Friday, March 7, 2008

Paul Watson Shot? Wait a Minute!

Something is not right about the latest action on the Southern Ocean. At hand claims and even a video showing what looks like a shot through a bullet proof vest worn by Sea Shepherd's Captain Paul Watson.

In this video he claims to have taken a direct round to the heart region. For all intents it looks like he has, with the bullet passing deeply into the vest only to be stopped dramatically by a shield he was wearing below the vest.

The media are having a field day with this.

Now let's break this one down.

1. The shooter, presumably firing from the Nisshin Maru, was in a concealed position when he fired that shot. Not one of the Sea Shepherd crew maintain they saw anyone with a rifle on board. So let's assume concealment as being out in the open would have given the shooter away.

2. Both the Nisshin Maru and the Sea Shepherd vessel were underway at the time and on moving seas. The shooter had to adjust not only for random waves and distance, but from a concealed position had to account for wind, also assuming that Watson was moving around as well at the time.

3. To make that one shot, and were not talking about a stationary book depository in Dallas, the odds are almost incalculable that the shooter got Waston directly over the heart with just one single round. It's a simply amazing shot.

Now for the real question, "why?"

Why would the Japanese government risk everything by trying to kill Captain Paul Watson?
Clearly had this shot killed Watson they would have lost everything they have worked for to date with the International Whaling Commission and with world opinion. Watson would have become a Whale Martyr and whaling as we know it would stop due to unprecedented pressure from outraged group worldwide. What was in it for Japan to even attempt to try and kill this extremely high profile whale activist in full sight of multiple cameras and witnesses?

They did use flash bang grenades and it was caught on tape, but the single shot?

Kevlar and Ballistic Vests

To penetrate a Kevlar or ballistic vest from a distance you need at least a 7.62 mm round. Obvious choices would be military rounds with some sort of armor piercing capability. That is assuming the shooter knew that Watson was wearing a bullet proof vest in the first place. Obviously from the penetration the shooter understood this, otherwise this kind of round would have passed through Watson and rattled around the ship.

The Point?

We'll be the first to say that what Japan is doing is wrong. Whaling should end. What Watson and Sea Shepherd have done with this claim is raise the credibility stakes of both sides to an absolute win or lose scenario.

Japan and Waston should call for an independent commission to look at both the vest and the recovered spent round to determine where it came from and what type of round it was. If it is proven that the round was fired by the Japanese they should be forced to end whaling. This was attempted murder, nothing more or less.

If Paul Watson made this story up, the credibility of Sea Shepherd will be forever lost, their status as a non profit should be pulled, and Sea Shepherd should go away.

Time will tell, but probably not the shooter in this case, whoever it was.


Anonymous said...

Thank G-d that someone out there can apply some logic to this. I've served in two armies and, having looked at all the video on CNN, any shooter who could pull that shot would be the worlds best. It's just ridiculous and Watson has totally made a joke out of his whole operation. It's a crying shame as the whales are the only ones really getting shot at and this kind of scam is not going to help them.

Horizon Charters Guadalupe Cage Diving said...

We have a way of seeing things for what they are.

Anonymous said...

Paul Watson did get shot and you do not know what you're talking about I saw it on the Internet!

Anonymous said...

you saw it on the internet?! oh, my! then it MUST be true! LOL

Anonymous said...

Sea Shepherd has gone mad. This faked bullet episode was the final straw for me.

Why is Watson taking the focus from the killing of whales and on to himself? Ego? Ratings?

Shame on Sea Shepherd.

Anonymous said...

Watson is a Moran!!!

Anonymous said...

I can't beleive that people really that Mr W. Was really shot should really $&@$"&$ I have been shot wearing a bullet proof best and I can tell u don't just feel a prick. It hurts like a horse kicked you in the chest and leaves a black and blue there for 2 weeks. Other bull crap that he actually faked it is just what an a hole would do.

Anonymous said...

Why does anyone follow Paul Watson? He takes a crew of unexperienced seamen into life threatning situations and when ever there is a real decision to be made, he tells someone else to make the decision. He accepts no responsibility as a real captin would. By the way Paul, take acting lessons, no way you were shot. Keep wasting other peoples money.

Anonymous said...

1) It seems reasonable to assume that any shooter would have been in a concealed position.

2) The video shows that the cameramen could remain relatively steady while focusing on the Japanese, so it does not seem farfetched that a shooter could likewise remain steady as well. Anyone familiar with a scope would understand how to adjust for windage. Watson was shown standing still on the deck.

3) As detailed above, it was not that amazing of a shot. The target (Watson) was standing still, and any hunter should have been able to account for wind. The relative movement between the two ships was not so much that the cameramen could not focus on specific targets, so it is reasonable to assume that a semi-trained shooter could track a stationary Watson.

4) It does not take a 7.62mm round to penetrate Kevlar vests. Many rifle calibers can actually defeat such vests, which is why Level III protection against rifle rounds is achieved with ceramic or steel plates backing up the Kevlar. Level III body armour is intended to protect against up to 7.62mm Full Metal Jacket (FMJ) rounds @ 2,750 fps/838 mps. One would not need armour-piercing rounds to defeat a Kevlar vest dependant on the caliber and type of bullet used, and it would seem that the latter variable is an important one in this case.

5) The lead that Watson claims to have removed from his vest is fitting with a hollow-point round, which is especially lethal against flesh but lacks penetration against Kevlar. It is entirely reasonable to assume that the Japanese would use hollow-point bullets to finish off whales as such rounds are commonly used for hunting. Watson is shown in videos having the round cut out of the vest rather than it having fully penetrated, which is entirely feasible.

Anonymous said...

6) Why does everyone assume that a pistol round would have to have been fired from a pistol? There are many carbines on the market that fire pistol rounds, and they are quite accurate to the distances necessary to have been used in this case. Pistols are inaccurate at range due more to the short sight radius inherent to their design whereas a longer carbine is inherently more accurate and can also benefit from the use of a scope. Just to clarify a point that some people on various sites discuss without knowing what they are talking about.

7) Another point of clarification based on things said on various sites. Watson would not necessarily have received severe bruising. Based on the video, the vest prevented actual penetration, which means the kinetic energy of the bullet would have been largely dispersed in the vest itself. Also, the badge is shown to have been severely dented. This would have further dispensed kinetic energy safely that would not have injured Watson. One could argue against the likelihood of factors coming together, but they are nonetheless feasible.

8) Why exactly do people think that the Japanese were purposely attempting to shoot Watson in the heart? Assuming the actions were real, it is entirely feasible that the shooter was simply attempting a torso shot. It is nonsensical to assume that it was a trained sniper trying to assassinate Watson as it is just as nonsensical to claim it was faked based on the same. Location of the shot means little without further information and context.

9) I do not know whether or not Watson was shot any more than the countless people speculating on the topic. I simply dislike when people are so misinformed on the things they discuss as they are somehow experts on the subject matter. Far too many people think they know something about guns, Kevlar, etc. just because they watch CSI. Watson’s claim is reasonably realistic and entirely feasible. Could it have been faked? Yes. Can it be assumed that it was faked based on available evidence? No, because there are no glaring holes in the story. People that want Watson to be a liar declare him to be so based on their infinite knowledge of what they THINK bullets do, how Kevlar works, etc. Given the appropriate rifle, scope, a minimum of training, appropriate ammunition, etc., the scenario could have occurred exactly as shown and as claimed by Watson.

10) Why would the Japanese have shot Watson? Were they trying to assassinate him? If so, why have they not attempted to do so again? None of these questions negate the above facts. First, I find it unlikely that the Japanese were officially attempting to assassinate Watson or anyone else from Sea Shepherd. I think it is much more likely that an angry crewmember took action in the heat of the moment. This sums it all up nicely. They were not trying to assassinate anyone officially. There did not need to be a long-term reason for shooting at Watson. It has not been attempted again because it was a single crackpot. Of course, this is all speculation, but it seems perfectly reasonable. After all, the Japanese use powerful water cannons against small boats, point their LRAD at helicopters, throw nuts and bolts at exposed people, etc. Violence is constantly bubbling right under the surface with the whalers, so it doesn’t seem like much of a stretch for one of them to take a shot at Watson without the consent of his superiors or the Japanese government.

Horizon Charters Guadalupe Cage Diving said...

Anonymous/SSCS Person,

Anyone with sensibilities have already discredited that video.

Discovery Networks have, most news sources, NGO's and the broader conservation community.

It did not happen as Watson claimed it did, it was a big lie for television ratings and faked media output.

This is the Green Curtain being pulled back on SSCS.

One question.

If Watson was shot why would he not give the vest and bullet to the police for identification.

As a media machine, which SSCS is, having that shot verified by Federal agents would have been a coup.

It was faked, he made it up and THIS is why you should reconsider your support for SSCS.

We did.

James said...

While I would agree that the shot COULD have been possible, based on what I know and having handled a rifle before, I still think it's bogus for a number of reasons.

The vest and badge would no have dispered the impact enough to stop bruising. Newtons law's of phsyics. To stop a bullet the force must be absorbed, and while the kelvar stops the bullet the force is still transfered to the wearer. And even though the bullet was stopped a lot of force would have been hitting him, much like a punch.

Second if Watson had been shot the vest and bullet could be turned over to authorties for verification. At that point the whalers would look really, really bad. It might not grind the hunt to a sudden halt, but it would help do so at some point.

Watson is a very, very smart man and loves to use the media to his advantage. He's also a very obsessive man who can't seem to see the forest for the trees at times.