- Politics and Social Issues
American Sniper: Why Chris Kyle was a Martyr For Freedom
Chris Kyle was (undisputedly) a hero. To the enemy he was a devil. The big country boy from Texas holds the record for the most confirmed sniper kills(160) in American military history. His detractors try to paint him as a "bloodthirsty" war hawk that boasted about taking other people's lives. In actuality, he was a humble, articulate, and proud American that was quick to point out his real concern...the number of lives he couldn't save as opposed to the ones he took. Kyle was a leader through and through. This was the guy placed on over watch duty and given the task of protecting his fellow soldiers from above. His knack for leadership didn't stop after his four tours of Iraq and trickled over into civilian life as well. Kyle paired with FITCO Cares Foundation, a nonprofit organization which created the Heroes Project to provide free in-home fitness equipment, individualized programs, personal training, and life-coaching to in-need veterans with disabilities or those suffering from PTSD. Kyle's philanthropic ideals were not limited to organizations and foundations, however. He often would help soldiers on an individual basis if they needed it no matter how deep their problems ran. He was a man for the people, by the people, and of the people. His life's mission was to protect you, me, and every free person in between.
Chris Kyle's life reads like a Hollywood script. So much so, that it was turned into one. The words "badass" and "tough" don't even do him justice. His path to immortality began as a rodeo clown riding bucking broncos in his native Texas. Injuries sustained and the tragic events of 9/11 forced his hand and set in motion a military career of epic proportions. In '99 he finally got his wish to join the service and reported for B.U.D.S, aka Navy Seal boot camp. Perhaps the most grueling and challenging military training in the world, the failure rate for those brave enough to even attempt this "hell-on-earth" test of will is 90%! Just to earn your trident is an achievement in and of itself. Chris's mettle was tested over and over again during Seal training, and he passed with flying colors. Trident and rifle in tow; it was time to get the bad guys.
War is Hell
To those that haven't participated in combat it's easy to label soldiers however they see fit. It happened during Vietnam and will probably continue to happen as long as wars are fought. Naivety allows many to view combat through the optics of rose-colored glasses. The fact is, however, that war is nasty, evil, and beyond the comprehension of civilian perception. It's a lot different swimming with Great White sharks than it is watching them on the Discovery Channel. I put forth these reminders for all those that denigrate Kyle's service or think they can pick and choose exactly how a war's fought. Take comfort in knowing that every person Chris laid to rest were bad people out to hurt fellow soldiers/innocent people. Here's an excerpt from American sniper that galvanizes the point i'm trying to make. "Savage, despicable evil. That's what we were fighting in Iraq. That's why a lot of people, myself included, called the enemy 'savages'. There's really no other way to describe what we encountered there. My shots saved several Americans, whose lives were clearly worth more than that woman's twisted soul. I can stand before God with a clear conscience about doing my job. But I truly, hated the evil that woman possessed. I hate it to this day." Take a close look at that quote. Now tell me, does this sound like a mindless killer with an insatiable appetite for bloodlust? The evil woman he's referring to specifically was a woman he had to drop because she was getting ready to pull the pin on a grenade in front of a convoy of soldiers he had sworn to protect. She didn't care that innocents were all around her, children included. The stories involving Kyle's heroism are countless but the fundament of doing the right thing is how he'll truly be remembered.
Chris Kyle tragically passed on Feb. 2, 2013 at a Texas gun rage that he himself helped design. Ironically, a fellow serviceman was responsible for slaying the very man trying to help him out. Part of what compelled me to write this piece about Chris is that the killer was finally found guilty in the court of law. Finally his lovely wife, Taya Kyle, and her two boys have a sense of closure that this monster will remain behind bars for the remainder of his life. However short-sighted or misguided you think Chris's decision to take a vet with PTSD out shooting, remember this: Chris Kyle was killed doing what he always did...helping others. His heart was in the right place and he wasn't afraid to go above and beyond the call of duty as exemplified during his military service. He didn't think in terms of potential risks and apparent repercussions of his actions as a soldier or a civilian. He did what he thought was best for the betterment of humanity and those around him. Being skittish and handling others with kid gloves was never part of his make-up. He was proud to be American and strong in his beliefs. This piece is dedicated to the everlasting memory of Chris Kyle and those like him that gave the ultimate sacrifice. Rest in peace.