I don’t speak for the SEAL community, I’m just one member, and this is my opinion only.
The Naval Special Warfare (NSW) community has been propelled into the international spotlight by political grandstanding and our own community’s leadership, who have a long history of cooperating with Hollywood directors and celebrities. I believe the proximity of Coronado, CA to Hollywood has probably played a significant role in all the attention. Would you rather visit Ft. Bragg, NC, or Naval Amphibious Base, Coronado, CA? An easy decision to make for most, especially those with a production budget to consider.
All the attention has opened up opportunities to the SEAL community across industries, technical advising with movie studios, video game consulting, acting, writing, training schools, shooting ranges, real estate, financial planning, and more. The SEAL “brand” has created automatic trust – blind trust – in people, and this is not necessarily a good thing. Like any high-profile professional community (look at professional sports), NSW is not immune from a few bad apples or major fuckups. People would be wise to check professional references.
This newfound status is a media minefield. NSW is no longer a private community and that is a painful reality for many of the guys I know or have an association with in the SEAL fraternity. It’s a SEAL goldrush with journalists, the entertainment industry, tactical industry, and others on a mad dash to cash in, with no real regard for the community’s health and welfare in the long-term.
What does this have to do with Jesse Ventura? Read on.
Because of NSW’s celebrity, it’s even more important for SEALs to look at how they conduct themselves in the public eye and on social media. “Will what I’m about to do reflect positively on the SEAL community?” It’s a question I’ve been asking myself a lot these days, and the crux of my problem with Jesse Ventura.
Did Jesse ask himself this question when he decided to create a circus in the media surrounding his disagreement with Chris Kyle? I’d say that no, he did not. And when you look the way Jesse represents himself in the public sector these days, as a SEAL, it’s as far from professional as it gets. As Editor of this site I have made a lot of friends in the media, and many of them who’ve had close contact with Jesse don’t have high opinions of his demeanor.
The smartest thing I’ve heard come out of Jesse’s mouth was when he was quoted after the recent verdict saying, “There are no winners in this.” In fact, Jesse is the biggest loser in the end (next to the NSW community itself). This is a career ender for him, and an irrecoverable PR nightmare. His career as he used to know it is over.
So I’m not concerned with the “he said, he said” of what happened that night at McP’s Irish Pub in Coronado. A lot of people were drinking heavily and grieving a lost hero, and the stories are opaque at best. I’ve heard multiple versions of this story by now, and none of them match up, but such is the way we tell, elaborate and embellish stories. It’s human nature.
People would also be wise to remember that OJ Simpson also won a successful jury trial.
And if Ventura was really concerned about the truth, and not the money, he should have told Taya Kyle on the courthouse steps that the $1.8M was hers to keep now that his name was cleared. But people with financial motivations don’t make this move.
My problem with Jesse is not the alleged altercation between him and Chris, it’s about what happened after. Jesse (Janos) Ventura had plenty of opportunities to take the high ground in how he handled the situation. Instead, he made a series of bad decisions, the worst of which was to drag an American Hero’s widow and family in court, as if they haven’t suffered enough with their recent loss. As the father of three amazing children myself, I can’t imagine this scenario. It’s horrific.
This is a sacred line, not to be crossed, ever Janos, and you will now have to live with the long-term consequences including a SEAL community that is polarized against your actions.
(Featured Image Courtesy: YouTube)