Peace Activist Has To Admit Barrett .50 Caliber Sniper Rifle Is Pretty Cool

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Vol 38 Issue 02

Howie Long Expresses Desire To Direct Radio Shack Spots

LOS ANGELES— Pondering his next career move, Radio Shack pitchman and former NFL defensive end Howie Long told reporters Monday that he is interested in directing an upcoming installment of the series of commercials in which he playfully endorses high-tech gadgets with actress Teri Hatcher. "I've given it a lot of thought, and I think I'm ready to get behind the camera," Long said. "I've done the acting thing for a while now, and I just feel like it's time for a new challenge." Long said he could bring the kind of experience and insight to directing the commercials that only comes from having spent countless hours on the set.

Receptionist Takes Leave Of Absence Citing Dehydration, Exhaustion

QUINCY, IL— Citing "dehydration and exhaustion," a spokesperson for Andrea Conklin announced Monday that the Quincy dental receptionist will take an extended leave of absence. "The stress and strain of answering Dr. Taubman's phones all day long has finally taken its toll on Ms. Conklin," spokesman Chris Vinocur said. "Andrea is now in the care of her personal physician, who has recommended that she take two months off to regain her strength." Vinocur denied rumors in last week's National Enquirer that Conklin had checked into a drug-rehabilitation facility.

Consumer Reports Rates Self 'Excellent'

NEW YORK— Consumer Reports magazine earned a rating of "excellent" in its special "Consumer Advocacy Magazines" issue, which hit newsstands Tuesday. "From our exhaustive, unbiased appraisals of all types of consumer products to our clear, concise writing style, Consumer Reports is once again the undisputed winner," the article read. "For the latest in consumer information and product-safety recalls, look no further than us."

Enron Executives Blamed For Missing Employee Donut Fund

HOUSTON— The Enron Corp. scandal widened Monday, when The Houston Chronicle reported that top company executives stole nearly $10 from the employee donut fund sometime between June and August of last year. "There should be at least $9.25 in the coffee can next to the filters," said Laurie Baker, a recently laid-off Enron employee. "I personally put $2.50 into that fund, and now it's gone." Enron CEO Kenneth Lay is already under grand-jury subpoena regarding $45 in Chinese-food-delivery allocations that mysteriously vanished on Nov. 17, 2001.

Confused Marines Capture Al-Jazeera Leader

DOHA, QATAR— In a daring effort to dismantle the vast Arab network, a company of confused Marines raided Al-Jazeera headquarters Monday and captured leader Mohammed Abouzeid. "Al-Jazeera has ties to virtually every country in the Arab world, and this guy was the key to their whole operation," Lt. Warren Withers said. "Nothing went through the Al-Jazeera communications array without his go-ahead." Pentagon officials praised the soldiers for their "courageous and swift action," but noted they would have preferred that the Marines captured someone hostile to the U.S. instead.

Homeless People Shouldn't Make You Feel Sad Like That

I realize not everybody can make mid-six figures like my husband. But just because you're not as fortunate as others, that doesn't give you the right to go around depressing people. That's my problem with the homeless: They spend all their time shuffling around in their tattered, smelly clothes, making you feel awful about having a nice home and job. Well, I don't think they should make you feel sad like that.

Who Do I Have To Blow To Win The Bancroft Prize In American History?

For the past seven years, I have devoted myself wholly to the task of studying the life of William Howard Taft, becoming, in the process, the world's foremost authority on our 27th president. I have delved deeply into both his personal and political history, tracing his journey from a hardscrabble Ohio boyhood to the highest office in the land.

Developmentally Disabled Senator Wants To Be Treated Like Any Other Lawmaker

WASHINGTON, DC—When he was elected to the U.S. Senate in November 2000, Sen. Freddy Rigby (D-NE) knew he had a tough road ahead of him. Developmentally disabled since birth, Rigby's controversial election provoked reactions ranging from misty-eyed admiration to outrage. But to supporters and detractors alike, this very special senator makes one simple request: to be treated just like any other lawmaker.
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Peace Activist Has To Admit Barrett .50 Caliber Sniper Rifle Is Pretty Cool

BURLINGTON, VT—Despite his staunch opposition to the National Rifle Association and U.S. military operations in Afghanistan, peace activist Paul Robinson conceded Monday that the Barrett .50 caliber sniper rifle is "pretty damn cool."

Robinson, who admits he finds the Barrett .50 caliber sniper rifle (inset) "pretty damn cool."

"Look, I realize that the use of this instrument of destruction, even in wartime, is morally reprehensible, and I don't see how anyone with a conscience could justify owning one," said Robinson, 31, a University of Vermont graduate student in sociology and president of the campus chapter of Amnesty International. "But you have to admit, it's pretty wild to think that it's capable of throwing a half-inch bullet into a man-sized target 1,500 meters away."

Robinson first became aware of the high-powered, exceptionally accurate weapon in 1995 while researching U.S. military involvement in Somalia, which he protested while pursuing a masters degree at Bates College.

"While gathering data for a petition letter condemning U.S. policy in Somalia, I was appalled to learn that the Special Forces were using a gun called the Barrett M82A1 to take out trucks from a mile away," Robinson said. "A friggin' mile. Can you imagine?"

Last week, a guilt-ridden Robinson bought a copy of Guns & Ammo containing an article titled "The Guns Of Black Hawk Down," which prominently featured the Barrett.

"It's a big gun, the Barrett," said Robinson, leafing through the article. "It's about five feet long and weighs almost 30 pounds. It fires the largest widely available cartridge in the world—a machine-gun bullet, really. It can empty a 10-round magazine as fast as you can pull the trigger. And thanks to its ingenious dual-chamber muzzle brake, gases are vented away, and the user feels no more recoil than you get with a 12-gauge shotgun. Not that anyone should know what the recoil feels like on any gun."

Robinson also noted that anyone with $7,300 can buy the civilian version of the M82A1, a fact he finds "thoroughly repugnant" and "kind of tempting."

"Though I would never, ever so much as touch one, I bet the Barrett is probably very fun to shoot," Robinson said. "And the fact that anyone can get their hands on this killing machine, plus a 10-power Unertl scope and a few boxes of match-grade 750-grain cartridges, for less than $10,000, well, that's just sickening."

The pacifist added that he would be willing to meet with any interested owners of Barrett rifles in order to "open a dialogue."

Robinson's friends are appalled by his attraction to the rifle.

"Paul can praise the Barrett all he wants, but he needs to remember that it's a device whose sole function is to kill people," said Max Shorter, 28, a friend and colleague of Robinson's in the sociology department. "It might be a triumph of ballistic engineering, but that should in no way obscure the fact that this is a tool for murder."

"Plus, it failed some of the Navy's field tests for reliability and accuracy," Shorter added. "The extractors kept breaking, I seem to recall."

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