Shooting at tanks for grins and giggles

Idaho gun enthusiasts target Guard tanks

I meant to point out this story last week but I never got around to it:

For years, ATV-riding, gun-toting sport shooters have flouted gun laws in part of Idaho’s high desert by taking pot shots at ground squirrels and other animals.

Now, officials say, they’re also setting their sights on National Guard tanks that train in the area…the federal Bureau of Land Management is considering expanding the gun-restricted area by 41,000 acres to try to limit shootings at Idaho Army National Guard troops who report slugs bouncing off their tanks on a regular basis.

I find this almost unbelievable.

First, “unbelievable” in the sense that I “can’t believe” that someone would shoot at a manned tank on a training range for any reason. That’s insane and it’s hard to accept that someone would think it’s okay.

Secondly, “unbelievable” in the sense that I question the truth of the allegations. I “can’t believe” that someone would strap a bomb onto themselves and then set it off on a market place full of women and children, but I don’t question that it happens. I’m actually wondering if the claim that shooters shoot at Idaho National Guard tanks is factually accurate.

Honestly, I wouldn’t put the fabrication of such a story beyond some folks who would use it for political reasons. Really.

I know a lot of people who would shoot at a lot of things that I would never ever consider shooting at, but I don’t think I know anyone who would shoot at a US tank.

Note that I’m not claiming that this is a false story. I’m just pointing out that I find it a bit difficult to believe.


  1. My Marine Reserve unit was using the machine gun range at Fort Devens once when we got a radio all from a National Guard tank unit that they were taking small-arms fire. Our first question was ‘so?’ – you are in tanks, right? Our second question was ‘what the fuck are you doing behind our range?’ We had to wait for them to get out of the area before resuming. I have my doubts about the story and the idea of civilians getting close enough to take potshots at a tank undetected.

  2. I’m not so skeptical. The local C-130 squadron guys mentioned finding bullet holes in their birds after doing a few of their low level flights over the mountains. They figured it was farmers upset because the noise from those big turboprops were causing Bessy to produce less milk. As far as I’m concerned, if I’m hunting or whatever and someone shoots at me, or even puts a scope on me for an unreasonable amount of time, I’m shooting back. They don’t like those rules of engagement, screw ’em, they shouldn’t have gone there. Unfortunately there are darn few C-130s that can shoot back.

  3. The original symbol on RR cars for explosives looked too much like a target. It was changed to something more discrete because of plinkers…

  4. I did TC school at Boise. I would believe that folks there might do this. Not out of malice, but out of stupidity, thinking the tankers wouldn’t notice and there won’t be any harm done.