On Tuesday, February 12th, an American hero was laid to rest. Chris Kyle, former U.S. Navy SEAL and the most accomplished sniper in America, was killed last week by a former soldier suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Chris was doing volunteer work with PTSD patients and was on a firing range not quite 50 miles from here when the patient he was working with shot Chris and his friend, Chad Littlefield, both of whom died. The suspect, 25 year old Marine Reservist and Iraq war veteran, Eddie Ray Routh, was arrested and charged with two counts of capital murder.
Kyle worked with a nonprofit group called FITCO Cares, to get returning veterans workout equipment. He had also written about using gun ranges as a kind of therapy for returning veterans, in which he'd give jokey tough-love between stories and beer. It's on such a trip with Routh that police think Routh turned a semiautomatic pistol on Kyle and Littlefield.
Unlike some, I’m not going to question the program of taking PTSD patients to a firing range. I’m not familiar enough with the program to make judgments on it. Obviously in this case it was a mistake but I have no idea if it has helped others in the past. Either way, the killing of Kyle and Littlefield was a tragedy that shouldn’t have happened.
One reason I’m writing this particular post, however, is because of the enormous silence coming out of Washington for Kyle. One year ago, when Whitney Houston died, she was lauded by the President and the American flag was flown at half-staff in her honor. Now, I have nothing against Whitney Houston at all. She was a very beautiful and talented woman; accomplished model, accomplished musician and a great actress, with a smile that could light up a gloomy day and a voice that could give you chills. But really – what did she do that deserved all American flags at half-mast that Chris Kyle didn’t?
As mentioned above, Chris Kyle was a Navy SEAL. Wearing that trident, alone, is quite an accomplishment. Kyle served four tours in the second Iraq war, and was awarded the Bronze and Silver Star medals multiple times. Iraqi insurgents dubbed him the "Devil of Ramadi" and offered an increasing bounty for his head that started a $20,000 and ended at $80,000. He was shot twice and survived six improvised explosive device (IED) attacks. Those details certainly make him a hero.
Kyle had 160 confirmed sniper kills making him the most lethal sniper in American history. He served his country and the military proudly and with honor. So why is it, I wonder, that the President doesn’t mention anything about his death and doesn’t lower the flags for Kyle? As the elected Commander in Chief of the armed forces I would expect the President to at least acknowledge a service member as well known and accomplished as Chris Kyle. Besides being the best at what he did he was a best-selling author. His book, "American Sniper", was on the New York Times best-seller list. And he was killed by someone with a legal gun. You’d think the President would have eagerly used Kyle as an example for his anti-gun rhetoric.
President Obama – I’m disappointed that you chose to stay silent about the death of a man who served his country at least as much as you have. Probably more. When is the last time you were shot, or even shot at, serving your country? And no, I’m not advocating that the President be shot. Don’t even go there. That would be one of the worst things that could happen to the country as a whole.
My point is – Chris Kyle put his life on the line every day for this country, in war zones. And rather than lower the flags in his honor, our President hasn’t even mentioned Kyle’s death. But he had the flags lowered for Whitney Houston, who threw her very successful life away with drugs. Chris Kyle was buried on February 12, 2013. Whitney Houston, a celebrity cocaine addict and drug user, drowned on February 12, 2012, in a bathtub with high levels of cocaine in her system. And the President ordered all flags in America lowered to half-mast in her honor. Chris Kyle, an American hero, was killed while trying to help a fellow soldier with PTSD and the President said and did nothing. And for that Mr. Obama should be very ashamed.