“Chris Kyle’s death seems to confirm that ‘he who lives by the sword dies by the sword.’ Treating PTSD at a gun range doesn’t make sense,” former Texas Republican Rep. Ron Paul”
To suggest that a war hero who chose to use his title and not inconsiderable knowledge for charity and good deeds somehow deserves to die because that title was earned behind a scope is appalling. Ignorance of a subject does not give you license to dismiss the loss of an American patriot that, if my own father’s struggles as a Marine Scout Sniper were any indication, likely shut out a good portion of his soul for his duty.
In sniper training they don’t teach you to hate the enemy. They don’t teach you to relish the adrenaline rush after the shot and returning “thup!” as the round hits the target. They don’t teach you to kill. They teach you how to eliminate threats, secure perimeters, read body language, assess hostiles, and save lives. The washout rate is high. The repercussions of unsuccessful training are scary. The success of training is even scarier. They produce a man that can give and take life on a single exhale and be ready to do it again a breath later. They produce a man that eats well and sleeps like a baby. They produce a man that is so compartmentalized and hyper rational, that he may never be capable of functioning like a normal dysfunctional dude, ever again, and yet he can empathize, love, hate, and care. Those traits that were taught to him will be second nature to the children modeled after him.
I may not have agreed 100% with how Chris Kyle chose to use the technicality of his title to sell books, but there is no doubt whatsoever that his actions after leaving the Navy were in service to veterans. The VA just released numbers stating that in 2010 (damn the government for counting so slow) veterans were committing suicide at a rate of 22 souls a day, or more than 8,000 a year. That’s a quarter of US suicides if anyone is following. Last year, the military’s active duty suicide rate outpaced deaths in hostile actions. Then the brain trust at the Pentagon released the findings of a several yearlong study, the summary read something like, “The leading cause of suicide is depression.”
With that kind of genius at the helm, it’s real hard to hold one’s breath and hope that the big February 15th reveal from the Army is something more effective than another week of marches, rallies, power points, and rat on your buddy chats. I can only imagine how tedious the other services are planning on making their next round of superficial fixes.
With active and veteran suicide climbing, reports of PTSD and depression overwhelming VA centers, and an unstable government this is not a time to bemoan guns or tout rhetoric, this is a time when we should all reflect on why the actions at that gun range happened, what warnings were there, and what could have been done differently.
It’s a blessing to find folks that the vets will listen to. It’s a blessing to find someone who is willing to do more than the minimum of placating and drugging; instead working towards healing. If that is on a range, so be it. Rape victims that fear public places aren’t encouraged to be shut-ins, they desensitized slowly with varying kinds of stimuli. People with phobias aren’t permanently shut off from their fears, they’re desensitized and introduced. Certain aspects of PTSD are perfectly reasonable to work through on a gun range; provided the people working on them know everything they need to. In this instance, that didn’t happen. And that needs to be answered.
No, Mr. Paul, a man that lived by the sword did not die by the sword. A man that wielded a sword for his country, died at the hands of a sick man that was let down by his. It’s not as quippy when you’re part of the problem is it?