I have spent the last couple of days trying to decide the proper tone for commenting on the death of Chris Kyle. Y'all might remember that about a year ago I reviewed Chris Kyle's autobiographical work, American Sniper. I criticized Mr. Kyle for his callous attitude toward death. Mr. Kyle shot at men and children from afar - and then mocked the people who mourned the loss of their friend, relative or compatriot.
While I certainly don't take joy in anyone's death - it's hard not to be struck by the irony of a publicity-loving former sniper being gunned down at a gun range in Texas. Some have even used the word "karmic" to describe the incident.
Former US Congressman Ron Paul wrote that Mr. Kyle's death confirms that "he who lives by the sword, dies by the sword." It is hard to have much sympathy for one who took so much joy in killing others.
Mr. Kyle has been described as a hero for his "work" in Iraq. There is nothing heroic about sitting in a sniper's nest and shooting people at long range. There is nothing heroic about killing, period. If you want to see heroes in action, go to a school and watch the teachers help shape and mold our next generation. If you want to see heroes, go to the ER at an urban trauma center and watch the doctors, nurses and orderlies do everything in their power to save lives.
Now Mr. Kyle is dead. He and a buddy took a veteran of the war in Iraq, who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, out to a gun range and, in what can only be described as an ironic ending, the veteran shot and killed them both at close range. The shooter did what Mr. Kyle never did - he shot his target face-to-face.
The other lesson this teaches us is that it doesn't matter how heavily armed you are, if your assailant surprises you, there's very little you can do. Mr. Kyle was armed to the teeth. He was a sniper. His killer got the drop on him and there was nothing Mr. Kyle could do. Having a firearm in your house might make you marginally safer, but carrying one out in public will have little or no effect because mass shootings aren't telegraphed.
Never forget that Mr. Kyle was an invader in a foreign land killing folks who were resisting the occupation of their country. To them, Mr. Kyle was every bit the enemy he portrayed them to be in his book.