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Saturday, January 17, 2015

American Sniper

I haven't written on here much lately, but felt compelled to write as the public seems to be going crazy over the wide release of the movie American Sniper based on the best-selling memoir of the late Navy Seal Chris Kyle. I've been troubled by the apparent glorification of war as seen in TV preview trailers. I perused a few critic reviews, some of which found this aspect troubling, while others lauded the film. Then I opened an article by Nicholas Schmidle called “In the Crosshairs” from the June 3, 2013 New Yorker, written in the immediate aftermath of Kyle's tragic death. Heres the link: There I was dismayed to find some rather troubling views related to race that Schmidle presented without much comment. I'll do (for the most part) the same.

“He tattooed one of his arms with a red crusader’s cross, wanting ‘everyone to know I was a Christian.’…He ‘hated the damn savages’ he was fighting. In his book, he recounts telling an Army colonel, ‘I don’t shoot people with Korans. I’d like to, but I don’t.’” Is this the kind of image we as Americans, and we as Christians, want associated with our causes?

Schmidle recalls “pranks” that Kyle and his friend Rury pulled on each other. “Several times, Rury sneaked up Kyle’s driveway in the middle of the night and slapped pro-Obama bumper stickers on his truck (Kyle was a fervent Republican.) In retaliation, Kyle pasted one on Rury’s truck that declared “I Love Black Cock.” This is the same Chris Kyle that his father-in-law refers to as a “good Christian person.” Wow, what a hilarious sense of humor.

Kyle also told the story (almost certainly untrue) of having gone with another sniper to New Orleans in the chaotic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, where they “set up on top of the Superdome, and proceeded to shoot dozens of armed residents who were contributing to the chaos.” As most everyone knows, the great majority of persons left roaming the streets homeless in New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina were African-American. Curious that it is THIS collection of people, no doubt etched in his mind from media images, that Kyle imagines himself as exacting vengeance on as a vigilante superhero.

I won't be going to see American Sniper.

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