Recently a fan of mine on Facebook pointed me to an article written by Lindy West of the Guardian titled “The real American Sniper was a hate-filled killer. Why are simplistic patriots treating him as a hero?”
The article is a clear attempt by the Guardian and Lindy West to rally angry Internet mobs on both the right and the left side of America. It’s a perfect recipe to grab a lot of page views, and a brilliant example of news entertainment at its finest.
Chris Kyle was a human being, a Texan, Navy SEAL, father, husband, and a hero to many at a time in this country when we need all the heroes we can get. We weren’t close friends, but I did consider him a friend, and knew him to be a good person, regardless of all the bullshit floating around in the media, and what his editor put in the book, American Sniper.
West’s article is poorly written, calls out stereotypes using stereotypes, and is a great example of bad literature. It’s also a great example of what’s wrong with global news media today – more news entertainment than real news or intelligent perspective. Divide, enrage, watch the page counter go up, and sell more advertising. Bravo Lindy West, the Capitol city of Panem welcomes you with open arms.
The patriots go on, and on and on. They cannot believe what they are reading. They are rushing to the defence of not just Kyle, but their country, what their country means. They call for the rape or death of anyone ungrateful enough to criticise American hero Chris Kyle. Because Chris Kyle is good, and brown people are bad, and America is in danger, and Chris Kyle saved us. The attitude echoes what Miller articulated about Kyle in her Salon piece: “his steadfast imperviousness to any nuance, subtlety or ambiguity, and his lack of imagination and curiosity, seem particularly notable.” -Lindy West
Lindy West calls Chris Kyle a killer and embellishes the term “patriots” in a clear attempt to divide and enrage. Why does she do this? Probably so she can grab her own moment in the dead hero’s spotlight. Congratulations again, Lindy.
It was clear to me, as someone who knew Chris, that he didn’t enjoy killing people and wasn’t a racist. The killing bothered him, as it does a lot of us combat veterans. Did he believe in good vs. evil, right vs. wrong? Yes, he did, but that doesn’t make him a killer, nor racist.
Lindy West and The Guardian want to label Chris Kyle a hate-filled killer and a racist, but he was neither of these things. Behind the sniper scope he he did his job and what was expected of him, period. Chris was a good man, and fair to all, regardless of skin color or race. I know this to be true because I knew the person, not the media portrayal. The Guardian and West owe Chris’s family an apology. Imagine Chris’s kids reading that terrible piece when they grow up. Enough said.
“Likewise, much of the US right wing appears to have seized upon American Sniper with similarly shallow comprehension – treating it with the same unconsidered, rah-rah reverence that they would the national anthem or the flag itself. Always meet your heroes.” -Lindy West
Using randoms on Twitter as source material and your own stereotypes while calling people out for stereotyping isn’t a very compelling argument. However, West’s piece wasn’t written to start an important discussion about the character of Chris Kyle, it is a badly written hit piece, poorly backed up, and full of self-admiration.
“In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” -Martin Luther King Jr.
Always know who is behind the writing, for what purpose, and remember that it’s ok to stand up for your friends. A lot of us still have your back Chris, and we’ll go toe-to-toe with The Guardian and the Lindy Wests of the world any day.
(Featured Image Courtesy: Brandon Thibodeaux/D Magazine)