Removing Hate from Your Crosshairs

I’m in awe of the guys and gals that can make the long shot. Watching the world’s greatest shooters is far more than entertainment for me. Observing the skill and intelligence it takes to shoot from long distances is a privilege. Over the past several years, I’ve had the honor of meeting the greatest shooters in the world at the International Sniper Competition. 

These incredible people are the top shooting professionals in the world. Their ability to remain calm under difficult circumstances, overcome environmental challenges, and face the extreme duress of this competition to hit steel at great distances is mind-blowing. I wish everyone could see the countless factors that go through these snipers’ minds while making the long shot under difficult circumstances. 

Jeremy Harrell said something in his Unbeatable Podcast interview that tore through my mind like a sniper’s bullet. He described how hate for the enemy has clouded the minds of many warriors as they sighted in on the enemy during combat operations. The vapor trail from this conversation left me thinking about how often misapplied hatred caused disastrous decisions on the battlefield and created living corpses of the survivors after a big fight

Hate can be a powerful personal motivator! However, hate carelessly directed in the wrong place can have long-lasting and devastating emotional consequences. It is almost universally accepted that hatred for the enemy fuels many warriors’ combat tours of duty. However, there is no way to measure accurately how often a battle turns on an individual warrior’s actions motivated by hate. Nevertheless, America needs warriors who have carefully considered what source is truly deserving of hatred and who fight against those forces with all their ability. I want to use the rest of this article to describe how the wrong focus on hatred can cause warriors to miss the real enemy completely.

Hate kills your range

Long-range shooting is incredibly difficult. So many factors go into making the long shot that you’re far more likely to miss than to put a round on target. It takes great skill to hit targets at distances exceeding 800 yards. Few people on the planet can hit at distances of 1 mile or more. The level of difficulty increases proportional to the distance to the target. Similarly, as the distances increase, the number of people capable of making the shot decreases.

Everything must go right to make the long shot. It took 69 attempts for one of the world’s greatest shooters to set a Guinness Record for the longest shot in history. After making countless corrections, the Nomad Rifleman team from Jackson Hole, WY, hit a target of 7,744 yards (or 4.4 miles) away. [1] Any single factor could have prevented this team from setting the record on this shot. Hate destroys a warrior’s ability to look at a situation objectively and see the challenges and opportunities it will take to make the right shot. There are untold cases where warriors have focused on a hatred for the enemy’s actions on the battlefield without ever considering what makes them your enemy in the first place. Misplaced hate always leads to short-sighted shooting.

Hate distorts your Dope

It’s not that kind of dope. This dope is the old English word for calculate. Dope is the math required to calculate all the factors to make the long shot. A sniper must do some amazing math to put a round on target from a mile away. Sniper math is referred to as Dope. The longer the shot, the more challenging the dope.

Hate can’t be neutral in combat. When applied correctly, hate can be a powerful combat multiplier to focus a military unit’s efforts and effectiveness. Similarly, hate can distract warriors and draw a military unit’s energy away from the real enemy when misapplied.  

Dialing hate out of the sight picture

For the sake of brevity, I won’t continue with the many phone calls and counseling sessions that I’ve had with warriors trying to undo the terrible emotional toll that misplaced hate has had on them after returning from combat. While every conversation is different, each one is equally sad and frustrating. Because there’s no way to undo your past, nothing I can say to make the shame disappear. My goal in these conversations is to help warriors work through their past and ensure that they don’t repeat those mistakes in the future.

There are obvious implications of misapplied hate to people from every culture and every walk of life. Because hate is such a powerful condition of the human heart, all of us must be on constant guard about allowing our hate to be directed at the wrong enemy. I’ve had to force myself while under direct fire in combat not to hate the enemy that is shooting at me but the ideology for which he went to war in the first place. In moments like this, my view of the enemy and the battlefield became crystal clear, and I was calm enough to make the shot in combat that hate could never make.

Listen to my whole interview with Jeremy here.


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