Anthony Swofford, a former Marine and the author of Jarhead, has made one of those newfangled electronic books about the tragic death of former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle. It’s titled Death of an American Sniper. In this excerpt, Swofford writes of the first time he ever heard of Kyle:
I would have liked to get down on my belly in a patch of dirt somewhere with a sick-ass sniper rifle against my shoulder and blow out some rounds with Mr. Chris Kyle. Bob was right: if I was famous for anything, it was for not killing with my sniper rifle. I thought about this Kyle guy. I wondered how he’d learned to shoot, what rifle or rifles he’d used, why he favored a two-pound trigger weight, and just how many goddamn people he might actually have killed. A few hundred? That seemed impossible.
But I also wondered about other things beyond such technical issues. Had Chris Kyle really been able to kill that many men and feel no guilt, as his book suggests? Was he perfectly adjusted to the stark reality of how he had achieved his fame? I know that normal men do not suffer from an addiction to bloodshed. But men trained to kill do. I suspected that the psychic toll of being such a proficient and excellent killer would have finally worn Kyle down. There surely must have been times when he was alone with his thoughts and a blunt nausea took over and he realized that he, a proud son, had slayed son after son, and that he, a loving father, must have vanquished many fathers who left children behind. Like most soldiers who’ve killed in combat, Chris Kyle could not have experienced many days when his train of dead men wasn’t bearing down on him, a chorus of ghosts.
I wondered about all these things, and I had no reason to think that I would never be able to ask the man himself.
I would recommend you purchase this work if you’re interested in reading more about Kyle, but only after you first purchase the (presumably) superior electronic book on much the same subject authored by our own Michael J. Mooney, The Life and Legend of Chris Kyle: American Sniper, Navy SEAL.