Sunday, February 24, 2013


These guys have families, just like the rest of us.

Here's the truth: I've never served in the military. I've never engaged in more than a battle of paintball. In fact, I wasn't even very good at paintball. Yet I can appreciate the service others give on behalf of this place called America. My grandfather served in World War II and was severely wounded in combat. Same for my  uncle. My brother in law is currently doing his second tour in Afghanistan. While I may not have a clue what it's like to fight, I'm well aware of the sacrifice veterans and their families make.

Which is why I'm so aggravated at the moment. Chris Kyle was a Navy Seal who served this country and served it well. While he killed a lot of people, he did so on the battlefield, against an enemy that had nefarious designs on the Western World. In short, there was a huge difference between Chris Kyle and, say, the Newtown murderer.

Yet many disagree. After Kyle was shot by an unhinged veteran at a shooting range, Twitter was filled with comments from those claiming he had it coming. What's ironic is that most of those same people presented themselves as being thoughtful, nuanced, and, yes, compassionate. I guess they felt that their self-righteousness took away any need for critical thinking skills.

And so, while Whitney Houston got flags throughout the country to be lowered to half-mast, Chris Kyle got condemned by the very people he was defending. What's scary to me isn't this incredibly backwards way of thinking, however. It's that society as a whole is okay with it.

Years ago, I listened in shock as the writer of one of the Batman films described General Patton to a screenwriting class I was taking as "our Nazi." As the grandson of someone who served under the man, I was offended. Yet I eventually let the comment slide, since the writer just seemed to me like a typical Hollywood screwball. Nowadays, however, I've little doubt that more Americans think like him than don't.

And that's scary.

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