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What Troubles Me About the Legend of Chris Kyle

photography by Brandon Thibodeaux
photo by Brandon Thibodeaux

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, and 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 then 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.

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

  1. If that was the case he would have been shot right there. If you’re aim is to kill someone you shot them before they see you. You don’t keep them alive and get close to them, let them know you’re there and try to steal a car.

  2. What bothers me is that Kyle’s murder was described in media reports as occurring outside of Glen Rose, TX. Glen Rose is a town of about 800. In fact, the murder occurred at the Rough Creek Ranch shooting range which is indeed about ten miles from the tiny hamlet of Glen Rose, however it is less than half that distance from Stephenville, TX. Stephenville is a town of about 10,000, the county seat and the home of Tarleton University. So why identify the tiny meaningless town of Glen Rose? Methinks it has something to do with the true purpose of his visit to Stephenville. Tarleton University is a CIA outpost, the first university in the nation to set up a “Big Data Analysis Center” back in the 90s. Big data is huge today in the intelligence community, huge…Tom Bittman, founder of Sandy Hook Promise, is VP at Gatner, Inc. which provides Big Data analysis for the CIA, in fact if you check out the Sandy Hook Promise website it talks about the importance of Big Data analysis despite no clear association to the SH attack…Kyle’s Craft Intl. is suspected by many to have been involved in the Boston marathon bombing due to numerous individuals with missing backpacks that happen to match to photo of the backpack released by the FBI…

  3. Fuck u Jason heid- Kyle is a true blue America badass. I hope u and your family get raped by a couple of carjackers . Piece of shit pussy.

  4. In the state of Texas what he did is not only legal, most Texans consider it to be moral as well.

  5. Absolutely ridiculous. Those men decided their own fate by choosing to attempt to rob an American citizen of something he owned. Why would anyone decide their lives are more important. I believe this incident did happen and I believe he had every right to react the way he did. It doesn’t surprise me that this incident would be covered up by the government and his openness about it doesn’t surprise me either. Here’s why: If the dod was called he likely knew their protocol, knew there wouldn’t be any evidence and thereafter becomes nothing more than a story. I don’t see him having anything to gain by fabricating a story like that but I can see the government covering a possible blowup by a story like that. Nuff said.

  6. You must first understand the process it takes to make a Tier 1 Operator. Years of brainwashing and inflated CAR’s lead these men to actually believe the are “jedi warriors”. Embellishment within our ranks is as common place as it is elsewhere in society. Where I take umbrage is when SOF take financial advantage of their service. For every Luttrell or Kyle there are 20 guys operating in the shadows, putting on the line every day with no thought of monetary recompense. To all the quiet professionals I lift my glass and salute you……..“De oppresso liber!”

  7. The carjackers gave the clear moral and legal right for Chris to shoot them when they decided to pull a gun on the man. There’s no way to know if they would shoot or not, at that point the altercation has a very real possibility of becoming lethal. The reality is that MOST people wouldn’t have the confidence in their ability to deal with that situation being outnumbered 2 to 1. Chris did, and the carjackers made a serious mistake in their choosing of a mark.

    Its a simple matter of kill or be killed when everyone brings guns to a fight. The cover up, if this event really happened and really was covered up, would not even be up to Chris anyways. Strings would have to pulled at some pretty high levels to take a double homicide and make it “Disappear”.

    I’d rather have a hero capable of protecting himself alive, than be worried about two guys out committing armed robberies getting a fair trial.

  8. Mr. Heid I am ashamed that you would point this out over all the other great things Kyle did to defend your right to compose a poorly written article about how its wrong to kill two people who are trying to rob you. I plan to serve when I graduate college, but until then I don’t need to know what our soldiers do to protect our freedom and you or I have no right to judge the decisions they make to protect themselves or our freedom.

  9. Man at the liberal pany waste on this site. Two dead John Doe illegals robbing at gun point don’t make the news no matter who kills them. I Chris said it happened it happened. I wonder how you liberals live with yourselves. Chris was not the kind to brag about anything, except his deer kills or his truck and even that doesn’t happen to a stranger. You have no idea who you’re talking about, even accusing him of lying. You liberals are pathetic. Instead of just being afraid of being beat up when you were a kid, you should have fought with all you had and took your ass whippin. Be a man for God’s sake. Just sit back and look at all the good things the liberal agenda has brought us. You’re driven to destroy anything what is good, even the memory of a Hero. Lordy, lordy. This country is friggin doomed.

  10. Ok, the police showing up is the ONLY way dead bodies disappear. No I’m not a psycho conspiracy theorist. They are the only ones who are in the position to file official reports (or NOT) when a death occurs and they are people too. Secondly, the American people spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to train Chris Kyle to be a machine of war, IE they taught him how to kill people who were the enemies of democracy and in obvious violation of another’s rights to life, liberty, etc. If anyone attempts to violate these rights of an individual within the borders of the United States of America they are subject to the will of the people, who may defend themselves AND their rights! Whether this story is true or not is a separate question. If it is true, then Chris Kyle simply continued his UNPRECEDENTED ascent into American History by eliminating two more threats to the peace of our country, if not then what’s the issue? P.s. to those of you who think Chris Kyle and the rest of our soldiers are the “leftovers” who couldn’t get jobs elsewhere, go live in a country where there aren’t warriors to do your fighting for you and see what you think.

  11. Well said. Mr. Heid, just remember how many more people watch FOX NEWS than read the trash that erupts from your mouth.

  12. I never want to slight the dead and especially a dead SEAL – I’ve read Chris’s book (A-Sniper) twice – I do want to say this; my heart aches for Taya and family/ extended family too and I’m grateful to him for his service and I admire him. Nonetheless, this incident stuck-out for me – for one sole reason – all our service people are fighting for what we have – America, it’s constitution and to drill down – our rule of law, and drilling further – the bill of rights, and further yet, natural justice and fundamental fairness.

    Chris’s memoir of a SEAL sniper is woven with what is wonderfully american spirit .. that southern ‘good ol boy’ fabric and it works but owing to this incident it could be twisted and re-shaped with less appealing behaviours far in the past. I am referring to the ‘good ol boy’ image that Chris may tend to exhibit and yes, it carries with it that historic stigma that has nothing to do with the rule of law. By the way .. if Chris didn’t clip Ventura as he said – he should’ve; for me, JV’s a flannel mouth.

    For me, i believe Chris’s account in his book as roughly accurate (its only briefly described) .. oh he might have puffed it up a tad but i believe Chris Kyle was a good man, basically honest and committed to his believe system, his family and his Country’s overarching principles. I think the exhibited ‘good ol boy’ fabric is a red hearing .. that its wrong to tinker with past cultural elements by drawing and enormous long bow.

    Please remember, he said in his book – he called the Cops – he stood ready to be judged.

    Notwithstanding, the police are certainly duty bound to fully explain!

  13. They both had guns and wanted his keys to steal his truck. Shooting them as he did was the right thing to do and people that question his ethics should be in the same predicament and see how many times it has to happen before they get killed.

  14. You’re the reason why this country has become what it has become; the average American that likes to throw stones without having a clue. Everyone in this country has a right to their opinion but, so many are flat out stupid. Here’s to hoping that you find yourself in the same situation one day, then we can all comment on how you handled it.

  15. I cannot agree with you more. There’s nothing i love more than hearing men like the author, who has likely never been in a violent confrontation in his life, pass judgment on and Monday-morning quarterback someone he can’t even begin to measure up to.

  16. You do not know if what you said is true. You are just taking up for the criminals. Maybe someday you will have a gun stuck in your face. at that moment you have to make a choice, he made his, and I agree with his decision. You could not compare yourself to this military man, who had lightening quick reflexes. You would have been too fearful to protect your self, or your property. I am sick of all the criminals preying on people they think will just cave in and give up their life, or possessions. They simply picked on the wrong man.

  17. I have to say if I was in this situation I wouldn’t take the time to evaluate whether
    2 guys with guns pointed at me were going to shoot me or not. We don’t know the minds
    Of the criminals. And frankly if I was Chris and I possessed the same skill
    To so quick defend myself would like to think I would have done the same thing.
    How ignorant can you be to think just cause you handed over keys the perps wouldn’t shoot
    As driving away cause he saw there face. We weren’t there, the man is a documented hero.
    Who fought for the freedom for you to freely write the bs you shoot to write.
    As for the call to pentagon. Lol! Really!?! This comes as some sort of shock to you.
    Our goverment gets away with things we will never know about. There power is abundant
    And there is nothing you or myself can do about it. Do I agree with it. No. I do believe he was
    Justified, but there should have been an investigation done like anyone else.

  18. Chris Kyle had a large bounty on his head, the car jacking story may have been the cover up for some people trying to collect.

  19. and what the fuck have you done that so special in this world to cast disparagement’s on another’s actions.

    not much i’m thinking.

  20. The bottom line comes down to this,
    Chris Kyle has earned my and others benefit of the doubt on this incident. What he did in multiple deployments is unprecedented. Over and above his actions saving the lives of countless ground pounders by providing a comforting and lethal over watch, I am most moved by his actions with Marine Corps infantry in Ramadi. Not only did he stack up with these Marines on direct action raids, he taught these kids and above all, he led from the front. He was the first guy in the door, that can never be forgotten.

    Yet with all of that, this situation was not only openly discussed with the above reporter, but also documented in Marcus Luttrell’s New York Times Best Selling second novel.
    If this actually happened (and I have every reason to believe it did) and was in fact hushed up by law enforcement, well it seems as if some quiet professionals kind of screwed the law enforcement officials who kept this incident mainly under wraps.
    Whatever the case, the fact remains our brother is not here to defend himself, so it is what it is. Sorry but if you point a gun at someone, I don’t care what the reason is, that person (to me) intends to end my life, PERIOD! With that, judge jury and executioner? You are GOD DAMN RIGHT, HOOYAH Mr. Kyle!!

  21. Let’s see… two armed men attempt to rob him, steal his truck, etc and you have a problem with him shooting them? There goes your credibility in my opinion. BTW the tape in question exists and has been viewed by law enforcement. THEY wont betray or besmirch the name of an American hero like someone I could mention, especially someone who knew and had spoken to Chris at length.
    Rest in peace, badass, and thank you for your service.

  22. Points 2 and on are debatable. The author’s views on Point 1 are at best specious and at worst moronic. That gunmen “would have shot” Kyle on sight if they had wished to kill him is ignorant nonsense. Heid had better learn something about actual violent crimes. Countless times gunmen kidnap, force victims to withdraw money from a ATM, then kill and steal the car. When a criminal points a gun at you, you must realize that is willing to kill you, be it sooner or later. Shooting first is SELF DEFENSE. “Judge, jury and executioner,” would be after the fact, and wrong. Kyle’s actions prevented his own death and are completely defensible, while Heid’s comments are anything but. Heid needs to stop writing drivel and studying reasoning and heuristics.

  23. I think Kyle was a brutal murderer, an overrated pile of shit and bully who got what he deserved. I am glad Jesse won a lawsuit against him.

  24. Kyle was a killer, both here and in Iraq. He is the type of sick fuck that sometimes slip through the cracks and get in the military.

  25. Kyle was a killer and a bully, both here and in Iraq. He is the type of sick fuck that sometimes slips through the cracks and gets into the military.

  26. Wtf is wrong with you. 2 men pulling a gun on you and taking your property isn’t self defense? If they had been let go wouldn’t they be emboldened? Would it get worse? Jesus bro.
    Lets look at the keys. Is your life worth the risk of turning your back on them or just trying to see if they lol are just gonna let you go? Thats gambling.
    I think the real problem with you if I may you clearly live in a bubble aand have little to no experience or training with what your opinion s dribbling from your mouth allow for. Why can’t you just stfu with your pride and let professionals do shit. If I needed to write something pretty I wouldn’t be doing it I would call a person like you.

  27. Clctx,

    These are Kyles own words though.
    We have to.know what is true and what isnt.
    Kyle fans/low information people dont even use
    logic or rationale and eat it up and question nothing
    Because they so want to beleive this mistique abt
    Seals and other special operators.

  28. You don’t know shit if you think it was wrong. They deprogram service dogs but, as far as front line soldiers no they don’t. Instinct not hate shot those dummies. I would’ve thought the same way. There is a real threat. Kill them.

  29. No, you do not have a DoD number on your driver’s license, especially after you’ve RETIRED. That “call this number” message is for undercover cops actively working undercover, not for some random DoD dude who happened to kill a lot of bad guys once. It’s not a lifetime get-out-of-jail free card, or a license to kill. Any cops doing what Chris claimed would be in gross violation of the law. Even in Texas, where we specifically write in our constitution that you have the right to kill cops in certain circumstances, you don’t just blow someone away and walk. It must go before a grand jury. And why hush it up? An obvious case of self-defense. Truth is, you’re lying, as was Chris Kyle. Why, I can’t understand. His proven military record is impressive enough that he shouldn’t’ve needed to embellish anything.

  30. So let’s say I walk up to you with a gun and ask for your keys to your vehicle, home, bank account numbers, and SSN. You have a gun and no very well how to use it. You aren’t fucking retarded (in this case you obviously are) and know your state’s laws concerning the Castle Doctrine, Stand Your Ground, and other self-defense related laws. Are you going to stand there while I take what you worked for? Or are you going to exercise your right to defend yourself and your property? Chris Kyle had a legally owned, legally carried firearm. His life was threatened by these men, regardless of how nervous he felt. There was no police coverup, because there was no need for one. When you kill someone in self defense, there is no detainment/arrest. There is no need for a lengthy investigation. Once your story is confirmed, which it was thanks to gas station cameras, it’s done. What your problem is, is that you’re a leftist liberal fucktard with no knowledge of federal or state law (especially Texas state law) regarding self defense. Rather than thinking rationally, you create these false notions of the value of human life, or a duty to retreat. You’re either of two types of liberal mongoloid. The type who would literally lay in the floor and cry while being oppressed, and just accept that you’re a pussy who refuses to take control of your own life. Or you’re the lying hypocrite type who would be the first to open fire on the two strange mexicans walking towards your new truck, then claim self defense later. Either way, you’re fucking miserable scum and should be purged from this country on the grounds that you are damaging the internet and US population with your utter lack of intelligence. Please, Jason Heid, find a new hobby. Writing rational, intelligent blogs is not something you’re cable of doing.

  31. History does not coddle.
    When the coddling stops, we will see the murderer emerge through their PTSD haze and tears of guilt.

  32. The story bothered me too. Especially a different account that explained Chris was far from bothered about the incident. Not certain that that is credible. But the lives of those men were taken. No sense of sombre feelings for the loss of life.