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What Troubles Me About the Legend of Chris Kyle

If our record website traffic numbers of the past week are any indication, most of you are well aware that our own Michael J. Mooney has written an article in the April issue of D Magazine about former Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle, who was senselessly killed in February by a fellow veteran whom he was trying to help recover from mental illness. You should read the whole thing.

I’ve no doubt that Kyle’s wartime heroics saved many American lives, and that he and men like him deserve our thanks for the sacrifices they made. But in considering his legacy, I can’t get past that story (first written by Mike on this blog, then fleshed out at the beginning of his magazine piece) about Kyle killing two would-be carjackers at a gas station along Highway 67 south of Dallas.

Leave aside for the moment the issue of whether this story is true. Let’s say that it all went down precisely as Kyle described it to Mike. I find that even more disturbing than if he’d just made the whole thing up. Here’s why:

1) No man, not even a decorated war hero, deserves the right to serve as judge, jury, and executioner. Had he turned over the keys to his truck, there’s a good chance there would have been no need for any deaths that night. If the two men were planning to murder him as well as steal his vehicle, they’d surely have shot Kyle on sight. They didn’t. Such criminals deserve punishment, but we shouldn’t applaud any individual for deciding for himself what that punishment should be.

2) But maybe I’ve got that first point wrong. Maybe Kyle was far more threatened by these men than I’m realizing, and so when he drew his weapon and fired, it truly was a case of justified self-defense. OK, fine. Why then should we be comfortable with local law enforcement and a mysterious figure at the other end of a phone line at the Department of Defense conspiring to sweep the matter under the rug, to the point where there’s apparently no evidence of the deaths of these men, no police report on the incident at all? And they do it just because “they didn’t want to drag a just-home, highly decorated veteran into a messy legal situation”? I don’t trust the local cops to decide who, on American soil in a non-combat situation, should have an unquestioned license to kill.

3) Perhaps you think I’m making too much out of those first two issues. You’ve got no problem whatsoever with Kyle’s actions that night or the cover-up that followed. How then do you feel about Kyle talking about it with a reporter? Our military goes to the trouble of muscling in on local authorities so that their guy can carry on with his day unfettered, and then Kyle discusses the matter openly? Talking to Mike he could have dropped just enough hints to allow some enterprising reporter to suss out exactly where this took place and which police department may have acted criminally in withholding public information and making dead bodies disappear. The very people who helped him out of his situation could themselves become exposed to prosecution because Kyle essentially ratted them out.

Any way I look at this, I’m bothered. I can’t seem to shrug it off.  (And I haven’t even mentioned the implications of what I consider the most likely scenario: that this didn’t happen at all, or is an extremely hyperbolic account.)

Mike writes that people will be telling stories about Kyle generations from now, stories that may get embellished over time to the point where we’re no longer sure what’s true, and that “it may not matter too much, because people believe in legends for all their own reasons.”

I don’t understand those who would choose to believe and celebrate this particular legend about Chris Kyle. To me, it does nothing but besmirch what otherwise seems a legacy of laudable service to our nation.

163 comments on “What Troubles Me About the Legend of Chris Kyle

  1. “someone he can’t even begin to measure up to”

    All of us a superior to someone who makes up stories about killing people for the sake of his ego.
    Seriously, pretending you killed 30 people in Katrina means you are pretending you are a mass murderer for the sake of your ego.
    If you don’t feel superior to that person, you need to get your own head straight.

  2. “I worked in law enforcement for 25+ years and served in the Army”

    You didn’t work a single day in any law enforcement agency that fails to record multiple shootings or lets people leave the scene based on what their name is.

  3. “Now we come to the tricky part. Do we press charges?”

    You can’t press charges. All of the police departments that could have jurisdiction over that area said it is a lie, no such shooting took place.

  4. Sounds like your pissed you didnt get the story to write about. If two guys had gun on me, your dam straight i would fire back. Media is alot to blame on how people act. Look at all the school shootings. If the first one was never televised you would have far less school shootings. Get a life and write about something good instead of trashing people.

  5. No one is extending sympathy for the two dead criminals, if they existed at all. Whether they deserved to die or not is not at issue. The question, as others have so clearly stated, is whether such a double killing can simply be swept under the rug. Chris Kyle’s military service, heroic as it was, is not an excuse to kill two people and then make it disappear. The incident must still be investigated as a homicide. If the circumstances hold it up as justifiable, fine, but Chris Kyle was not 007 with a license to kill. In this case, it sounds more likely that he was either a pathological liar or was himself suffering from mental illness. I can’t imagine someone killing 160 people in wartime, being wounded twice, and being in 6 IED attacks, without being affected by it in some way.

  6. And then there’s his story that he was a professional bronco rider who had to quit after a bronco fell on top of him in the chute, dislocating his shoulder, breaking his ribs and damaging his wrists so badly that he had pins put in both of them. He even had to be helicoptered to the hospital. He should have scars on his wrists. I don’t see any. Do you?

    When asked in his deposition what his job was during the period when he was supposedly a pro bronc rider, Kyle said that he was a ranch hand.

    I suspect that Kyle is a world-class liar. I doubt if we’ll be telling stories about him in five years. Maybe we’ll be talking about the astonishing credulity of Fox News and the American public.

  7. Kyle claims he was awarded two silver stars. In a photo of him receiving a JINSA award in 2005, I don’t see him wearing that insignia so he must not have had one then. He’s also not listed in valor.defense.gov, but that website may not be a complete listing. I see Michael Monsoor’s Medal of Honor, but don’t see silver stars for Monsoor–and he reportedly had them.

    Probably wouldn’t hurt to double check that Kyle was actually awarded the medals he claimed.

  8. Lord. I just read the part in AS where he talks about his post-accident wrist pins. He says they stuck out a few inches on either side and once when he was driving one of them was banging into the signal indicator so he broke the pin off at the skin level. Uh-huh. That’s the last we hear about that until later in the book when he says that a Navy physical “revealed” that he had pins in his arm. I guess he’s talking about these wrist pins that stick out a few inches because he doesn’t tell us about any others.

    Everything Kyle says is a lie, including “and” and “the.”

  9. Jason,
    You are a full blown idiot for giving out advice on how to handle a carjacking. You are way outside in area you have expertise in. You are entitled to you opinion but when your advice is reckless and could cause considerable harm to anyone foolish enough to take your advice you should be called out.

    The story is made up most likely by another full blown idiot working with you. It is obvious the burden of proof for publishing here is very low or non-existent. There is no evidence Chris ever said this other than a claim of one wane be journalist. The Super Dome incident is hearsay as well. A clever way of bumping up web hits.

  10. WRONG…WRONG…WRONG. Ratfinks deserved execution…the gene pool is better without them!

  11. Oh brother…if you get carjacked, you may wish to defend yourself, or, perhaps you’d prefer to die yourself

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  13. Well I’ll quote Chris here:
    “Despite what your momma told you, violence does solve problems.”

    My question would why did these two low life’s have a god damn right to hold Chris up at Gun Point demanding his money & his truck in the first place?

    Only a do Gooder Lilly live red soft cock would argue any other way!

    Society spends far to much money & time trying to readjust these criminals so they can be released back into society to repeat their acts of crime. Eye for an eye, tooth for an tooth!

    I hope one day, you & your family are held up by gun point & let’s see how understanding you are at the end of the day.

    My other question would be why did Chris have to find a need to lie in the first place?
    He was already a War Hero, a Legend & one of the most decorated Veterans around, there was no need to lie at all.
    You doogooders are the reason thousands of innocent people died in the Twin Towers. You traitors questioned the American Way of life & let those scumbags into your country to commit on of the most horrific crimes of all time.
    I suppose you think that incident was a conspiracy & no one died at all. Just a bit of showmanship to get everyone onside so they could invade the Middle ESt????
    Why don’t you Dogooder Losers take a friendly visit over there & catch up with you friendly ISIL Team & see how loving these guys are towards you all.
    Christ I can’t stand losers like you taking the sides of Criminals.
    Traitors the lot of you all.
    Rant over.
    Mick
    Regards