.
Mr Monis, of Campsie, is also charged over a letter he sent in July to the family of the Australian Trade official, Craig Senger, who was killed in the bombing of the Marriott Hotel in Jakarta in 2007.
It is understood Mr Monis sent letters to other families of dead soldiers, for which he has not been charged.
During his appearance at the Downing Centre Local Court yesterday, his lawyer, Chris Murphy, said his client was a "peace activist" whose letters had contained no threats.
Mr Monis had said the letters he sent were condolence letters with a message asking the families to pressure the Government to pull out of Iraq and Afghanistan.
*************
"This pen is my gun and these words are my bullets. Despite my poor English, I fight with these weapons, against oppression, to promote peace," Mr Monis said.
"I love Australia. I want safety for Australia; I don't want to be used our soldiers [sic]. I don't want Australians to be unsafe."
http://newsstore.fairfax.com.au/apps/viewDocument.ac;jsessionid=8F90CF3832355EBC3B147C6 2CB6FA858?sy=afr&pb=all_ffx&dt=selectRange&dr=1month&so=relevance&sf=text&sf=headline&rc=10&rm=200&sp=brs&cls=192&clsPage=1&docID=SMH091111C32RK6F5M7D

JR*
12-19-2014, 11:26 AM
RS* - thank you for your lengthy, considered, informative and passionate response. I would say that I in no way whatsoever condone or excuse the actions of this nutter. He really should have been locked up. Coincidentally, we have an ongoing scandal here at the moment that involves an individual who murdered a totally innocent woman while on bail granted by a District Judge for a serious offence, notwithstanding the fact that he was already on police bail (granted by a police officer - we call it "station bail") for yet another serious offence. I do wonder sometimes whether our legal systems could work harder to protect the most of us. I did not intend any criticism of the system as it operates in any part of Australia. God knows, this sort of thing happens all over. In sadness, JR.

JR*
12-19-2014, 11:27 AM
BTW - I never liked the bloody IRA very much. "Peace Process" or not, I still don't ... JR.

Rising Sun*
12-20-2014, 05:14 AM
Coincidentally, we have an ongoing scandal here at the moment that involves an individual who murdered a totally innocent woman while on bail granted by a District Judge for a serious offence, notwithstanding the fact that he was already on police bail (granted by a police officer - we call it "station bail") for yet another serious offence. I do wonder sometimes whether our legal systems could work harder to protect the most of us.

We have the same issues here arising from some awful murders by people with bad histories while on bail e.g. http://www.news.com.au/national/breaking-news/batty-inquest-resumes-in-melbourne/story-e6frfku9-1227140400065 and, separately, on parole e.g. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-06-11/violent-past-of-jill-meagher-killer-adrian-bayley-revealed/4745406 .

I'm far from convinced that having such people locked up pending trial or until the end of their sentence would ultimately change much. As they would all be released sooner or later, in most cases I suspect it would merely have postponed their crimes, although in extra-family offences almost certainly involving a different victim.

Looking to the legal system, in all its organs from police to courts to prisons to parole, to protect us is, I think, a mistake. The problems are primarily with (a) the principles underpinning our legal system and notably the value placed on liberty of the subject and (b) with the nature and motivations of the offenders and the failure to determine whether or not they should be kept out of circulation based on those factors rather than putting them back into circulation because our legal, political and social philosophies elevate (a) over (b) when Blind Freddie could identify some people who are too great a risk to the community to let back into it.

In Victoria we have some circumstances where (b) prevails over (a) in relation to some serious sex offenders, but not others. I don't see why the revulsion towards some serious sex offenders as expressed in laws which enable them to be kept out of circulation because of their predicted danger to the community should not apply equally to violent offenders and career criminals of various types.


I did not intend any criticism of the system as it operates in any part of Australia.

I didn't detect any, nor would I have been offended if there was, for there are plenty of grounds for such criticism.

Although really any criticism should be directed primarily at politicians who make the laws, frequently to appeal to an uninformed electorate's demand for tougher law and order measures which merely increase our prison population without making any useful impact on crime. And, as anyone with any experience of criminal law knows, rather than turning them away from further crime it is an unfortunate fact that prison tends to make potential recidivists into confirmed recidivists.