I have to admit not knowing who Chris Kyle was until he was killed recently at a gun range in Texas. Kyle was killed along with his friend Chad Littlefield a few weeks back in a place called Glen Rose, Texas. The alleged killer, Eddie Ray Routh, 25, is a former member of the Marine Corps Reserve.he served in Iraq in 2007-2008. It seems that Kyle and Littlefield were reaching out to a "brother-in-arms so to speak, when they decided to help Routh ease his self dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Whatever Kyle was thinking, it seems shooting guns was not the best stress reliever for Routh.
Chris Kyle was a well known Navy Seal and a very accurate sniper whose been called the deadliest sniper the US military has ever had. Kyle served over four tours of duty in Iraq. It is said that terrorists within Iraq knew of Kyle and his deadly accuracy. There seems to be an argument over his exact kill rate but it appears to be between 160 and 255: either way, Kyle was a great shooter and a hero who wrote about his exploits in his book, American Sniper. Terrorists went so far as to put a bounty of somewhere between $20,000 to $80,000 on his head. It's a sad commentary on this man's life that he would be killed by a fellow soldier in America, at a gun range. The apparent killings occurred on February 2nd. Kyle it seems, tried to help a fellow soldier, and was killed for his attempt, along with Littlefield.
Eddie Ray Routh seems to be suffering from PTSD, a common malady soldiers pick up from being in the endless stress of military conflict. It would seem like an obvious problem especially in the consistent tours of duty our military faced with fighting two wars at the same time. A spike in military suicides has also plagued soldiers returning and even those stationed here in the states. It also seems Routh has been in a mental hospital at least twice in the past year. After the shootings, Routh was involved in a car chase with police which ended when Routh plowed into a police car. He is under suicide watch and is being held on $3 million bond.
I've never served in the military so I cannot say that when extremely stressed out from serving in combat, that shooting guns would be a good way to relieve stress. Maybe Kyle felt that this trip to a gun range with Routh would be a good bonding experience, and allow Routh to express his emotions. It didn't turn out to be a positive way to treat a PTSD victim if that was in fact, Kyle's intention. I have to say, as just a casual observer, I don't think being around guns would be a good or healthy way to get over the obvious trauma of war. Wouldn't it be better to do something that would involve a totally opposite environment? Maybe it wouldn't have seemed manly enough, but a serene picnic by a mountain stream may have been a better surrounding to talk things out concerning the stress of wartime. Going bowling would've been a better idea, but a gun range?
It seems Routh was taken to a mental hospital on September 2nd after he threatened to blow away his family, and then commit suicide. Knowing these violent threats were in his head, it seems Kyle and his friend were taking a chance even being with Routh, much less exposing him to guns while he was in such a state of mind. I had a close friend recently die after she lost her son last year. I knew she was sad, but wasn't really aware of just how deep that sadness was or even aware of some medication she was on. After she died, I felt, and still feel deeply haunted by the possibility that maybe I could've done something more to reach out to her. That innate and very human feeling that we can help others undergoing stress is common in some ways although it's not always as simple as just "being there" for someone. What you do with someone under extreme stress can be quite effective, or maybe even dangerous if you don't know what you're doing. In Kyle's case, he may have been a very effective sniper, but healing another human's extreme stress was something he hadn't a clue about solving: I submit taking him to a gun range was exactly the wrong type of approach. It may not be a profound idea, but let's face it-how many of us would want to take a friend suffering from PTSD to a gun range?!?
One thing is for sure in an America where Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and grief counselors are now common terms in our vocabulary, we have a general problem with extreme cases of violence unlike what our country used to be like. Watch NBC's weekly show Dateline, and you will see another case of loved ones or others caught up in murder...every week! We are surrounded by violence, and maybe it's because of more media coverage, but we do live in a violent culture none-the-less. It does seem like a "live by the gun-die by the gun" moral lesson in the life and death of war hero, Chris Kyle, but the decisions in his life were his own. Those decisions seemed to take him where his especially sharp skills were best utilized. It was a sad ending though and a very bad last decision that ended his life. I'm fascinated by this story of how such a man, who placed himself in harms way for so long, fought bravely doing in our enemies, saving lives of his fellow soldiers, only to be done in by some whacked out fellow soldier right here in America.I don't think the lesson is all that involved, it just seems like a typical case of forgetting some common sense.In the blink of an eye, it can all be vaporized.