Chris Kyle, Former Navy Seal Sniper, Killed at Texas Gun Range

From We are Respectable Negroes:
The Iraq War eats its young again. There are an estimated 22 suicides by veterans each day. The Imperial misadventures of Bush, Cheney, and company continue to bear ill-fruit.

Chris Kyle, author and former U.S. Navy Seal sniper with (at least) 160 kills in Iraq was killed at a Texas gun range by a fellow veteran who he was trying to help with overcoming his post-traumatic stress disorder.

I extend my condolences to all parties involved.

As I wrote here, I was never a fan of Chris Kyle. I respect his skill at killing. But, the way in which he was feted by the Right-wing media for his deathly exploits struck me as typical, distasteful, chicken hawk cheer-leading. Kyle also seemed too proud of his exploits. He also profited from them. In all, I have more respect for quiet warriors like Alvin York, men who do their work, and want to have peace after their service is done.

Kyle's murder at a Texas gun range has invited some obvious--and well-deserved snark--from those who oppose the Gun Right's fetish for guns as a cure all for society's ills.

If guns lead to a polite society why was Kyle killed at a gun range--surrounded by all of those guns? If guns make us safe, why couldn't an expert shooter, surrounded by others who are ostensibly very skilled with their guns, fight off his attacker? If teachers can be expected to fight off armed shooters, why couldn't one of the most lethal men on the planet use his gun to stop his murderer?

While those questions score cheap political points, we cannot forget that anyone can get got, as the saying goes, if they let their guard down. Omar from The Wire was killed by a kid at the corner spot. If it can happen to Omar (or Chris Kyle) it too can happen to me, you, or other folks far more dangerous.

War casts a long shadow. Between the blow back, a wrecked economy, and the many tens of thousands of wounded warriors returning home from battle overseas, there are likely to be many more Chris Kyles felled during peacetime.

The ancients have much wisdom to offer here. It is time we started listening to them.

The gods fail not to mark
Those who have killed many.
The black Furies stalking the man
Fortunate beyond all right
Wrench back again the set of his life
And drop him to darkness.

--AESCHYLUS, Agamemnon
I wonder if he ran into Nancy Lanza on the other side.

Comments

  1. I'd never heard of this guy but solider or not, 150 lives is a LOT to be on one person's soul. I don't think you need to be too religious to be bothered by that, but the way he was celebrated is creepy, b/c we know that not every one that's been killed by these guys was an "insurgent." I just think they kill whenever they want when they are over there.

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  2. No, I don't think those questions are cheap political points. The gun nuts brought that mess into the discussion in the first place, so let's discuss them then. That particular situation was a textbook one for all their rhetoric to have been proven true.

    As for "anyone can get got if they let their guard down" well, that only strengthens the argument. He was a combat veteran at a shooting range (in Texas) with a bunch of people (other combat vets included) I'm guessing he didn't know: what was he or anyone else doing with their guard down? Because guns are safe and they were therefore in one of the most safest places you could be.

    So when that ish gets proven wrong we are supposed to just be quiet and forget everything that was shoved down our throats in the aftermath of the CT shooting? As soon as an armed school teacher or janitor heroically saves the day at their school by shooting their armed assailant dead I'll STFU.

    I saw that expose where they armed a bunch of civilians - about half professed to having a lot of experience already with weapons - gave them an intensive weapons and shooting training course and subjected them to a surprise armed assailant scenario. Most of them froze, many never went for their weapon, some went into flight instead of fight mode. One tried to get his weapon but it got tangled in his clothing, and the only one who was actually able to get a shot off missed hitting anywhere near the assailant.

    Nicthommi, I agree. I find it not only creepy but chilling and disgusting how that guy was celebrated - and also how he profited from all those lives he took. Karma's a b!tch and well some people don't get to die of old age in the comfort of their beds surrounded by their loved ones.

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    1. I saw that expose where they armed a bunch of civilians - about half professed to having a lot of experience already with weapons - gave them an intensive weapons and shooting training course and subjected them to a surprise armed assailant scenario. Most of them froze, many never went for their weapon, some went into flight instead of fight mode. One tried to get his weapon but it got tangled in his clothing, and the only one who was actually able to get a shot off missed hitting anywhere near the assailant.

      Why am I not surprised?

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    2. And let's honest. When white people panic they somehow always manage to shoot black people. I would bet that if there was a black guy in the room and a white assailant came in, a lot of people would shoot the black guy even if he was on their side.

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  3. You know...I tried to come up with some clever/witty/amusing commentary on this one, but there really is no need.

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    1. Notice how folks rushed to say defend the idea that PTSD-suffering veterans should own guns. Even with 22 veterans committing suicide on a daily basis, folks are rushing to the defense.

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    2. Notice how white people who kill are always labeled mentally ill and not responsible...

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  4. Everything about this is ghastly and bizarre.

    PTSD is all too real, and many of these men--black,white, or otherwise-- who are returning from combat tours really are straddling a psychological precipice. And this becomes especially problematic for the women in their lives.

    I hadn't heard of the victim before. The man killed 160 combatants? At best, one might characterize his occupation as a necessary evil, but I can't say that I agree with the idea that being particularly skillful at killing people, combatants or otherwise, merits "respect". But maybe that's just my privilege talking;I never served in the military, and I don't live in a conflict zone.

    But.

    How does one have the opportunity to kill THAT many people? It's jaw-dropping. It seems, just as a matter of psychological well-being, there'd be a cap or something on the number of people one person could kill before they're pulled from combat duty. What kind of horrific toll does that take on the human psyche?

    Unless...

    Yeah, just chilling.



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