Poster's Note: this post is over a year old now. I will not be publishing comments for it, good or bad, because it is over a year old now. If you wish to see my response to Chris Kyle's murder, feel free to see it here.
Follow-up note: with my Disqus system in place, comments are easier to maintain than on blogger. Feel free to mock or whatever. Thanks to Nate for inspired update.
Ever heard of Chris Kyle?
If you have watch Faux News in the past couple of months, he made some minor headlines by claiming to have committed criminal assault against former Minnesota Governor Jessie Ventura. He claimed to have knocked out the man in a bar after Mr. Kyle alleged to have heard him say that soldiers deserved to die (specifically it was SEALs or Green Berets, I can’t remember which).
All of these claims came out when Ventura himself was on the road to Mexico for the winter, as he has currently refused to fly commercial airliners due to the TSA’s love of groping his genitals. This claim also coincided with Chris Kyle’s release of his ghost-written memoirs, American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History.
Jessie Ventura, as far as I know, was never given the proper chance to rebut this Chris Kyle’s claims, except on Alex Jones’ show, but I am certain that he is lying about the whole incident. He probably did this in order to promote his book since Ventura has been in the limelight a few months before shouting about the injustice of the his civil case against the TSA. He probably also did not like how a former SEAL reservist would be pointing out how the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are misguided and wrong. In any case, I am convinced that he was lying about the whole incident.
But what was more alarming about Chris Kyle is not so much his willingness to lie on national television in order to promote a book, but the contents of the book itself. William N. Grigg did a good overview of the book on his own blog, so I am just going to sum it up in one word: sociopath.
Chris Kyle boasts about killing Iraqis, who he refers to as savages and evil, all the while saying he did so because it was his duty. I suppose he would be a wonderful candidate for Milgram’s obedience test and I’m sure he would gladly throw the lethal switch for the subject and ask the instructor if there were more.
Kyle claims to have killed over 160 people as a sniper in Iraq, including women in front of their children, all in the name of saving American lives. Now, I am not going to question the heat of combat and certainly anybody making aggressive actions against your compatriots gets what is coming. It is not the people he killed that I find horrific so much as the fact that he does not regret any of it. Most soldiers (and normal people in general) always regret the killings they have done, even if it was justified in self-defense or in the course of duty. Most normal people seek to avoid killing people unless it is absolutely necessary.
I am reminded of that scene in Gran Torino where Walt Kowalski explains to Thao that he once killed a man in Korea who was unarmed and scared and how it has haunted him all his life. This is the mark of true man: one who is willing to kill if necessary but does not hold it up as a virtue. Chris Kyle reminds of a child playing a video game and expressing regret that he didn’t get the high score.
Chris Kyle’s manner reminds of Odysseus who boasted to total strangers of how he raided villages and raped women. He is a man without a conscious and believes wholeheartedly in the moral authority of the State.
But what is most chilling of all is not his exploits in wartime nor his lack of guilt or shame in the deeds he did in the name of his “duty”, but the fact that he is currently training our police. A man with an attitude that the enemy is evil or a bunch of savages will almost certainly translate this philosophy unto the people he is instructing.
Kyle represents everything that is wrong with our military and police force. He believes in the virtues of the State, never questions the moral or ethical issues of what he does, nor does he appear to care either. As long as he gets to kill people in the name of the almighty State, he is content to not question the reasons. He is, in essence, the perfect soldier for the oligarchs who presume to be our gods.
Whether or not you support the wars in the past decade, you have to agree that this man is not someone you would let babysit your kids or hang out with at a bar. And you definitely would not trust to be with him in a dark alley somewhere.
Unfortunately, I fully expect more people like Chris Kyle to come out of the woodwork and start promoting the virtues of murdering for the almighty State. I have nothing but pity for these men who are so screwed up in the head that they cannot make any moral decisions on their own. This is how the police state grows: through the tireless work of sociopaths like Chris Kyle.