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Routh told them “he traded his soul for a new truck”
February 5, 2013 12:29 PM   Subscribe

Chris Kyle, former Navy Seal, killed at a Texas shooting range.

Kyle's decorations include two Silver Stars, five Bronze Stars with Valor, two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, and one Navy and Marine Corps Commendation.

Chris Kyle was the author of "American Sniper", which describes his 150+ kills over four tours of duty.

Kyle and Chad Littlefield were shot by Eddie Ray Routh, who is also a veteran and suffers from PTSD. According to police records, Routh has been hospitalized twice in the last four months for threatening to kill himself and his family.

Press release from FITCO Cares, a nonprofit founded by Mr. Kyle to help veterans with PTSD.

Chris Kyle's last interview:
“I would love for people to be able to – when they think of me - think ‘Here’s a guy who stood up for what he believed in and helped make a difference for the vets.”
posted by dubold (161 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
I have to wonder who the mentally ill person really is in this scenario.

Who in their right mind would think there's therapeutic value in taking a PTSD-stricken veteran to a shooting range? What was the thought process that led them to believe this would be a good idea?
posted by mullingitover at 12:37 PM on February 5, 2013 [14 favorites]


Probably the guy who shot two people after threatening to kill his family and himself for months.
posted by nathancaswell at 12:39 PM on February 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


.
posted by Daddy-O at 12:39 PM on February 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


[Maybe let's not kick off the thread about the bad thing that happened with arch sarcasm.]
posted by cortex at 12:41 PM on February 5, 2013 [24 favorites]


Who in their right mind would think there's therapeutic value in taking a PTSD-stricken veteran to a shooting range? What was the thought process that led them to believe this would be a good idea?

From the article (acck nydailynewsuncleanunclean):

Former soldiers and veterans groups have said that trips to gun ranges are a common form of therapy for vets struggling with PTSD. Shooting - and becoming re-accustomed to loud sounds -- can be cathartic for vets who have spent time in war zones, veterans groups say.
posted by Think_Long at 12:42 PM on February 5, 2013 [41 favorites]



Who in their right mind would think there's therapeutic value in taking a PTSD-stricken veteran to a shooting range?


Doctors? People who understand the scientific method?
posted by bfranklin at 12:43 PM on February 5, 2013 [63 favorites]


So they guy who claimed to have shot 200 people and then bragged about it was shot and killed by a vet with PTSD at a gun range?

It's like Malcolm X said, chickens always come home to roost.
posted by Mayor Curley at 12:44 PM on February 5, 2013 [22 favorites]


bfranklin: "
Who in their right mind would think there's therapeutic value in taking a PTSD-stricken veteran to a shooting range?


Doctors? People who understand the scientific method?
"

Interesting, I had no idea that the victims were also trained psychiatrists.
posted by mullingitover at 12:44 PM on February 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


.
posted by stoneweaver at 12:45 PM on February 5, 2013


One big problem was indeed the Army doctors, who pussyfoot around PTSD by sidestepping the fact that killing is wrong and the US military is a giant bully machine.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:51 PM on February 5, 2013 [13 favorites]


.
posted by A Bad Catholic at 12:52 PM on February 5, 2013


.
posted by Cookiebastard at 12:53 PM on February 5, 2013


I had no idea that the victims were also trained psychiatrists.

Yes, because people with degrees have a monopoly on science and on helping those with mental health issues.

This is a man who spent his years in the protection and care of his brothers in arms. To suggest that this was some sort of machismo "hur hur, let's go shoot our guns and get our man on!" is to read what you want into the narrative.

The man wanted to be known for how many people he helped, and he went out trying to help someone. It is senseless and makes perfect sense all at the same time, and hopefully this can even be a catalyst to get Routh the help that he so obviously needs.
posted by bfranklin at 12:57 PM on February 5, 2013 [27 favorites]


Kyle seems like an interesting, thoughtful guy. I'm sorry he was murdered. I'm almost as sorry that some people commenting on the story find it necessary to be glib about his death. Gun control is great, but that has no bearing on this story, nor is being a sniper the same as being a murderer. He was a soldier.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 12:58 PM on February 5, 2013 [51 favorites]


Who in their right mind would think there's therapeutic value in taking a PTSD-stricken veteran to a shooting range? What was the thought process that led them to believe this would be a good idea?

I posted this question because I have PTSD and loud noises trigger me. Some of these helped me desensitize, not fully, but there was an improvement. I also shoot guns at shooting ranges for the same reason. It keeps me from hitting the dirt when a car backfires.
posted by kamikazegopher at 12:58 PM on February 5, 2013 [34 favorites]


I do not wish ill on anybody, and my deepest, genuine condolences to the family of the deceased, for whom this must be awful beyond enduring.

So understand that I am not trying to be arch or comedic when I mention that the timing of this seems meaningfully coincidental, as have many of the shootings after Sandy Hook, in that they seem specifically to refute talking points by the NRA. In this instance, the talking point is that shootings never occur at gun shows or gun ranges.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 1:01 PM on February 5, 2013 [13 favorites]


Gun control is great, but that has no bearing on this story

Good luck with that.

"Chris Kyle, the former Navy SEAL sniper and gun enthusiast hero, was unable to protect himself or his friend from an armed assailant, even though they were at a shooting range loaded with guns."

... they seem specifically to refute talking points by the NRA. In this instance, the talking point is that shootings never occur at gun shows or gun ranges.

That was my first reaction as well.
posted by mrgrimm at 1:04 PM on February 5, 2013 [16 favorites]


nor is being a sniper the same as being a murderer. He was a soldier.

"Sniper" and "murderer" are not mutually exclusive. He shot people to protect US business interests abroad. Whether he wore a uniform while he did it is immaterial to the morality of it.

He could have at least had the strength of character not write a book about how he shot people, enjoyed it and felt no remorse.
posted by Mayor Curley at 1:05 PM on February 5, 2013 [33 favorites]


...nor is being a sniper the same as being a murderer. He was a soldier.

This isn't the place, but we could have a really interesting discussion on this topic.

Think of a world where those who use the force of arms to advance their material or ideological position are seen as deranged or criminal ... but then, that's not our nature.
posted by mygoditsbob at 1:05 PM on February 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


.
posted by magstheaxe at 1:05 PM on February 5, 2013


: "Yes, because people with degrees have a monopoly on science and on helping those with mental health issues.
"

Perhaps, but this smacks of "Hey, I read that LSD has therapeutic uses! Let's give my mentally ill friend some acid and take him to see The Shining, because we care."

If it's all about the sound of gunshots, why couldn't they given him blanks?
posted by mullingitover at 1:08 PM on February 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


why couldn't they given him blanks?

Not a bad question, but a range is the purpose-built location for shooting a gun (and blanks aren't completely safe). So if you're heading there, I think most people would opt for shooting some targets. You need buy-in from the person you're trying to help, after all.
posted by bfranklin at 1:14 PM on February 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Say what you will about a professional soldier and for whose interest they are killing, the fact is that this is a murder and the victims deserved to be mourned.

I also don't think we can try to divorce this case from the gun control issue, especially not now.

Would this case be eligible to add to the statistics of the people who are most likely to be harmed by gun violence are the people who own guns?
posted by Think_Long at 1:16 PM on February 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ron Paul cuts to the chase on Chris Kyle.
posted by Xurando at 1:21 PM on February 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Darn it, Xurando, I was just about to link this article.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:23 PM on February 5, 2013


Who in their right mind would think there's therapeutic value in taking a PTSD-stricken veteran to a shooting range? What was the thought process that led them to believe this would be a good idea?

People who deal with actual PTSD, and thus recognize that walking on eggshells and hiding from the world just makes actual PTSD worse.
posted by kafziel at 1:23 PM on February 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


He shot people to protect US business interests abroad

How can anyone look at the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and say that they were to "protect US business interests"? I mean, you do realize that for many, many people that is essentially an argument that says that these wars were rational policy decisions. I mean, sure, the loony conspiracy theories that the US was going into Iraq to take over their oil fields were all jolly good fun but surely by now the patently obvious fact that that has not happened must have begun to sink in?

So what "business interest" did the invasion of Iraq serve? According to what rationale was that war not a total and utter policy blunder from start to finish?

And this is to leave aside the fact that even if you are utterly incapable of looking at the complete clusterfuck that was the Iraq invasion without seeking some hidden figure in the carpet that makes it all a cunning ploy to advance US business interests it's just absurd to pretend that every single US soldier is somehow in on this conspiracy and that when they say that they're serving for love of country or a sense of duty or what have you that they're merely spinning a deliberately mendacious cover story.
posted by yoink at 1:23 PM on February 5, 2013 [25 favorites]




Perhaps, but this smacks of "Hey, I read that LSD has therapeutic uses! Let's give my mentally ill friend some acid and take him to see The Shining, because we care."

If it's all about the sound of gunshots, why couldn't they given him blanks?
posted by mullingitover at 1:08 PM on February 5 [1 favorite +] [!]


"FITCO Cares Foundation, in partnership with former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, has created theHeroes Project to provide free in-home fitness equipment, individualized programs, personal training and life-coaching to in-need veterans with disabilities, Gold Star families or those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. The FITCO Cares Foundation is the company’s new non-profit organization, established in 2011."

By all appearances, these people were entirely qualified to make judgement calls on these matters. It looks like these people are more like social workers than doctors, but I don't think that should be taken to mean they weren't equipped to handle PTSD victims. It is what they do. I know it's fun to look smart on the internet, but I'm pretty sure they had given this subject more thought than you have.

I was trying to figure out what FITCO is, and in doing so noticed that the FITCO website is taking tax deductible donations for his family and the foundation. For those who are interested.
posted by Stagger Lee at 1:24 PM on February 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


After reading more about this guy's book, I realize that I spoke too soon in his defense. What he did during the war was still heroic, but he was, as a spokesman for the military, an asshole. Not "Snarkily chuckle about his death" level asshole, but still. Grade-A. Carry on.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:24 PM on February 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


: "why couldn't they given him blanks?

Not a bad question, but a range is the purpose-built location for shooting a gun (and blanks aren't completely safe). So if you're heading there, I think most people would opt for shooting some targets. You need buy-in from the person you're trying to help, after all.
"

This all betrays the severe problems the 'therapy' they were attempting. It seems like a really irresponsible way to treat someone, bordering on reckless and selfish--"We don't want to take basic steps to mitigate the risks to the patient and ourselves because it might be a little awkward."
posted by mullingitover at 1:25 PM on February 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


Is Ron Paul the new Ward Churchill?
posted by mrgrimm at 1:26 PM on February 5, 2013


...nor is being a sniper the same as being a murderer. He was a soldier.

This isn't the place, but we could have a really interesting discussion on this topic.

I beg to differ.
This is why this is headlining apart from the ''fact'' that noone ever gets shot on ranges.
As usual, unfortunate though this incident was, the Mayor with his customary bluntness nails it.
posted by adamvasco at 1:27 PM on February 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


What I've found the most disturbing about this is the number of people on various websites who are absolutely convinced that the government put a hit on Kyle and the two gun manufacturers who recently died. Theories range from "they are killing everyone that was part of killing OBL because that didn't really happen and he had been dead for years" to "they are getting rid of the best snipers because they want to remove domestic opposition for when they start to put people in camps".

The latter is both the most prominent and has the biggest logic holes, but as far as they are concerned it is obvious and if you don't see the truth you are a completely incapable moron who is not worth exchanging words with because the adults are talking now.

It is BAFFLING, but comments along those lines will each have hundreds of likes on facebook exposed news posts about it. I wish I had the faintest idea what to do about it.
posted by flaterik at 1:27 PM on February 5, 2013 [8 favorites]


I understand criticisms of American gun policy, militarism, and so forth.

Don't use those as a platform to attack veteran rehabilitation and advocacy programs, veterans need support as much or more than almost anyone else in America.
posted by Stagger Lee at 1:27 PM on February 5, 2013 [15 favorites]


It seems like a really irresponsible way to treat someone

Let's rewind. You asserted, ignorantly, that there was no therapeutic value in taking "a PTSD-stricken veteran" to a gun range. Several folks politely corrected you and explained why there indeed is. Your response was to dig in even deeper. "Well...okay, but these guys weren't psychiatrists!" And now you're just randomly impugning the field of people who are.

Maybe it's time to sit back and just read for awhile. You can learn something every day, right? Let this be that moment.
posted by cribcage at 1:29 PM on February 5, 2013 [21 favorites]


: "How can anyone look at the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and say that they were to "protect US business interests"?"

Like this.
posted by mullingitover at 1:29 PM on February 5, 2013 [18 favorites]


After reading more about this guy's book, I realize that I spoke too soon in his defense. What he did during the war was still heroic, but he was, as a spokesman for the military, an asshole. Not "Snarkily chuckle about his death" level asshole, but still. Grade-A. Carry on.

"I wanted everyone to know I was a Christian. I had it put in red, for blood. I hated the damned savages I'd been fighting. I always will. They've taken so much from me."

Irony.

I wish I had the faintest idea what to do about it.

Just don't look?
posted by mrgrimm at 1:31 PM on February 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't know what the exact percentage should be, but a very substantial share of our ginormous warmaking budget should be redirected to helping veterans, with PTSD and all the other problems they have.
posted by Eyebeams at 1:31 PM on February 5, 2013 [7 favorites]


: "Let's rewind. You asserted, ignorantly, that there was no therapeutic value in taking "a PTSD-stricken veteran" to a gun range. Several folks politely corrected you and explained why there indeed is."

Hey, perhaps I was wrong. But I can't find a single reference to real-world psychiatric professionals advocating, much less practicing, this type of 'live fire' exposure therapy. I suspect that anyone attempting this would find themselves drummed out of the profession (for good reason) in record time. If I'm wrong I'm open to correction, but a single reference to an academic paper does not equate to a solid footing for Chris Kyle's idea of 'treatment.'
posted by mullingitover at 1:36 PM on February 5, 2013


[Maybe let's not kick off the thread about the bad thing that happened with arch sarcasm.]
I lost $20. Figured it wouldn't happen for at least 10 comments. But people love their grave dancing.

"Sniper" and "murderer" are not mutually exclusive.
So, shoot someone trying to kill a doctor who is trying to prevent an epidemic, you're a murderer. Got it.

Don't use those as a platform to attack veteran rehabilitation and advocacy programs, veterans need support as much or more than almost anyone else in America.

Why mess with tradition?
Both sides really get the benefits, on the one hand if you don't like (any given) the war, you can blame the troops and ignore the system failures guilt free. If on the other hand you do like the war you can pound your chest and love the troops but ignore them when they aren't troops anymore and not have to spend another dime.

And then we elect a new president and pretend it's all different again. No one has to lose their self-righteousness because no one really has to care.
Pretty much win-win for all points of American culture.
Well, not the troops, but they're fungible no matter who's SecDef is in charge.

This has the added benefit of being hung up as a goat for the gun debate before the body is even in the ground.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:36 PM on February 5, 2013 [11 favorites]


Like this.

Your first link is about the Taliban's reasons for supporting Al Qaeda's 9/11 attack, so it's completely irrelevant. Your second link is about British business interests, so it is completely irrelevant too. But even if we were to pretend for a moment that it's about US business interests, what it describes is an opportunistic attempt to secure a piece of the action in the wake of British cooperation with the Iraq invasion. That is, it is about responding to a war that has already been decided on, not about the reasons for that war being undertaken.
posted by yoink at 1:43 PM on February 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


I am not a trained psychiatrist. I'm just a normal person with my own fears and anxieties. It seems to me that desensitizing someone to a stimulus is a hit or miss process that needs to be very gently done and may irrationally freak somebody out before (or if at all) it works. So maybe it's a tremendously dumbshit idea to give the patient a deadly weapon while you are doing it.
posted by Drinky Die at 1:43 PM on February 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ron Paul cuts to the chase on Chris Kyle: "He who lives by the sword dies by the sword."

As usual, Ron Paul utterly fails to parse nuance.

To me, only one point really stands out here: The continued, long-standing, desperate need to recognize and treat the host of mental health problems inflicted by war.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 1:44 PM on February 5, 2013


So, shoot someone trying to kill a doctor who is trying to prevent an epidemic, you're a murderer. Got it.

Where exactly did this scenario come from? Also, 'not mutually exclusive' doesn't mean 'always occur together' or that one couldn't argue murder justifiable in some circumstances (though generally we choose to call justifiable killing something other than murder).
posted by hoyland at 1:45 PM on February 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


This has the added benefit of being hung up as a goat for the gun debate before the body is even in the ground.

It's the spokespeople for the NRA who are now publicly arguing against background checks because of a nebulous "mental health lobby" and told us the week after Newtown that "[t]he only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun."
posted by zombieflanders at 1:47 PM on February 5, 2013 [6 favorites]




I am not a trained psychiatrist. I'm just a normal person with my own fears and anxieties. It seems to me that desensitizing someone to a stimulus is a hit or miss process that needs to be very gently done and may irrationally freak somebody out before (or if at all) it works. So maybe it's a tremendously dumbshit idea to give the patient a deadly weapon while you are doing it.
posted by Drinky Die at 1:43 PM on February 5 [+] [!]


You're criticizing the decisions of people that deal with these issues on a daily basis, and are qualified to do so. They work with a non-profit that operates to support veterans and to help rehabilitate those suffering from PTSD, and you within two minutes of seeing an article on the internet have decided that their conclusions are "dumbshit." It's fine to have opinions on things without having qualifications to back them up, but there's something profoundly insensitive and arrogant about the way you're choosing to do it. I'm not familiar enough with the field to explain or defend the decisions of the people involved, and hell, they might turn out to have been wrong, but you're wearing your ignorance awfully proudly.
posted by Stagger Lee at 1:56 PM on February 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


Who in their right mind would think there's therapeutic value in taking a PTSD-stricken veteran to a shooting range?

When the only tool you know how to use is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail...
posted by littlejohnnyjewel at 1:58 PM on February 5, 2013 [9 favorites]


Meanwhile, when Mother Jones editor Clara Jeffery Tweeted the obvious observation that this event proves having guns + superior shooting ability won't necessarily save you from getting shot, gun humpers went on the attack, urged on by Michelle Malkin.
posted by emjaybee at 1:58 PM on February 5, 2013 [9 favorites]


On one hand, this is a perfect refutation of NRA talking points. Nobody was better with a gun than this guy and he was still killed while armed.
On the other hand, he must be mourned not just as a human being but as an artist, a craftsman. 150+ kills puts him at an elite level of skill, up there with Simo Hayha. Agree or disagree with how he used that skill but it is amazingz
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 1:59 PM on February 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


IT IS NATURAL FOR NON-MILITARY PEOPLE TO ASK WHO IN HIS RIGHT MIND WOULD TAKE A peson with PTSD to rifle range. Answer: they are buddies, share common background and life, and so it seemed natural for them to go shoot the way some guys was toss basketballs around while passing time together.
posted by Postroad at 1:59 PM on February 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


So what "business interest" did the invasion of Iraq serve?

Just look at the cost of the war and then think about what happened to this money? For sure it wasn't all (literally) burned. This money went to businesses, among those even a firm that more or less directly belonged to one of the architects of the war.
posted by patrick54 at 1:59 PM on February 5, 2013 [22 favorites]


Stagger Lee

You make a very good point; we must all be careful not to impugn the therapeutic credentials of a trained sniper.
posted by The Confessor at 2:01 PM on February 5, 2013 [2 favorites]




IT IS NATURAL FOR NON-MILITARY PEOPLE TO ASK WHO IN HIS RIGHT MIND WOULD TAKE A peson with PTSD to rifle range.


It would make sense if people were asking, but that's not what's been happening. I understand curiosity and inquiry, but that's not how I'd characterize the comments coming out of this.
posted by Stagger Lee at 2:03 PM on February 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


yoink:How can anyone look at the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and say that they were to "protect US business interests"?

Why else are wars fought under capitalism? To help people? I'm not being glib, just pointing out that the US government doesn't actually act in the public interest.
posted by Mayor Curley at 2:03 PM on February 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


You're criticizing the decisions of people that deal with these issues on a daily basis, and are qualified to do so.

Yup, cause they fucked up.

and you within two minutes of seeing an article on the internet have decided that their conclusions are "dumbshit."

Actually I heard about this days ago, and giving a mentally ill person a deadly weapon to desensitize them to loud noises still sounds like a dumbshit idea compared to maybe an audio recording of gunshots.

It's fine to have opinions on things without having qualifications to back them up, but there's something profoundly insensitive and arrogant about the way you're choosing to do it. I'm not familiar enough with the field to explain or defend the decisions of the people involved, and hell, they might turn out to have been wrong, but you're wearing your ignorance awfully proudly.


If "Don't give the mentally ill guy a deadly weapon" is ignorant, then guilty as charged I suppose.
posted by Drinky Die at 2:06 PM on February 5, 2013 [17 favorites]


they are buddies, share common background and life, and so it seemed natural for them to go shoot the way some guys was toss basketballs around while passing time together.

Especially if they were working through the mentally damaging stress of spending years killing people with basketballs, and dealing with the constant urge to continue killing people with basketballs.
posted by FatherDagon at 2:09 PM on February 5, 2013 [10 favorites]


Stagger Lee

You make a very good point; we must all be careful not to impugn the therapeutic credentials of a trained sniper.
posted by The Confessor at 2:01 PM on February 5 [+] [!]


He was the head of a non-profit that existed to provide therapy for PTSD sufferers. That's a credential, yeah.

Try to have some empathy and respect for other people. There's no sense racing to be the smuggest asshole, especially when admitting no qualifications on the subject beyond your gut instincts.

Look, I don't have a pony in this race, but some of the attitudes around here are pretty abhorrent. I'm not interested in dominating this conversation and don't want to invest the kind of energy it's apparently going to require, other voices can have the floor. Have fun with it.
posted by Stagger Lee at 2:09 PM on February 5, 2013 [22 favorites]


The man wanted to be known for how many people he helped

You do know that the current method used to get soldiers to be willing to kill people is by training them to defend each other right? Just listen to what wounded soldiers say. They want to get back out in the field of battle to help their buddies. Not to save or defend their country but to help their immediate buddies. Because at a basic level the soldiers and military know the more heroic story isn't credible enough to push people to murder other human beings.

It's a big giant mindfuck that the very best of human impulses are used in the worst possible ways for the purposes of the masters of war. This particular situation is so turned on itself that is nothing but an implosion of tragedy.

This isn't a story of chickens coming home to roost. Those chickens never made it anywhere near the hen house. This is a story of the final few chickens out of hundreds in this little battle royale corner of the slaughterhouse.
posted by srboisvert at 2:12 PM on February 5, 2013 [20 favorites]


He was the head of a non-profit that existed to provide therapy for PTSD sufferers. That's a credential, yeah.

Bush was the head of the free-world and used his power to start an illegal fake war on bad intelligence to settle some daddy issues. So, the fact that Kyle was head of a non-profit doesn't mean much to me. Any idiot can start a non-profit. Just do the paper-work.
posted by ReeMonster at 2:13 PM on February 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


I respect what the Gates foundation has done for malaria around the world, but Bill and Malinda, I hope you understand why I'm going to my doctor if I need treatment for malaria instead of consulting you.
posted by Drinky Die at 2:14 PM on February 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


At least he was trying to help someone. I get tired of the smugness around here sometimes. I probably live at ground zero for people suffering from ptsd and something needs to be done for them by someone, and if you don't have a better idea and are implementing it, how about we just mourn this gentleman who was trying to help while we put pressure on the government to clean up its messes before its messes make more messes?
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 2:18 PM on February 5, 2013 [9 favorites]


Answer: they are buddies, share common background and life, and so it seemed natural for them to go shoot the way some guys was toss basketballs around while passing time together.

From everything I've read Chris Kyle did not know Routh prior to this, he had been contacted by Routh's mother as he had been suicidal/homicidal recently. In light of that, yes, he should have taken some basic precautions to ensure that there would be little or no danger to Routh or himself like not using live ammo. I appreciate the work he did in Iraq and that he was attempting to assist veterans here, but he really was out of his element and handing a person with PTSD that he barely knew a loaded gun was a catalyst for the tragedy that occurred.

And yeah, the Facebook comments on his story are nuts. Why did Obama "have him killed"? Because "guns", that's why.

surprised no one's accused Jesse Ventura of orchestrating this, I'm guessing Kyle's imaginary brawl with Ventura and Ventura's friendship with Ron Paul were the reasons for Ron Paul's tweet.
posted by Challahtronix at 2:21 PM on February 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Potomac Avenue: "After reading more about this guy's book, I realize that I spoke too soon in his defense. What he did during the war was still heroic, but he was, as a spokesman for the military, an asshole. Not "Snarkily chuckle about his death" level asshole, but still. Grade-A. Carry on."

Yep... One of the few books I couldn't finish. He actually managed to piss me off a couple of times.
posted by jgaiser at 2:31 PM on February 5, 2013


I'll admit, I haven't read the story (though I am slightly aware of it and have the basics of what happened down). And I'll admit that I know absolutely fuck all about Kyle's raisin' or family background but I am from the Midwest, a land full of soldiers. I'm 10 minutes from a huge base in my state and as such, encounter those in our armed forces on a regular basis. I assist them with things when they need help (food, medical care, etc). And 5 years ago, before I got down on their level, I was all about slagging off the military when I could and decrying all it's soldiers as idiot morons who were doing the shit work for the government, work that resulted in massive amounts of dead humans and for what? I thought then that you'd have to be insane to buy into what the military was selling. I still do, to some extent, but knowing these people as I do now, I have a hard time hating on Kyle for whatever bullshit he trumpeted in his book. Was his attitude about the loss of fellow human life far too nonchalant and wrong? Probably. Most likely. But you cannot condemn the man without at least attempting to understand how we do that to people, as a country that operates it military as we do.

What I'm saying is we fund the hell out of our military and there aren't a whole hell of a lot of protests against the military industrial complex. We, as Americans, are just as complicit in this bullshit as a soldier is and even worse, we allow ourselves to stand back and show anything but grief in the wake of his murder. Whatever Kyle said about his time in the war, however he bragged about his killing, WE did that to him. The military's practices in regards to glorifying killing, near brainwashing it's soldiers, and then kicking them off the boat when they come home and leaving them to fend for themselves with all their anger and sadness is utter bullshit.

Whatever Kyle said in his book, we, as citizens, have to own that we helped him become the man that said those things. And what was done to Kyle by another man seemingly utterly broken by his time in our military? We have to own as citizens of this country as something we did to him as well.

.
posted by youandiandaflame at 2:31 PM on February 5, 2013 [8 favorites]


I can't imagine that this kind of 'treatment' is without controversy. It's a damn shame that someone got shot to death by a mentally ill person.

Perhaps if we'd provide care for the mentally ill in the U.S., it wouldn't be left to former soldiers to try to help people by founding non-profits.

Oh, who am I kidding? Let's just give everyone more guns.
posted by IvoShandor at 2:32 PM on February 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Mental health is going to be a big issue going forward in these gun debates and I don't know how we are going to resolve it. There's a real I-know-it-when-I-see-it factor that does not make for good policy. We all think we know where to draw the mental health line but other than a case-by-case basis, under our current laws, it's absolutely unclear.

Right now, I'm sitting in a house that has a vault full of guns -- all kinds of guns. My Dad and little brother was and are "collectors." My father is dead now, died of cancer, he was a lifetime alcoholic and depressive. He was a nerd who liked to tinker. He enjoyed both collecting guns and the idea that he could defend his home if tasked to. He hunted a little bit but not much. When he was dying of cancer, he talked about killing himself (not for the first time). When my mom told me this, I freaked out and told her that he should not have access to his guns. First off, easy to kill yourself in that situation but secondly, and most importantly, easy to take someone with you. It would not have surprised me one bit if he had decided to take both himself and my mom out.

So, at what point do you take away grandpa's guns? It's sort of like taking away the car keys. No one wants to do it. And when it's a family situation -- one in which you trust someone's judgement, their abilities, their rights, their empowerment over their lives, their ability to make sound decisions. When suggesting to someone that they may not be competent enough to be a gun owner, or that their kid is not competent enough to be in a space with guns or when their buddy who is a veteran isn't competent enough to go to a gun range....

It's a sticky space and I don't know the answer to it. And this particular tragedy highlights a lot of problems that we are going to need to deal with as a nation and I feel deep sympathy toward the victims and their families.

Sorry, I wrote this and had to step away and 54 comments have rolled in, so hopefully my comments feel relevant.
posted by amanda at 2:47 PM on February 5, 2013 [15 favorites]


From the SEAL guy's wife, from his book:

And still later, she confides: "When our marriage reached a crisis, I said I wouldn't love him the same if he reenlisted again … In the beginning, I believed he loved me more than anything. Slowly the SEAL Teams started to become his first love."

Anybody remember that scene in Apocalypse Now where Sheen is in his hotel room in Vietnam, thinking about how he went home and his wife asked for a divorce?


Sad all around, man. World power is going to need to train killers. Iraq and Afghanistan were huge policy mistakes, as Yoink said above. But I have a hard time believing that a "good war" fought by a superpower wouldn't train guys like these. I know that Brad Pitt's character in Inglorious Bastards was fiction, but even so, wasn't that kind of part of the point of that movie? That war demands monsters?
posted by angrycat at 2:50 PM on February 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


Trained killer gets massive tattoo of bloody cross so all the "savages" would know he is of Christ. I'm no Ron Paul fan but, yeeeesh.
posted by basicchannel at 2:50 PM on February 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Mayor Curley: Why else are wars fought under capitalism? To help people? I'm not being glib, just pointing out that the US government doesn't actually act in the public interest.

To follow up on someone's thoughts from earlier, when all you have is a Marxist hammer, everything begins to look like a capitalist nail. I'm not really addressing all or even much of the following at you, but this just served as a good segue.

Many on the right love to portray the left as a bunch of godless hippy communists, seeking to nefariously bring forth the gay agenda and the destruction of freedom or what have you. Those on the left rightfully find this hilarious, since as they see it their goals are (in broad, generalist terms) the elimination of poverty, inequality, injustice, and the poison of nationalism; to wingnuts on the right, this is making everyone into gay Muslim atheists. It's the same set of acts, viewed through two radically opposed lenses.

But what a lot of leftists don't seem to see is their own failings in this regard. You could see right wing policy as always driven by oil or a desire to most efficiently murder the maximum number of brown people or what have you, but this is just as ridiculous. You could even argue those are the results, and thus the reasons are irrelevant, but I'd counter that it's never irrelevant to understand the whys of a major event. Down that road leads people thinking the emperors of Rome were basically like FDR or Churchill, and trying to shoehorn the historical narrative to fit. We've rightfully come to respect the need for temporal or cultural context, but have difficulty with ideological context.

To answer your question: why are wars fought under capitalism? A lot of time it's the same reasons they're fought under communism, feudalism, and whatever else you can think of. Territorial aggrandizement, or fear that in turn prompts what is seen as a pre-emptive strike (correct or not), or the desire to secure resources, etc.

What is bizarre to me is that the motivations for the U.S. invading Afghanistan are fairly well known - a desire for revenge and to eliminate what was seen as a base for further 9/11s - and Iraq - a deep dislike for that nation's regime that created a self-fulfilling prophecy at a time of fear directed at the Middle East, coupled with poor intelligence that fed into all that. You don't have to go making up motivations (and by this I mean "you" in general, not you specifically) - they were quite clear at the time and continue to be. That others clearly profited from the results is also not an argument against - show me an aggressive war that hasn't had a group profit from it. To go from there to saying that therefore aggressive wars are always caused by those seeking to profit, with no other motivation, is correlation equalling causation.

Bush gave his reasons, repeatedly, and these were backed by statements made by his closest advisors. In short, they thought they were helping people - Americans, but also democracy in general - while eliminating evil people from the world. It's just that the left, like the right, has trouble actually taking the other side at their word. You can argue that the results were bad, or the reasons weak, or the evidence in support of the invasion of Iraq irresponsibly shoddy, or that the entire approach is fundamentally unethical, but none of that changes why, in the minds of their architects, they occurred.

In the end, I think people will get a lot farther pointing out the logical consequences of a group's actions than they will trying to claim that that group inherently stands for and actively campaigns for those same actions.
posted by Palindromedary at 2:51 PM on February 5, 2013 [29 favorites]


Amanda, no discussion, hide those guns. I know of a man wellrespected in this community-not military-well off, well known, well liked, active in his upper middleclass church-and when he started acting a little off, his friends talked to him, talked him into getting help. But they didn't take his guns away.

He shot and killed his wife and two teenaged children that night and then shot himself immediately afterward, that same day.

I believe in the right to own firearms but with that right comes solemn responsibilities, one of which is if someone starts acting "off" you make sure they do not have access to them. Period.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 2:53 PM on February 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


How can anyone look at the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and say that they were to "protect US business interests"?

Memories are short. One of those two wars, at least, was pushed forwards through the UN and other channels by a former Vice President who lead Halliburton, which saw a number of contracts open up in support of the war effort and in extracting natural resources from the defeated country. One might ask the opposite question, when business interests have so very clearly been enriched. We certainly weren't there for the WMDs.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:57 PM on February 5, 2013 [13 favorites]


Jesus Christ this thread is like a giant field of different and varied grinding axes.
posted by shakespeherian at 3:01 PM on February 5, 2013 [28 favorites]


For the sake of the foundation and those it is trying to help, I too wonder what qualifications Kyle and others at FITCO have in working with PTSD. Do they have training specific to proven therapy that is backed up by professionals in the field? Do they have professional certifications of any kind? Do they consult with educated professionals in the practice? I hope they have records of much effective effort in such things if they have to give testimony in depositions on such matters.
posted by WagonTyre at 3:03 PM on February 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I believe in the right to own firearms but with that right comes solemn responsibilities...for everybody else even if they don't want the guns around in the first place apparently.
posted by Drinky Die at 3:06 PM on February 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


show me an aggressive war that hasn't had a group profit from it. To go from there to saying that therefore aggressive wars are always caused by those seeking to profit, with no other motivation, is correlation equalling causation.

Not if you can prove the cause, which, time and time again, has not been very hard: Spanish-American (U.S.S. Maine); Vietnam (Gulf of Tonkin); Iraq (Nigerian yellowcake).

One might ask the opposite question, when business interests have so very clearly been enriched.

Indeed.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:11 PM on February 5, 2013


I believe in the right to own firearms but with that right comes solemn responsibilities, one of which is if someone starts acting "off" you make sure they do not have access to them. Period.

Define "off."

It's a sticky space and I don't know the answer to it.

I do. Make all guns illegal. It works.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:11 PM on February 5, 2013 [9 favorites]


One of those two wars, at least, was pushed forwards through the UN and other channels by a former Vice President who lead Halliburton, which saw a number of contracts open up in support of the war effort and in extracting natural resources from the defeated country.

And if you think that Dick Cheney (former CEO, by the way, not VP) was sitting around thinking "gee...how can I maximize the shareholder value of a company that I no longer have any particular financial interest in, just because I used to work for it and I'm kinda sentimental about my former buddies in the boardroom. Hmmm, I know, let me randomly pick a country to start a war with--that'll help" then you are trying to understand real world events as if they were really crappy superhero comics.

Sure, there's a great deal to be said about crony capitalism being at play in Halliburton getting sweetheart deals to help with the US war effort, and about the revolving door of Cheney's political and boardroom work. But that's simply not remotely the same thing as saying that the war was fought simply to enrich Halliburton--which is, as Palindromedary above puts it very well--roughly the left's equivalent to "Obama kinda sorta knew Bill Ayres, obviously he's a radical Marxist planning to destroy capitalism!!!" hysteria.

And no, the alternative to thinking that the US went to war with Iraq to "protect US business interests" or "to make Halliburton's shareholders rich" is not "because they genuinely believed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction." That's a silly straw man.
posted by yoink at 3:12 PM on February 5, 2013 [8 favorites]


Just as a point of context, for those saying it was completely out of left field to take Routh to a firing range, here's an excerpt from the first linked article:
Pentagon records show that Mr. Routh is currently a member of the Marine Reserves. He was an expert marksman and Marine corporal who had earned several medals, including a Marine good-conduct medal.
I know he had other issues, but trying to see it from Kyle's perspective, I'd personally find it a stretch to assume that the actual outcome was of any significant probability, under the circumstances.
posted by Brak at 3:13 PM on February 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


So what "business interest" did the invasion of Iraq serve?

Policy blunders aside, I'm sure Halliburton did well by the invasion. And the gun dealers, military contractors, etc.

Right or wrong, this is what happened, and two men died. From their description, they don't sound like individuals I would be attracted to as friends.
Nevertheless, they were a part of us.

. .
posted by BlueHorse at 3:14 PM on February 5, 2013


I believe in the right to own firearms but with that right comes solemn responsibilities, one of which is if someone starts acting "off" you make sure they do not have access to them. Period.

But, you know, easier said than done. What right did his friends have (in your example) to come in and take his guns away? How would they have done it? Would any law enforcement have backed them up? I don't want to be tasked with taking a mentally ill person's guns away.

I'm also worried about my distant relative who was bananas before he joined the military and went on three tours of Afghanistan as a medic, who was divorced by his wife due to abuse and erratic behavior toward her and their son. He's still in, active duty, has access to a weapon at all times and loves to shoot. I'm worried about my cousin with the substance abuse problems, history of instability, he's got a sweet heart and is a lifelong hunter and gun enthusiast (who, incidentally, loathes the NRA for reasons I'm not totally clear on but I support). He's a consummate safety expert who loves animals even though he likes to hunt. But, I won't see to him anymore due to his instability. I would not be surprised if he shoots up a workplace. His stepfather is a serious hardcore hunter who has lots of guns. I'm not worried about him but I am worried about the access his son may or may not have to his guns. His son was diagnosed with a brain tumor years ago after some extreme and erratic behavior. His son is depressed and continues to have brain problems after using surgery and radiation to treat the tumors. I don't believe he has ready access to guns but who can't find out where their Dad's gun safe key is?

These are gaping loopholes in our current system and I really don't think there's a way to fix them.
posted by amanda at 3:20 PM on February 5, 2013 [10 favorites]


Study: The U.S. has had one mass shooting per month since 2009
posted by Artw at 3:22 PM on February 5, 2013 [6 favorites]


Policy blunders aside, I'm sure Halliburton did well by the invasion. And the gun dealers, military contractors, etc.

And if the US were to close a lot of its military bases, local scrap-metal companies would make a tidy profit. This would not be proof, however, that the decision to close those bases was motivated by the desire to coddle "Big Scrap Metal."

The argument is not whether some companies will profit from war (of course they will; some companies will profit from any decision the government makes. If the US invests in rebuilding its infrastructure will that be proof that it is being dominated by the construction companies?)--the argument is whether the decision to go to war was based largely upon the desire to see these companies do well.
posted by yoink at 3:23 PM on February 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


I do. Make all guns illegal. It works.
posted by mrgrimm


Just like it works for drug use, drunk driving, etc right? Making stuff like that illegal eliminated all those problems nicely.
posted by blaneyphoto at 3:24 PM on February 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


I know he had other issues, but trying to see it from Kyle's perspective, I'd personally find it a stretch to assume that the actual outcome was of any significant probability, under the circumstances.

I agree. And that's a real problem.
posted by amanda at 3:25 PM on February 5, 2013


Just like it works for drug use, drunk driving, etc right?

No, like it did for guns in other countries or automatic weapons in the US. (Yes, I know automatic weapons are not totally banned, just functionally banned)
posted by Drinky Die at 3:30 PM on February 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


: "I do. Make all guns illegal. It works.
posted by mrgrimm


Just like it works for drug use, drunk driving, etc right? Making stuff like that illegal eliminated all those problems nicely.
"

Well, we do have some pretty good examples from countries where they're illegal. What do those examples look like? Let's take a look.
posted by mullingitover at 3:31 PM on February 5, 2013 [6 favorites]


Just like it works for drug use, drunk driving, etc right? Making stuff like that illegal eliminated all those problems nicely.


Some might argue that measures to control drunken driving in the United States have been remarkably successful. After all, the number of people who will die because of alcohol-related crashes this year is less than half what it was 30 years ago.
posted by josher71 at 3:34 PM on February 5, 2013 [12 favorites]


“It's the spokespeople for the NRA who are now publicly arguing against background checks because of a nebulous "mental health lobby" and told us the week after Newtown that "[t]he only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun."”

Yes. LaPierre is an asshole on top of being a fantatic. What’s the excuse here? It’s ok to piss on Kyle’s grave because he’s a vet? Or because he was shot at a gun range? Or the other vet is bad because he’s mentally ill?

What exactly is the thought process there, I’m curious? That this tragic event is somehow a refutation of an entirely stupid statement that is simple to the point of being devoid of meaning? “Bad guy” “good guy”? Those terms are infantile even without the attendant fantasy world. The thought is to refute that? With this? I mean, not on just the blatant stupidity of it, but with this event?

We really can't picture how this probably went down? We really think they shot it out, guns 'ablazin, and Kyle being the big strong proposed hero we have really, totally, I'm serious here, no interest in tearing down, just couldn't withstand the power of GUNS even with his mighty gun skill?
And thus, the otherwise invulnerable LaPierre argument is finally defeated.

Or did he try to talk him down? Maybe appeal to him. And that made Routh only feel more shame and guilt and out of his own control and maybe envy which lead to rage. Is it maybe more complex an event even in and of itself and indicative of the need to deal with these issues more broadly in a multifaceted and careful manner?

Or is there a thought process at all? Is it just because guns are at the top of people’s heads and Kyle was shot with a gun and everything else vanishes into irrelevancy? Did we read so many insightful comments on youtube or whatever opinion page they just had to be reiterated?
Did I miss some voices of reason there above? *checks* Nope. Plenty of people saying it’s a dumb tangent.
Feel free to explore it. I have zero issue with what comes first to someone’s mind and their posting it. I won’t refrain from calling it stupid though. And if you’ll notice I was lambasting the idiocy of discourse in the U.S. in general. Both sides. We just can’t think about anything beyond the immediate moment and what the media is handing us. PTSD doesn’t mean a damn thing unless we can translate it into the gun debate.

Ten minutes from now it’ll be what the Beyonce du Jour thinks of Chris Kyle.

And of course, we’ll blame the “other” side for not getting it. Sorry, I won’t be polarized. This is a tragedy. Want to say guns are bad and this is a tragedy, fine. Want to say guns are good and this is a tragedy, that's fine too.
Anyone - and I mean anyone - who tries to pigeonhole this into some convenient pre-existing slot though isn't doing much thinking at all.

Christ, guy gets killed while trying to help someone and first thing people think is "how can this fit into my agenda." Second thing is thinking to justify it by saying "well the other side is doing it worse."

It's not a one trick pony. All I'm saying.


“Also, 'not mutually exclusive' doesn't mean 'always occur together' or that one couldn't argue murder justifiable in some circumstances (though generally we choose to call justifiable killing something other than murder).”


There’s no question that a sniper can be a murderer. But in combat without question snipers cause the least collateral damage of any method of warfare. You would have to deliberately target an innocent civilian to be considered a murderer as a sniper.

“There's no sense racing to be the smuggest asshole, especially when admitting no qualifications on the subject beyond your gut instincts.”
You’d think so. But here we are.

“To go from there to saying that therefore aggressive wars are always caused by those seeking to profit, with no other motivation, is correlation equalling causation.”

Yeah, I think there’s no question wars have their own evolution and forces that cause them. But it’s not necessarily the vultures saying “let’s start this war” but rather “we need ‘x” and creating an incentive structure to grease the treads that exists whether a war is going on or not.

“Any idiot can start a non-profit. Just do the paper-work.”

That’s why there are just so many people running charities.

“And this particular tragedy highlights a lot of problems that we are going to need to deal with as a nation and I feel deep sympathy toward the victims and their families.”

Well that’s just crazy talk.
I kid. That's probably the best and only thing to say in tragedies like these. We do have a lot of problems and they're not simple enough to merit a short quippy solution.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:40 PM on February 5, 2013 [7 favorites]


So, in the article I read on this, the shooting happened at 3:30 pm, but the sheriff wasn't called until 6:00 which raised a big red Whiskey Tango Foxtrot in my mind. Does anyone know what's up with that? Was a municipal police force called first and it just took time before the sheriff's office was notified or what?
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 3:45 PM on February 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


If you like your discussions about people's deaths to be entirely context-free and disconnected from any external events, you're going to have a hard time with any discussions at all. This being an issue with guns and/or mental health and/or post-military integration with civilian life was built into it the moment it happened. Most people are neither lizard-brained emotional vessels nor logic-minded robots. Having an agenda is part of being human, just because it's being expressed in a way that you disagree with doesn't mean it's stupid, or a one-trick pony, or that your way is right. One can grieve or find something upsetting in a situation without it being all about a singular focus on the event itself. In fact, I'd say that for anyone not intimately entwined with those involved, it would be unusual and a little bit disconcerting if there was a singular focus.
posted by zombieflanders at 3:50 PM on February 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


: "What’s the excuse here? It’s ok to piss on Kyle’s grave because he’s a vet?"

I don't think anyone is happy that human beings died in this affair, and discussing and questioning the circumstances does not make us bad people.
posted by mullingitover at 3:55 PM on February 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


just because I used to work for it and I'm kinda sentimental about my former buddies in the boardroom

I do not believe this to be a true characterization of Cheney's secretive relationship with energy companies as he entered into his role as VP, but you are certainly welcome to believe that.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:59 PM on February 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Make all guns illegal.

Well, we do have some pretty good examples from countries where they're illegal.

Even in Japan, guns are not illegal per se. They are very highly regulated.
posted by zamboni at 4:01 PM on February 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


No, discussing the circumstances does not make you a bad person. On the other hand, mocking them ("I have to wonder who the mentally ill person really is in this scenario") is at the very least not conclusive proof that you're a good one.
posted by cribcage at 4:12 PM on February 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


: "Make all guns illegal.

Well, we do have some pretty good examples from countries where they're illegal.

Even in Japan, guns are not illegal per se. They are very highly regulated.
"

Pretty damn close to illegal--I'm assuming the detective quoted here is talking about handguns:
“In Japan, no civilian is allowed to have a gun,” he stated simply. “In order to prevent atrocious crimes using firearms, possession of small arms was banned in 1965, with strict penalties for violations of the law. As time has gone on the penalties have increased and every year we try to drive down the number of people owning guns.”

Japan does allow the possession of hunting rifles and air guns (for sporting use), but the restrictions and checks are extremely strict.

“You have to bring your rifle in every year for inspection. You have to pass a drug test. You can’t have a criminal record. A doctor has to certify you’re mentally and physically healthy. You have to actually go to the firing range and show that you can use the weapon. If you have any sort of issue, we’re going to take away your firearms,” Detective X said.
So the difference seems to be that in Japan it's a privilege that you earn by proving your fitness for owning a deadly weapon, whereas with our dysfunctional system it's a right and the state must show cause before infringing it. One of these systems works well for everyone, and the other sets the stage for routine mass murders.

It's kinda surprising that gun owners are able to show any kind of solidarity. Myself, I'm strongly against any limits on my own ability to purchase deadly weaponry, but I'd be happy to see everyone else's guns taken away.
posted by mullingitover at 4:16 PM on February 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


: "On the other hand, mocking them ("I have to wonder who the mentally ill person really is in this scenario") is at the very least not conclusive proof that you're a good one."

What mockery? I'm serious as a heart attack, the thought process that led him to put a loaded firearm in the hands of a shell-shocked marine is a total mystery to me and I'm not convinced he was in his right mind when he did it. Perhaps he thought he was invincible.
posted by mullingitover at 4:21 PM on February 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yes. LaPierre is an asshole on top of being a fantatic.

And the face of one of the most powerful political lobbies in America, whose views on these issues we will all inevitably be presented with when we follow these debates. I know sensible gun owners wish their views weren't represented by a crazy man working for the arms industry, but it's just how it is for now. Discussion of his views will come up in these topics until the companies and people he represents shut him up. For now, he can't be shrugged off.
posted by Drinky Die at 4:21 PM on February 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


It's a disgusting organization and membership in it should be considered as shameful as being a member of the KKK, and yet somehow they seem to be the only ones with any sway on the matter. That's pretty fucked up.
posted by Artw at 4:25 PM on February 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


Simo Hayha was protecting his country's soil and people from an aggressive foreign invasion that threatened to wipe it out. He did so with the most primitive weapons and in the harshest conditions possible. Every person he shot (of which I am aware) was a uniformed member of the Soviet Union's invading army. I am not comfortable with the comparison.
posted by 1adam12 at 4:25 PM on February 5, 2013 [9 favorites]


I am not a psychiatrist. I am not a veteran. I am not questioning the motives of the Iraq War (tonight, at least.). I am not being sarcastic.

I am going to go way out on a limb here and guess that Chris Kyle took Mr. Routh, and apparently others, out shooting not because he thought it was the best therapy for PTSD, but because it was what he really liked to do.
posted by newdaddy at 4:26 PM on February 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


mrgrimm: Not if you can prove the cause, which, time and time again, has not been very hard: Spanish-American (U.S.S. Maine); Vietnam (Gulf of Tonkin); Iraq (Nigerian yellowcake).

First, bear in mind that what I was talking about here (and which you directly quoted) was concerned with the notion of aggressive wars only starting because of a desire for profit (an idea I disagree with). With that in mind, to your examples:

The USS Maine: Hearst denied ever saying this (see O'Toole 1984, or Wikipedia I guess): http://academic2.american.edu/~wjc/wjc3/notlikely.htm backs him.

The Gulf of Tonkin Incident: your article has nothing about profit. It's solely concerned with the idea of manufactured consent, but this is hardly news, or universally accepted. Your link describes the Maddox as engaged in "aggressive intelligence gathering maneuvers", and it is correct, but this does little to change the fact that the Maddox was indeed attacked. What is controversial/doubtful is the second attack (Davidson 1988). Either way, as Podhoretz (1982) argues, "For the evidence (including material turned up in the Pentagon Papers) is that the attack did take place and that it was not deliberately provoked by the United States. This does not mean the attack was not seized upon by Johnson as a good excuse for doing what he had already been thinking of doing; it was." Mann (2001) explains how McNamara assured Johnson that the attacks had taken place. Karnow (1983) emphasizes that Johnson rushed before all the facts were in. All the sources I give show Johnson ignoring the first strike, and only moving when he thought the second "strike" had occurred, and emphasize the political climate of the time as the motivating factor for Johnson's actions, rather than some vague profit motive.

Iraq Yellowcake: again, this ten-year old Time article is at best evidence of manufactured consent, not evidence that the invasion was promoted by a desire to profit.

Part of what I was talking about was the notion that ideologues act from their beliefs, and are willing to twist or distort evidence, or otherwise act hastily and thus wind up accidentally distorting evidence in that haste, to get to what end they feel is correct. After all, they know they're right, right? Hearst believed the Spanish were guilty and horrible, so what were a few lies in support of this greater truth? The Vietnamese were Communists, threatening freedom in general and American strategic interests (so it was thought) in specific, so a little haste would serve the common good (and not make Johnson look weak in front of the Republicans). Bush "knew" that there were WMDs in Iraq and that the Hussein regime was a threat, so perhaps he made the evidence to prove it (I'm not up on the current scholarship on that one - hence my problem with a ten-year-old Time article). And you've just posted a few links that look like an argument, but are either wrong or have nothing to do with what I was talking about.
posted by Palindromedary at 4:27 PM on February 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I do not believe this to be a true characterization of Cheney's secretive relationship with energy companies as he entered into his role as VP, but you are certainly welcome to believe that.

Report: Cheney may still have Halliburton ties (from 2003).
posted by drezdn at 4:29 PM on February 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Doctors? People who understand the scientific method?

I think it's a little inaccurate to cite this review as defense (?) of Kyle's putative reasoning that he could act as an effective de facto therapist by taking Routh to a gun range. For those outside of the paywall: if it wasn't already obvious, this review does not advocate untrained individuals using isolated bits and pieces of therapeutic technique as an evidence-based treatment method for PTSD. Beyond a doubt, exposure therapy is a gold standard first-line treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder. I'm not sure mullingitover was suggesting the contrary, per se, but rather expressing understandable frustration and confusion that an untrained individual would try something so obviously (YMMV; I work in mental health) high-risk with a very sick individual (more on that later). And it is indeed true that you don't always need a therapist to effect positive change in psychopathology: for example, in milder cases of anxiety-related mental illness, it has been shown that patients can sometimes help themselves by engaging in self-directed behavioral exercises.

But real prolonged exposure therapy for serious cases (and this case is clearly serious) is a complicated, planned, step-by-step evidence-based medical protocol. It involves psychoeducation about PTSD and rationale for treatment, learning applied relaxation/breathing techniques, and a gradual exposure in safe environments to increasingly more distressing triggers as per a personalized hierarchy of distress developed with the patient during clinical assessment. The most distressing triggers are often way too much, are way too overwhelming to address first without the scaffolding and strength from more circumspect successes in anxiety tolerance and processing. PE therapy for PTSD generally emphasizes imaginal (vs. real-life) exposure via specific focal exercises (e.g., let's listen together to sounds of gunfire in a safe controlled environment with me here to support) or detailed retellings of traumatic event(s), certainly before moving on to real-life exposure. Sometimes the therapy never moves to in vivo exposure at all!

A trip to the gun-range right off the bat for a profoundly combat-traumatized patient would be flat-out contraindicated by any medical professional I know, frankly. If a trained doctor or therapist were to do this, they would garner my professional disrespect. For me, it seems like skipping to step 10 of 10: you were shot at in terror by multiple targets, so here's a firing range with multiple people firing at things. No establishment of safety, no extinguishing of minor triggers that feed into the more overpowering triggers? Patients with PTSD developed from combat have higher rates of violent behavior compared to PTSD patients with different traumatic origins, which I think is pretty intuitive. From the outside and in retrospect, it really seems manifest how this trip to the firing range could be traumatically triggering, and why the patient might be expected to respond with violence to such an intense trigger (he was hospitalized TWICE very recently for threat of violence against both himself and his family!!!... did Kyle know this?!?). It's pretty well-known among mental-health professionals that patients can psychotically decompensate in the wake of extreme anxiety and trauma. This is all maybe part of why you need a trained professional not only to provide therapy but to guide it by assessing where the patient is at and what he is ready for. It isn't just "expose, expose, expose!" ==> "cure!"; there's a studied process to maximize chance of therapeutic gain and to protect both patient and therapist.

To wonder whether Chris Kyle taking this very troubled and disturbed man to a shooting range and giving him a loaded weapon was the wisest way to help isn't to say that this event is not a terrible tragedy on all fronts. Nor would I suggest based on what we know that Kyle did not have a genuine desire to aid a fellow soldier, nor would I discount that "a friend helping a friend" may have been helpful for a less disturbed individual, nor would I advance the idea that to help another person you necessarily need a degree.

For what it's worth, access to treatments for PTSD among veterans is a huge issue, especially for veterans residing outside of metropolitan areas that have higher concentrations of properly trained therapists. I am very sympathetic to the notion that Kyle may have thought this a way to help Routh given possible lack of treatment access. It's sadly not shocking to me that in America someone could be hospitalized twice for violent and suicidal ideation and exit with [apparently?] no real therapeutic resources. But it does make me feel ill.

.
posted by Keter at 4:31 PM on February 5, 2013 [21 favorites]


And if you think that Dick Cheney (former CEO, by the way, not VP) was sitting around thinking "gee...how can I maximize the shareholder value of a company that I no longer have any particular financial interest in, just because I used to work for it and I'm kinda sentimental about my former buddies in the boardroom. Hmmm, I know, let me randomly pick a country to start a war with--that'll help" then you are trying to understand real world events as if they were really crappy superhero comics.

I certainly don't think Cheney and his fellow war criminals started mongered this war in order to help Halliburton or any other business per se.

But let us keep the record clear - it is NOT true that Cheney had "no longer any particular financial interest" in Halliburton. He had tremendous financial interest in Halliburton in the run up to the war, and subsequently:

"Cheney retired from the company during the 2000 U.S. presidential election campaign with a severance package worth $36 million.[40] As of 2004, he had received $398,548 in deferred compensation from Halliburton while Vice President.[41] Cheney was chairman and CEO of Halliburton Company from 1995 to 2000 and has received stock options from Halliburton.[42]
In the run-up to the Iraq war, Halliburton was awarded a $7 billion contract for which 'unusually' only Halliburton was allowed to bid.[43]
Bunnatine Greenhouse, a civil servant with 20 years of contracting experience, had complained to Army officials on numerous occasions that Halliburton had been unlawfully receiving special treatment for work in Iraq, Kuwait and the Balkans. Criminal investigations were opened by the U.S. Justice Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Pentagon's inspector general.
"

Again, I don't for a second believe that Halliburton factored into the decision to launch an aggressive illegal war, but it is equally true that once that war was decided upon, Halliburton benefitted tremendously - as did Dick Cheney (note also, that he had stock options from Halliburton in addition to direct cash compensation during that period of time). And Halliburton benefitted in ways that have raised disturbing questions about the legality of it.

There is a very funny scene in The Tenant by Roman Polanski - Trelkowski vandalizes the apartment of Isabelle Adjani, because he's enraged by her betrayal (a betrayal that he entirely imagined in his paranoid delusions). While vandalizing her apartment, he comes across some cash she's stashed away among some clothes. He looks at the cash bundle in some surprise, thinks for a second, and then pockets it. All righteous - and entirely delusional - rage at a betrayal - but hey, a bit of nice cash is an opportunity not to be missed. The Iraq war and Halliburton - all in one scene.
posted by VikingSword at 4:31 PM on February 5, 2013 [15 favorites]


I thought it was well-established that War is a Racket.
posted by mullingitover at 4:31 PM on February 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


Routh has been hospitalized twice in the last four months for threatening to kill himself and his family.

The lesson I get from this is the same thing that the Marines are going to use this as a perfect example of; Operational Risk Management. That risk was too high.

I can say the same about Sandy Hook. The mom knew that her son was not well and even feared for her own life and yet didn't secure her guns.
posted by snsranch at 4:34 PM on February 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


Kid Charlemagne: So, in the article I read on this, the shooting happened at 3:30 pm, but the sheriff wasn't called until 6:00 which raised a big red Whiskey Tango Foxtrot in my mind. Does anyone know what's up with that? Was a municipal police force called first and it just took time before the sheriff's office was notified or what?

Gun ranges can either be indoors (like most people imagine from movies, etc) or outdoors. Sometimes the outdoors ones are pretty remote and the three of them could have easily been the only ones there. The shooter ran after he shot them, so the delay could have been how long the range was completely unoccupied before someone arrived and found the bodies.
posted by Mitrovarr at 4:35 PM on February 5, 2013


I think it's a little inaccurate to cite this review as defense

Keter, I agree. It was a glib response, but it was sufficient to expose the fallacy of the question. I'm not going to argue that this was the best move, but given the attention to detail that is endemic to special forces operators, I think it's foolish to suggest that Kyle did not consider what he was getting himself into by taking Routh to a range.

It's a big giant mindfuck that the very best of human impulses are used in the worst possible ways for the purposes of the masters of war.

srboisvert, I think you've got it backwards. I think looking after your buddies is the best way to make a shitty situation tolerable. Troops don't know why they're hitting a particular target. The nature of intelligence work and need-to-know means that troops are very much in the dark.

The man isn't using that. The man doesn't care. The man has UCMJ if you disobey a direct order. You'll do as your told because you have to.
posted by bfranklin at 4:51 PM on February 5, 2013


I can say the same about Sandy Hook. The mom knew that her son was not well and even feared for her own life and yet didn't secure her guns.

I just did a bit of searching and could not find evidence to support either assertion. There was an article that speculated that she was considering having him committed but the followup stated that this was unsubstantiated. And whether or not she feared for her life would then be speculative. And the other — from all accounts I've read, she was a model gun owner and very careful. But, again, it's no big thing to figure out how to access guns that are located in your home and if you are trusted.
posted by amanda at 4:51 PM on February 5, 2013


VikingSword, good post, but re this: "But let us keep the record clear - it is NOT true that Cheney had "no longer any particular financial interest" in Halliburton. He had tremendous financial interest in Halliburton in the run up to the war, and subsequently:" Annenberg's FackCheck.Org disagrees and lays out the case pretty clearly. The Wikipedia entry (in a startling first for Wikipedia entries on controversial political figures!) is pretty much bogus.

So no. Cheney did not stand to make any personal profit from steering Halliburton Iraq war business. Not that that would be the same thing as "going to war to protect US business interests" either--it would be, instead, good old-fashioned venality (going to war to line your personal pockets).
posted by yoink at 4:59 PM on February 5, 2013


How cool! This thread all over the map, I'm lost. BTW did Cheny go back to Haliburton after his time as veep?
posted by Xurando at 5:06 PM on February 5, 2013


150+ dead men
Lay them out head to toe
250+ yards end to end
.
posted by humanfont at 5:38 PM on February 5, 2013


It's worth remembering that snipers are less likely than any other soldiers to produce collateral damage. They take a long, careful look at the specific person they are targeting before pulling the trigger. It's probably the most ethical combat specialty.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 6:40 PM on February 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


Chris Kyle went to my tiny high school and graduated a year after me. I didn't know that until my mom texted me last night. I'd read about the shooting, but my hometown's name wasn't in the news reports. (He apparently still lived there.) It's a small town, and you have to fight to get out of it and rise above it instead of working for 40 years at one of the three cement plants or the steel mill. He did that. That's an accomplishment

All I recognized from the news stories is that I read an excerpt from his book a couple years ago -- either because it was posted at Texas Monthly, or because it was posted here -- and I found it a really interesting, nuanced read. I don't recall him bragging about killing people. What I remember is that he had some difficulty reconciling doing his job with the morality of killing people. I never read the full book, though, so maybe the tone of it was different.

I went and dug up my high school yearbook last night. There he is, with a baby face, un-smiling at the camera in the same way he's un-smiling in the NYT photo. This is a guy who took math and English and science classes from the same teachers I had. He went to the same pep rallies I did. He played on the football team, and I sat in the stands with the band. That said, I didn't remember his name, or his face, but after looking at the yearbook some odd little thing clicked and it became very real that we've shared the same spaces.

I think the military does good things and bad things. I think it did good things for Chris Kyle. He wasn't in honors classes. He didn't graduate near the top of his class. But, it gave him a career that built him into a strong person. Even if you don't approve of what his job entailed, he did it well, and he did it {pardon the cliche} in service to the rest of us who live in the US.

The military also does bad things to people. It did bad things to the shooter. My mom says he went to our high school too, but he's about 10 years younger and I don't have those yearbooks, so I don't know if that's true. My mom knows his mom and dad. They've been involved in the schools.

The shooter's tour(s) of duty fucked him up. Chris Kyle's -- though what he did was shitty on almost any human/humane level -- shored him up.

I think we should go from looking at black and white to looking at what's inside of all of us, and how this shit affects us. It doesn't affect any one person the same way.

I can't picture Chris Kyle in the hallway of the high school. But I'm going pretend I can, and I'm going to give him a smile and a nod. Not for the people he shot, but for going from that place -- that shitty, dead-end place -- to something else. I'm sorry he couldn't have gone further.
posted by mudpuppie at 6:42 PM on February 5, 2013 [20 favorites]


This method of treating PTSD seems a lot like treating frostbite by immediately submerging the affected part of the body in piping hot water.
posted by MattMangels at 6:54 PM on February 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


This method of treating PTSD seems a lot like treating frostbite by immediately submerging the affected part of the body in piping hot water.

Actual medicine disagrees with you, but hey, that's never stopped people on the internet from making wild statements about PTSD before.
posted by kafziel at 6:59 PM on February 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


“I don't think anyone is happy that human beings died in this affair, and discussing and questioning the circumstances does not make us bad people.”

I think some people have made remarks alluding to some satisfaction over it. But no, discussing and questioning it isn’t bad at all.

“One can grieve or find something upsetting in a situation without it being all about a singular focus on the event itself.”

One can also find something reasonable to say. “The continued, long-standing, desperate need to recognize and treat the host of mental health problems inflicted by war.” For example.
But LaPierre’s comments don’t enter into it. This isn’t a matter of guns failing as defensive weapons. It’s practically the poster child for the need to address mental illness and the despicable state of our health care system in the U.S. If all guns had been banned 4 years before this, this still would have happened. Kyle is a contractor licensed to have firearms. Nothing about this would have changed.
So yeah, it can be about a whole host of things. Why defend it being good if it’s about LaPierre’s drivel? Argue against shit, no matter how wonderful your defense from the other side, 1/2 the discussion is still shit.

“For what it's worth, access to treatments for PTSD among veterans is a huge issue, especially for veterans residing outside of metropolitan areas that have higher concentrations of properly trained therapists.”
Worth posting again.

“I thought it was well-established that War is a Racket.”
That was back in Smed's day. Now it's business as usual.
Chaney isn’t the best case scenario. Wolfowitz, sure, he's the poster boy. Incestuous, nepotistic cronyism for dittohead neoconservatives hired over far more competent - or even competent at all in contrast - officials.
Rumsfeld too is a gem of an example. Jumps from public service as chief of staff for Ford to the General Instrument Corporation and then Chairman of Gilead Sciences, Inc. which developed Tamiflu. Then he goes back in to government service as the Secretary of Defense. Then we got the bird flu scare.
And we have a lot of hocus-pocus in Iraq and Iran and Rumsfeld leaves after the arms for hostages scandal and is off to find the Project for the New American Century think tank. Forgets he helped sell some nuclear reactors to North Korea.
Then hes back in government again as SecDef. And again, we have problems with Iraq and Iran.

The point being there really is a military-industrial complex that isn’t necessarily all about pure profiteering. In exactly the terms St. Smedley Butler put them. It’s about racketeering. Controlling the territory without owning it. Exploiting it. Having sole rights to sell. And pimpin’ dem ho’s

That end of the government operates exactly like organized crime. And like organized crime the soldiers at the bottom have no idea what’s really going on up top. And neither does anyone else. And if they do, they get bought or killed. (We really should socialize the whole defense industry.)
But for some people, that’s their ideology. That’s what they believe. The American way of truth, justice, and the military-industrial complex is the right way.
That’s what disgusts me about Kyle. During war, he was doing his job serving the will of the American people. (Oh, the American people may be duped, suborned, or they may buy into it, but he was doing our will)

I have no issue with him doing it cold-bloodedly, in fact I prefer it. There may be surgeons who love or hate the cutting and the blood and the feel of the guts in their hands, but I’d rather have they guy who is all business.

But writing the book. No. And then starting up a contracting training site. I’d hazard a guess and say he learned nothing when he was there. But then, he was just a chief and hyper-specialized, so I doubt he learned anything but how to shoot better. Doubt he got the chance to even read for pleasure. He seems to have started expanding his soul a bit more when he got home. Maybe he would have gotten a little further on if he wasn’t killed. Seems to me he felt he couldn’t reach out. There are groups to help people deal with PTSD. Some people do respond to going to a shooting range as a reset or normal place. Safe.

On the other hand, reading the article, I couldn’t help but think the beer really wasn’t a help. Particularly at that ranch, where you train people to go to war. At some point you have to come home. Really home. If home is a shooting range, fine. But if it's a shooting range at a contractor training facility, yeah, you're still getting the smell of it. You're still getting the mixed signals from walking through stores looking at people debate over which bacon to buy and training to be under fire.
I don't think that would let Routh come home. And, frankly, I don't think that Kyle wanted to come all the way home either. Cut him slack for making money when he can, but he could have gone to be a public speaker or something. The Pritzker Military Library in Chicago has events all the time.
posted by Smedleyman at 7:28 PM on February 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow: It's probably the most ethical combat specialty.

Err, not really. It's a well-known and popular sniping technique to shoot the first target to disable, and then use the wounded man as bait to pick off his allies.
posted by Mitrovarr at 7:39 PM on February 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's well and good to discuss morality and responsibility and so on, but as someone whose little brother is Navy ROTC (with SEAL as an ultimate goal), I'd like to remind you all that these are real people, with real families - not just useful pawns to hold up in arguments about gun control and war and Halliburton and PTSD. I have some Issues with my brother's life goals, but he's my brother and I love him. Just like Eddie Routh's family does. Just like Chris Kyle's family does.
posted by ChuraChura at 8:07 PM on February 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


Wow. This thread is a mess.
posted by autobahn at 8:10 PM on February 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


[Ok, at this point having thoroughly explored them, let's drop the "why does the US fight wars" and "who was a war profiteer" derails.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:04 PM on February 5, 2013


Kafziel, did you read this comment?

This is all maybe part of why you need a trained professional not only to provide therapy but to guide it by assessing where the patient is at and what he is ready for. It isn't just "expose, expose, expose!" ==> "cure!"; there's a studied process to maximize chance of therapeutic gain and to protect both patient and therapist.

For the record I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with bringing someone with PTSD to a shooting range. My comparison to frostbite was largely based on the severity of Routh's condition. Yes, you eventually need to warm the affected area/desensitize but you must go about it carefully and gradually to avoid making the situation worse. I hope this clarifies things.
posted by MattMangels at 10:23 PM on February 5, 2013


What he did during the war was still heroic

Sniping alleged insurgents from a distance? Not that heroic and when done int he context of an illegal and illegitamite war, doubly unheroic.
posted by MartinWisse at 10:34 PM on February 5, 2013


This method of treating PTSD seems a lot like treating frostbite by immediately submerging the affected part of the body in piping hot water.

Actual medicine disagrees with you, but hey, that's never stopped people on the internet from making wild statements about PTSD before.


Does it? Yes, some people posted some sources saying that exposure therapy works in general, but did "actual medicine" specifically say that the best treatment for a man suffering from PTSD who made explicit threats to kill himself and his family was to give him a loaded firearm and send him and two others to a remote location to shoot said weapon? And should the fact that he used said firearm to kill two people have any affect on the credibility of any medical professionals who approved of this?
posted by dirigibleman at 12:29 AM on February 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


Palindromedary: "when all you have is a Marxist hammer, everything begins to look like a capitalist nail."

This is what that song is about, right? What's it called again? Oh yeah, Marx' Silver Hammer.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 12:41 AM on February 6, 2013


.
posted by Anything at 2:30 AM on February 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Gun ranges can either be indoors (like most people imagine from movies, etc) or outdoors. Sometimes the outdoors ones are pretty remote and the three of them could have easily been the only ones there. The shooter ran after he shot them, so the delay could have been how long the range was completely unoccupied before someone arrived and found the bodies.

That is how I heard the story. They were alone and the shooter ran. Their bodies weren't found until the next patron(s) of the range showed up and found them.

Desensitization is absolutely a legitimate and necessary part of PTSD recovery. That being true doesn't negate the fact that perhaps Kyle made a bad decision bringing this guy to a range. Tragedies like this are almost never black and white. They are the result of a string of decisions made for all kinds of reasons.

There are lots of discussions that can stem from this event. But right now, doesn't it seem kindest to just mourn the deaths of two guys who were trying to do the right thing, and have some empathy for the shooter who has very little positive to look forward to?
posted by gjc at 6:10 AM on February 6, 2013


There are lots of discussions that can stem from this event. But right now, doesn't it seem kindest to just mourn the deaths of two guys who were trying to do the right thing, and have some empathy for the shooter who has very little positive to look forward to?

Okay, but when does the mourning end? Because every time this happens, 2nd Amendment advocates tell us it's "not the right time to talk about it," and it just so happens that we can't talk about it the next time it happens, either. There have been almost 150 kids killed by gun violence since Newtown, which comes out to more than 3 kids every day. Who know how many veterans or parents or police officers have been killed? Unless the mourning period that gun owners keep telling us we should follow is measured in terms of minutes, then there will never, ever be a good time to talk about gun violence. Which, deliberately or not, is exactly how they want it, both here and in the country and world at large.

And you know what? Fuck that.

The galling hypocrisy of those who support the 2nd Amendment by de facto trumping the 1st, even if they won't come out and say it, is too much for me. I'm getting sick and tired of waiting for the gun owner-enforced terms of conversation and mourning periods for gun victims. We can't talk about it for a never-specified time after it happens, because it's still too raw and therefore we're unfeeling activist assholes, or because we're somehow defiling the memory of the innocent or heroes or upstanding citizens. We can't talk about it before it happens because we just don't know when it's going to happen and we're obviously instigating a fight. We can't talk about it during times of peace or low crime because it's "obviously" not a problem, and we can't talk about it during times of war or high crime because guns are "obviously" not the issue. We can't talk about actual crime statistics taken from the DOJ or CDC or any government organization because it's never coming from the "right" organization or because the government can't be trusted, yet we're supposed to take self-reported non-scientific surveys and clippings from the NRA website as gospel truth. We can't talk about mental health or PTSD or war or violent media without making sure that gun violence isn't the main topic of conversation, and often not a part of the conversation at all. For that matter, guns and gun violence must never be the chicken and always be the egg when we talk about violent media, despite the fact that they were around well before Rambo or Doom or NWA.

Fuck that, too. There are millions of us, majorities even, that want to talk about all that, and we don't want to hear about it never being the right time when those telling us refuse to ever allow a right time at all.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:03 AM on February 6, 2013 [16 favorites]


Whenever there's a news story about a rapper getting killed, someone who thinks rap is artless will jump in to snidely say "Hey, live by the sword..."

So I'm not gonna do that here.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 7:21 AM on February 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


That is how I heard the story. They were alone and the shooter ran. Their bodies weren't found until the next patron(s) of the range showed up and found them.

That at least makes a certain amount of sense. The article I link says, "Witnesses told sheriff's investigators that the gunman opened fire on the two men around 3:30 p.m." but didn't elaborate on what, exactly, that meant.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 7:24 AM on February 6, 2013


there will never, ever be a good time to talk about gun violence.

I don't think it's a question of timing, but rather of "time, place, and manner." (Since you mention the First Amendment...) There are many appropriate ways to discuss gun violence, gun culture, revising gun laws, etc., and I don't think those wider conversations are chilled unreasonably by not having them in the comments section of an article about one particular tragedy.

Offhand I can think of probably twenty different ways you could craft an FPP that would invite those discussions. Without straying too far into MetaTalk territory, I'll just say none of them would involve using a days-deceased person as "tinder." I see many ways to have the wider conversation without doing that. Now, MetaFilter's policies and the aforementioned First Amendment certainly allow you to make a different decision if you wish, but again, I don't think criticizing that decision is the same as shutting down all conversation everywhere.
posted by cribcage at 7:42 AM on February 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't think it's a question of timing, but rather of "time, place, and manner." (Since you mention the First Amendment...) There are many appropriate ways to discuss gun violence, gun culture, revising gun laws, etc., and I don't think those wider conversations are chilled unreasonably by not having them in the comments section of an article about one particular tragedy.

You seemed to have missed my point about the people who consider themselves arbiters of "time, place, and manner." And if we can't have the discussion during a review one particular tragedy, why not two? Why not a series? Why not avoid the discussion when any gun violence is ongoing?

For the victims of gun violence and those who want to minimize it, the discussion comes at their choosing. If people who want to refute them can't come up with a strict definition of what times, places and manners are acceptable, then they don't get to control the times, places, and manners where the discussion is held.

Offhand I can think of probably twenty different ways you could craft an FPP that would invite those discussions. Without straying too far into MetaTalk territory, I'll just say none of them would involve using a days-deceased person as "tinder." I see many ways to have the wider conversation without doing that.

And it's almost certain that 2nd Amendment advocates will come into the thread and accuse people of piggybacking off of Newtown, or the killings of Hadiya Pendleton or Rodrigo Abad Diaz or Charlie Poland or Chris Kyle or the other 1650+ people killed by guns since Newtown. We certainly saw the "won't you horrible gun control activists think of the children instead of spreading your propaganda!" BS pop up in the Newtown thread, and just like clockwork, we saw it here.

Again, the people attempting to control the conversation by suppressing it are doing it in every discussion, regardless of "tinder." They may not realize they're doing it, but appealing to emotional arguments regarding innocents or heroes (either as actual victims or potential when it comes to self-defense) whenever guns are brought up is their MO, and will continue to be their MO for the foreseeable future. It's past time people stop putting up with this shit.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:05 AM on February 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


You seemed to have missed my point about the people who consider themselves arbiters of "time, place, and manner."

No, I just don't find it useful to talk about abstract people or their hypothetical actions (eg, "it's almost certain that 2nd Amendment advocates will come into the thread," etc.). Part of your point appeared to be a narrower complaint about this thread, which did seem worth addressing.

If people who want to refute them can't come up with a strict definition of what times, places and manners are acceptable, then they don't get to control the times, places, and manners where the discussion is held.

Nobody gets to "control" much here except for Matt, Jessamyn, etc. That said, I don't agree with you that an objection to appropriateness must necessarily be paired with an alternative-fulfillment proposal. Either is valid on its own. To the larger point, if you disagree and think a news article about a particular tragedy is the perfect opportunity to talk about wider issues, well, you're entitled to that opinion and as you've seen in this thread, other folks share it. Which is probably my cue to apologize for this MeTa-y derail.
posted by cribcage at 8:30 AM on February 6, 2013


“Sniping alleged insurgents from a distance?”
Is that how sniper operations are conducted? Nothing to do with reconnaissance, surveillance and mapping or target confirmation or overwatch and suppressing groups actively firing on your troops, you just fire randomly at people you think are “insurgents” without precision, without regard of identification of threat or their value as a target. Hnh. I guess they’re doing it wrong.

“We can't talk about mental health or PTSD or war or violent media without making sure that gun violence isn't the main topic of conversation, and often not a part of the conversation at all.”
Apparently we can’t talk about mental health or PTSD without making gun violence the main topic of conversation.

“I'm getting sick and tired of waiting for the gun owner-enforced terms of conversation and mourning periods for gun victims.”

Why not show up at Kyle’s funeral with a sign that says “God hates Fags Guns” that’ll get some press. Seems to have worked for the Fred Phelps bunch.

Meanwhile, I think Keter had a thoughtful, relevant comment here (there were others of course, just this as a f'rinstance).

Wheras the “live by the sword” comments, tangential comments, aren’t as helpful or relevant to this particular discussion.
(as to that, since when? If that were remotely true Joe Stalin, and Franco, and Papa Doc Duvalier, Kim Il-Sung, Pinochet, Idi Amin, etc. wouldn’t have died of old age or natural causes. Kill thousands or millions and you get to die in bed I guess.)

How does the gun discussion help while discussing this particular story? That it’s too easy to get guns?
Well, Kyle would have them anyway. He was an arms instructor. So that’s about 98% of the broader social discussion gone.
Kyle spoke against gun control. Well, again, his job, so he wouldn’t be personally affected either way whether his ideas were cogent or looney.
And Routh would have had access to a firearm at that range whether they were more broadly illegal in the U.S. or not.
Even barring that, Routh was an armorer, so had he continued he would have been working with firearms all the time.

People with PTSD shouldn’t have guns? Routh had been hospitalized for mental illness so the funky law having a simple bureaucratic review wouldn’t apply. You’re not hospitalized for mental illness unless an actual doctor is involved. And he threatened his family, so there’s no real legal question there.

So, what precisely is the point there zombieflanders? Beyond using this tragedy as a soapbox to advance political views? (A case in which I wholeheartedly concede is used by the NRA, et.al. but the criticism itself remains, no?) Or gloating over their deaths as some kind of self-satisfying confirmation of one’s own bizarre world view where violent men always die by violence? (Although the killers by proxy get to die in bed. Strange that.)

Is the idea that Kyle was wrong on his gun control views because he was shot? Does it prove the Iraq war was wrong because he was shot?
Exactly how far afield is this supposed to go and still work?

There’s a post on Shokri Belaid, why aren’t people talking about guns there? The NRA?

I’m not going to argue gun control in Tunisia there because it’s not the topic, not because I’m trying to suppress talking about guns. And I don’t think anyone else is either.

Explain to me how would any gun control measure stop three individuals who’s job it is to be in direct contact with firearms from getting guns?

As far as I can tell Routh needed mental health support and help and he was pretty much shitcanned (like we’re more than happy to do with vets) and it fell to a couple of well-meaning but misguided guys to try to help him and they were killed.

I think if Routh had gotten competent and timely mental health care this could have been avoided. But whether because we blame vets for the war, or we hate socialized medicine, people aren’t getting the mental health help they need.
Overwhelmingly, most of the mentally ill get minimal health care, if any, until they wind up in the criminal justice system for whatever reason violent or otherwise. We seem to lay everything off on the criminal justice system. The answer is always pass more laws from the left or get tougher on criminals from the right.
Meanwhile, perhaps maybe address things before they get to the criminal justice system...?
That’s worth a genuine discussion.

What occurred here was a trainwreck. You want it? It’s all yours.
posted by Smedleyman at 9:05 AM on February 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Apparently we can’t talk about mental health or PTSD without making gun violence the main topic of conversation.

You're more than welcome to provide the many examples you're claiming are out there of discussions about mental health or PTSD unrelated to guns where it became the main topic of conversation.

Why not show up at Kyle’s funeral with a sign that says “God hates Fags Guns” that’ll get some press. Seems to have worked for the Fred Phelps bunch.

People talking about gun violence are equivalent to WBC protests? That's beyond the pale.

Wheras the “live by the sword” comments, tangential comments, aren’t as helpful or relevant to this particular discussion.

And which I never bothered discussing, because I'm not Ron Paul.

How does the gun discussion help while discussing this particular story? That it’s too easy to get guns?
Well, Kyle would have them anyway. He was an arms instructor. So that’s about 98% of the broader social discussion gone.
Kyle spoke against gun control. Well, again, his job, so he wouldn’t be personally affected either way whether his ideas were cogent or looney.


How does that work, exactly? This is what I mean when folks arbitrarily decide the terms of the conversation.

And Routh would have had access to a firearm at that range whether they were more broadly illegal in the U.S. or not.
Even barring that, Routh was an armorer, so had he continued he would have been working with firearms all the time.


Maybe he wouldn't have been allowed on the range or to continue being an armorer if there was stricter mental health standards as it pertains to access to guns.

People with PTSD shouldn’t have guns? Routh had been hospitalized for mental illness so the funky law having a simple bureaucratic review wouldn’t apply. You’re not hospitalized for mental illness unless an actual doctor is involved. And he threatened his family, so there’s no real legal question there.

Except that there is a great deal of legal leeway. If there wasn't, he wouldn't have been an armorer with easy access to guns.

So, what precisely is the point there zombieflanders? Beyond using this tragedy as a soapbox to advance political views? (A case in which I wholeheartedly concede is used by the NRA, et.al. but the criticism itself remains, no?) Or gloating over their deaths as some kind of self-satisfying confirmation of one’s own bizarre world view where violent men always die by violence? (Although the killers by proxy get to die in bed. Strange that.)

Just mentioning gun control gets lumped in with other people's "chickens come home to roost" and alleged gloating? If you're going to conflate an argument that I never made and an action that I never took with a simple point that I did make, you're only providing further examples of how the discussion gets manipulated.

Explain to me how would any gun control measure stop three individuals who’s job it is to be in direct contact with firearms from getting guns?

You're kidding me, right? If not, it's easy: they would not allow the individual (since we're really only talking about the antagonist here) with the blatantly violent mental history near weapons made exclusively for violence.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:33 AM on February 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


Here we seem to have....
1. How War Sometimes Will Fuck Up Your Head: Yes
2. 2nd Amendment Issues: No.
3. Some Lunatic Killing School Children: No.
4. How War is Big Busines: No.

I understand well how an analogy can draw certain parallels up for a discussion. Sometimes, though, it's good to remember that, when you are trying to understand something that you can see only from your side of the looking glass, that thing is always backwards from the way it appears in your world.

As for point #1 in this list, I wasn't referring to just the military folks who have taken a human life. Watching your country at war is not a casual thing, even if you get commercial breaks. For those who try to (more closely) relate: when was the last time you meditated on the difference between murder and a proper kill? Do you understand that, in combat, you don't always need to have the enemy point his weapon at you before you kill him? (In civilian life, that would be one of the several legal flavors of murder.) Most of us never need to carry that weight. Please realize that I'm not trying to wrap the "you hadda been there" argument around my position. My argument is that this plot has bones other than those formed by revulsion of violence.

Admit that our country has use for a military force (don't admit to the use to which it's now being applied), then admit the necessity of a kid who will stand (in your stead) on the wall. He will make the day-to-day decisions about when he'll pull the trigger, but he doesn't get to pick the war. He'll also be the one who holds the bloody hand of his comrade, and know that his face is the last thing his friend saw before he died.

Don't like that? Fine. Talk to his boss about it. But when he goes out to do his job, it's your duty to distinguish between just en bello and jus ad bellum.

To me, this brings up the issue of what do you do when the tool gets broken? Apply this to policemen as well as soldiers; sometimes medics and firemen have issues that are disturbingly similar to those faced by soldiers. (generic soldiers: Marines, pilots, and so on)
posted by mule98J at 10:01 AM on February 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


You're more than welcome to provide the many examples you're claiming
Um, Keter? Right up there? I cited it? kamikazegopher, I'd like to hear more from him. Plenty of others.

How does that work, exactly? This is what I mean when folks arbitrarily decide the terms of the conversation.

Well, you would put forth a specific comment. Such as - guns facilitated Chris Kyle's death here. That's bad.
I would reply, yes. Also PTSD is bad. And we would have a discussion. This is you talking about other people talking about not talking about gun control.

Maybe he wouldn't have been allowed on the range or to continue being an armorer if there was stricter mental health standards as it pertains to access to guns.
Well, yeah. That's sort of the point. But regardless of guns being involved. If he had mental health support he would have been less dangerous. It would have been helpful all around.
It would be better if vets had support when they left war zones and were discharged.

"Just mentioning gun control gets lumped in with other people's "chickens come home to roost" and alleged gloating? If you're going to conflate an argument that I never made... "
It was indeed Ron Paul who said "die by the sword" and who I was referencing.
Plenty of examples of gloating above that don't involve you.
I am arguing your point that in this particular thread, in this particular topic the issue is about suppression of arguments about gun violence.
I think it's a less useful tangent than discussions of veteran's services, PTSD or mental health in general. And I think that's obvious from the structure of this event. In the same way the Shokri Belaid post, while involving firearms, has other issues that are closer to the issue.
That's all.

Except that there is a great deal of legal leeway. If there wasn't, he wouldn't have been an armorer with easy access to guns.

You get licenses to work with firearms. You get licenses to instruct military and law enforcement in shooting. These are some of the most stringent certifications it's possible to have. Kyle had them.
Dude, you're just arguing. Give it up. It's unreasonable and I'm defeating my own purpose wasting the space (and indeed, defeating my own '1/2 shit' assertion).
So mail me if you want to talk about it.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:01 AM on February 6, 2013


Um, Keter? Right up there? I cited it? kamikazegopher, I'd like to hear more from him. Plenty of others.

He was talking about both PTSD and mental health in a case that involved gun violence. I'm asking you to support your assertion that we can't talk about PTSD and/or mental health in cases unrelated to gun violence without bringing gun violence up.

Well, you would put forth a specific comment. Such as - guns facilitated Chris Kyle's death here. That's bad.

Apart from the fact that, technically, they did facilitate Kyle's death because of their designed use, the broader point is that this was an intersection of guns and mental health. I don't know how many times I have to tell you that perhaps tying this man's mental health status to his interactions with guns would have an extremely high probability of stopping this from happening. It doesn't matter if the interaction was at a personal level with him, or with the people who allowed him access to guns after medical and legal problems, or with the people that ran the range, or with Chris Kyle. At some point in that long and troubled chain, gun control laws that address those with mental health issues would have had an effect.

I would reply, yes. Also PTSD is bad. And we would have a discussion. This is you talking about other people talking about not talking about gun control.

Well, you're asking us to divorce gun control from the conversation, specifically that no matter what gun control had been passed it wouldn't have made a difference. This, despite the fact that the stated focus of a lot of the gun control talk has been on the aforementioned intersection of guns and mental health, and that I started this conversation pointing out that 2nd Amendment advocates--at least the ones with power in the political and media arenas--are loudly and repeatedly telling us roughly the same thing as you are: separate gun control talk from mental health talk because we don't believe they should be linked.

Well, yeah. That's sort of the point. But regardless of guns being involved. If he had mental health support he would have been less dangerous. It would have been helpful all around.
It would be better if vets had support when they left war zones and were discharged.


I'm not arguing that with you on that, since it's a point of agreement. But said mental health support that would have made him less dangerous would have worked very well in concert with control over his access to guns, "regardless" doesn't even come into it.

I am arguing your point that in this particular thread, in this particular topic the issue is about suppression of arguments about gun violence.
I think it's a less useful tangent than discussions of veteran's services, PTSD or mental health in general. And I think that's obvious from the structure of this event. In the same way the Shokri Belaid post, while involving firearms, has other issues that are closer to the issue.


And my argument is that the suppression will always be that it's a "less useful tangent" or that "now's not the time, let people grieve" or "why must you people have an agenda" or any of a number of ways to delay or deflect the discussion from ever happening it all. It might not be something you're doing consciously, but it is happening. It's happening on Metafilter and many online communities around the country and the world. It's happening on TV and the radio and in papers and magazines. It's happening in watercooler conversations and family reunions. And those delays and deflections are a very big problem that needs to be addressed.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:35 AM on February 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


I like the God Hates Guns signs concept.
posted by humanfont at 4:41 PM on February 6, 2013


Anybody that has used the concept of 'real medicine' in this thread, on either side, is actually part of the problem.

Behavioral health is not like Cardiology or Surgery or Family Medicine or any other type of medical anything. A surgeon goes into the operating room knowing where the liver is, where the kidney is, and how the two are connected. A cardiologist knows knows everything there is to know about the human heart and has a very good idea of what you will see if you open the ribcage or prescribe a particular med to a patient with a specific list of symptoms. But a psychologist/psychiatrist is essentially going in blind, not knowing if they're operating on a head or a foot or a heart, not knowing if that part of the body can be saved or if a particular med will make it better or worse. Not knowing if flipping this switch will make them pay attention better in class, or run down to the nearest elementary school and shoot dozens of people.

The last person that tried to codify psychiatry into consistent buckets was Freud, and look how great that turned out.

Hell, even neuroscience has mapped parts of the brain that control emotion, but nobody has ever been able to figure out what in the brain determines your favorite color, or which songs you'll like, or whether you prefer modern architecture or colonial.

Can you imagine being responsible for the care of a patient who is having their tonsils removed or is coming in for a flu shot or something equally mundane, only to find out that your patient went berserk because he saw a triangle on the wallpaper, or couldn't physically sign their name because of the color of your shirt, or won't stop crying because the way you wear your hair reminds them of a child of theirs that died/got sick/never existed.

If you think there is a 'standard' treatment for that sort of thing then you're just plain nuts.
posted by Blue_Villain at 11:14 PM on February 6, 2013


Here we seem to have....
1. How War Sometimes Will Fuck Up Your Head: Yes
2. 2nd Amendment Issues: No.


I don't think #2 is true. If there were no 2nd Amendment, it's possible we could pass laws like Japan's that require extensive yearly evaluations for gun owners, who were only allowed to use them for hunting in specific places and times, etc.

Shooting ranges like the one at issue might not even exist. You cannot separate the 2nd Amendment from any gun issue. All guns should be illegal, imo, for police as well as citizens. The 2nd Amendment makes that impossible, from what I see.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:23 AM on February 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


*sigh* No mail. Sorry.

I'm asking you to support your assertion that we can't talk about PTSD and/or mental health in cases unrelated to gun violence without bringing gun violence up.

Not "can't" just "less relevant" to talk about gun control in this specific instance. Not gun violence and certainly not mental health which would have been a better exploration.

One example of relevance vs. the stand alone fact of gun violence: The Tunisia thread has gun violence. Think it would be more relevant to talk about gun control there or the political situation? Which do you think applies better?


I don't know how many times I have to tell you that perhaps tying this man's mental health status to his interactions with guns would have an extremely high probability of stopping this from happening.

I don't know how many times I have to tell you I agree with that. Except it doesn't apply specifically to this particular instance.

"I started this conversation pointing out that 2nd Amendment advocates--at least the ones with power in the political and media arenas--are loudly and repeatedly telling us roughly the same thing as you are: separate gun control talk from mental health talk because we don't believe they should be linked."

I think gun control talk and mental health talk should be talked about at the same time. In this case there's no question Routh should not have had access to guns. He was hospitalized by a psychiatrist. He had been arrested for threatening violence. No way should he have personally possessed a firearm.

Except there is no law that could possibly have prevented that at the point where the shooting took place because he was given access by someone else.

"But said mental health support that would have made him less dangerous would have worked very well in concert with control over his access to guns, "regardless" doesn't even come into it."


Sounds like you're saying the only reason vets, et.al. should get mental health support is because they might have access to guns or be dangerous? Or we should use potential violence as an indicator?

I think we should have a comprehensive mental health support system - regardless - of whether someone has or potentially has access to guns or may be dangerous. That's where "regardless" comes into it.

Otherwise we - again - have to rely on the justice system to clean up our negligence.
Maybe I'm not smart enough to make my point more clear. But I think you're reading some things into my comments that just aren't there.

"I have to tell you that perhaps tying this man's mental health status to his interactions with guns would have an extremely high probability of stopping this from happening."

Um - yes? Exactly what I'm saying. So why not talk about that, here, given it's directly related to the event itself, instead of the NRA suppressing the larger conversation on gun control?
It's not like there's not room for exploration there.
With the exception that - his interactions with the firearms in this specific event is a non-issue.
Kyle was a combat arms instructor. On private property. Miles away from any law enforcement or oversight authority. He himself was in effect the authority. It's staggeringly hard to get that kind of certification. It's like playing chess at a high competitive level. We all sort of know each other by name and reputation even if we haven't met even if they're civilian contractors. You have to be around a lot of law enforcement for a lot of the time civilian or not, military or not.

So, what I'm saying, is there is no analogous situation in any debate on civilian gun control that can address this.

The only thing that comes close would be if a police officer handed his sidearm to a person to shoot at a private gun range.
Precisely what law is going to stop him before the fact?
Who is going to tell Chris Kyle he doesn't know how to properly handle firearms?

If there's one place his expertise is uncontested....
By the same token, clearly his expertise was not mental health.

So - mental health support would have at least perhaps informed Kyle or kept Routh hospitalized, and better avoided the situation, than any gun law possibly could.


"Well, you're asking us to divorce gun control from the conversation, specifically that no matter what gun control had been passed it wouldn't have made a difference."

Unless we disarm police officers, contractors, and the military itself.

Perhaps if we pass enough gun control laws we can stop war?
Your position makes about as much sense as it applies to this event.


And my argument is that the suppression will always be that it's a "less useful tangent" or that "now's not the time, let people grieve" or "why must you people have an agenda" or any of a number of ways to delay or deflect the discussion from ever happening it all.


Correlation does not imply causation.
Unquestionably it's happening socially. But for all the reasons outlined above, that discussion doesn't apply to this particular case. That doesn't mean the argument itself is contested. Just means it's less useful. As discussing gun control would be in the thread about the assassination in Tunisia.

I mean it's not possible to show any way gun control law could have affected this because of Kyle's privileged position and the circumstances of the shooting.
If it were three other non-certified combat arms instructors at a shooting range under other conditions - solid. Here, no. It's simply not true.
It being not true doesn't deny your assertion. It merely renders it moot.

Look. Here's an example of gun violence: Gunman carrying Chick-fil-A

What's relevant there? Just gun law? Think there might be some reason to talk about gay rights, social oppression in general, DOMA law and plenty of other things before we get to gun control?
I think so.
Why isn't there an FPP on it? I have no idea. I'm fairly ambivalent. But in that hypothetical thread, if I came in and demanded we talk about gun control and only gun control and I was being oppressed if we didn't talk about gun control right now, most people would think I was being a dick.
Again, because there is so much about that situation that can bear a fruitful, interesting discussion (the discussion of the Family Research Council and it's classification as a hate crime group and that social impact, the potential responses, etc. etc.) beyond that it was done with a firearm.

"It's happening on Metafilter and many online communities around the country and the world."
Complain to the mods. I have a long history of opposing any deletion of comment. That said, I think a certain level of reasonable rhetoric should be maintained. And if someone is going too far afield, I think they should be reality checked. Here, I think the discussion devolved into something less useful.

"It's happening on TV and the radio and in papers and magazines. It's happening in watercooler conversations and family reunions. And those delays and deflections are a very big problem that needs to be addressed."

But why in this thread and not the Tunisia thread? Why not in the myriad number of threads on exactly the topic of gun control? Why not create an FPP about it?

The simple fact of the matter here is no matter what gun control laws we had in place there's nothing that could have stopped this before the fact.

While there is plenty that proper mental health support could have done to prevent it. And I think that would have been a good - dare I say better? - conversation.
Regardless of all other considerations.

Now I apologize for the misunderstanding my hyperbole caused, but that's predicated on the assumption that you'll take lightly what I mean lightly. On the one hand I think your reason has been clouded by your frustration. On the other, jabs impede discourse all around.
I take offense at the comments - not yours, but in the same vein as you addressing the broader social sphere, I do too - regarding vets as murderers who get what's coming to them (it's not just "illegal wars" watch "Best Years of Our Lives." Hell, been that way since the bonus marches, or even before, Washington and Shays) and the crazed vet stereotype and the utter disregard for support of returning veterans.

And here, I would argue, that disregard was concrete in the vitriol and in the disregard of the topic of care for veterans in favor of other discussions including gun control.
And indeed, that pisses me the fuck off too. So recognize that I am not singling you out as "the angry poster" here but derogating the fury in general as, in part, an attempt to control my own.
That is all gentlemen.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:52 AM on February 7, 2013


But why in this thread and not the Tunisia thread?

Americans are the majority of the site, they want to talk about their own laws because they have a direct impact on their lives.

The only thing that comes close would be if a police officer handed his sidearm to a person to shoot at a private gun range.
Precisely what law is going to stop him before the fact?


A law that prohibits him from doing that. It will have exactly the same deterrent effect as any other prohibition. That we can't stop everything doesn't mean we don't make the attempt.
posted by Drinky Die at 11:03 AM on February 7, 2013


A law that prohibits him from doing that.
Seriously, am I that terrible a communicator?
There are laws against police not dealing drugs or being corrupt. Those don't literally stop police from doing so.
There's no argument in making the attempt. The argument here is what would have worked.
A law against - what, Kyle having a gun? Kyle irresponsibly handing his gun to someone else? A law against murder?
Kyle would have a gun regardless of any law. Routh would have gotten a gun put in his hands by Kyle regardless of any law saying Routh can't have one. Kyle can. Kyle was the authority equivalent to a cop as far as handling firearms are concerned. More, in fact.

Recognize that this was a catastrophic failure. There are laws against suicide. Can you think of a penalty that would affect suicides after they blow their brains out?
Now clearly, in those cases, one can argue gun control. But if a cop sits at a table and blows his head off - what's the legal scenario?
Pass a gun law that says cops can't use their sidearms to kill themselves?

No, fund mental health support.
There are groups, etc. for that, but not enough support. Ever heard of cumulative PTSD? There have been suggestions that police officers visit a licensed therapist at least once a year for checkups like having a physical.

Guess how well funding for that is doing?

Hell, in my state they filed 8 of 17 positions for health care for kids who are severely disturbed. That's the detention centers. And more is being spent on that - the criminal justice system and the law - than on treatment facilities. We cut $187 million from the budget (for '09-'12) for mental health services.

Treatment needs to be funded before laws are passed putting greater burdens on the justice system.
Better coordination of mental health services with policing agencies would be good too.

You want to keep kicking righties in the face, hey, the GOP reps who shill for the gun lobby have consistently argued for cuts to mental health system.
But regardless, police now are being forced to deal with the breaks caused by the failures in the mental health care system.

This case I think is a perfect example of the failure of mental health care in our country, the failure of people being trained in how to deal with it, the failure to support veterans diagnosed with PTSD, the ignorance in general of how to deal with folks with a mental illness.
But fuck the vets. If it weren't for them we wouldn't have guns in the first place, amirite?
posted by Smedleyman at 11:37 AM on February 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


There is nothing to stop me from buying a beer and handing it to a 18 year old. I personally think the drinking age should be lowered to 18, after all. I don't do it because it is illegal and I would face strict penalties if caught. I don't think we should repeal this law just because some people might break it because there is a real deterrent there. If Kyle was scared of legal consequences for what he did, it is perfectly possible he would not have done so.
posted by Drinky Die at 11:44 AM on February 7, 2013


Not "can't" just "less relevant" to talk about gun control in this specific instance. Not gun violence and certainly not mental health which would have been a better exploration.

I'm not sure if you're misunderstanding here, or being deliberately obtuse. I'm asking you to provide evidence that, in multiple threads here that deal just with PTSD or mental health, the discussion always turns to gun control. Any thread, really.

One example of relevance vs. the stand alone fact of gun violence: The Tunisia thread has gun violence. Think it would be more relevant to talk about gun control there or the political situation? Which do you think applies better?

So deliberately obtuse, then. After all, we're discussing a situation that involves the specific intersection of mental health, PTSD, and gun violence in the US.

I don't know how many times I have to tell you I agree with that. Except it doesn't apply specifically to this particular instance.

So just to make sure, you actually believe that if we were to have laws regarding mental health and/or legal issues and gun violence that would flag someone as the kind of guy you shouldn't allow near firearms, that it wouldn't have stopped a guy with mental health issues and legal issues from going to a place full of firearms and committing a crime?

I don't see how that follows, unless we're just letting random people into firing ranges and allowing them to handle weapons with live ammunition, no questions asked, no training, no quick check, nothing. To me that's a separate and possibly far more worrisome problem with the laws and to a certain extent, gun culture.

I think gun control talk and mental health talk should be talked about at the same time. In this case there's no question Routh should not have had access to guns. He was hospitalized by a psychiatrist. He had been arrested for threatening violence. No way should he have personally possessed a firearm..

Except there is no law that could possibly have prevented that at the point where the shooting took place because he was given access by someone else.


And you don't see that as a problem? You think that it's fine for someone to just walk into places with firearms and shoot? That the very concept of checking to see if somebody has been flagged for mental or legal issues--something part of practically every executive action and legislative proposal--is and should be physically and legally impossible?

Sounds like you're saying the only reason vets, et.al. should get mental health support is because they might have access to guns or be dangerous? Or we should use potential violence as an indicator?

No.

I think we should have a comprehensive mental health support system - regardless - of whether someone has or potentially has access to guns or may be dangerous. That's where "regardless" comes into it.

Again, you're trying to divorce mental health support from gun violence. Yes, comprehensive mental health support systems are key, but they must be used in concert with other tools, whether its for drug enforcement, gun access, or other issues such as access to children.

Um - yes? Exactly what I'm saying. So why not talk about that, here, given it's directly related to the event itself, instead of the NRA suppressing the larger conversation on gun control?
It's not like there's not room for exploration there.
With the exception that - his interactions with the firearms in this specific event is a non-issue.


No, it's exactly the issue.

Kyle was a combat arms instructor. On private property. Miles away from any law enforcement or oversight authority. He himself was in effect the authority. It's staggeringly hard to get that kind of certification. It's like playing chess at a high competitive level. We all sort of know each other by name and reputation even if we haven't met even if they're civilian contractors. You have to be around a lot of law enforcement for a lot of the time civilian or not, military or not.

This doesn't make any itneractions with firearms in this event a non-issue whatsoever. If anything, it's a staggeringly large gap in enforcement that should be closed ASAP. People are literally being handed weapons without any sort of mental health training or oversight on either side. That's appalling.

Complain to the mods. I have a long history of opposing any deletion of comment. That said, I think a certain level of reasonable rhetoric should be maintained. And if someone is going too far afield, I think they should be reality checked. Here, I think the discussion devolved into something less useful.

If there's one place his expertise is uncontested....
By the same token, clearly his expertise was not mental health.

So - mental health support would have at least perhaps informed Kyle or kept Routh hospitalized, and better avoided the situation, than any gun law possibly could.


Apart from a gun law that would have stopped Routh from having access to the guns at all, for instance by being flagged in a database that the range owner would have access to, and would be responsible for if he waived the check.

Unless we disarm police officers, contractors, and the military itself.

Perhaps if we pass enough gun control laws we can stop war?
Your position makes about as much sense as it applies to this event.


I'm pretty sure discounting gun laws entirely even though there's a potential solution already proposed many times makes a whole lot less sense.

Unquestionably it's happening socially. But for all the reasons outlined above, that discussion doesn't apply to this particular case. That doesn't mean the argument itself is contested. Just means it's less useful. As discussing gun control would be in the thread about the assassination in Tunisia.

You haven't outlined any applicable reasons, just avoiding the topic. The constant derails about Tunisia are just wierd.

I mean it's not possible to show any way gun control law could have affected this because of Kyle's privileged position and the circumstances of the shooting.
If it were three other non-certified combat arms instructors at a shooting range under other conditions - solid. Here, no. It's simply not true.
It being not true doesn't deny your assertion. It merely renders it moot.


I've shown you multiple times what kind of gun laws could have affected this. The only one rendering it moot is you, For Reasons.

Look. Here's an example of gun violence: Gunman carrying Chick-fil-A

What's relevant there? Just gun law? Think there might be some reason to talk about gay rights, social oppression in general, DOMA law and plenty of other things before we get to gun control?
I think so.
Why isn't there an FPP on it? I have no idea. I'm fairly ambivalent. But in that hypothetical thread, if I came in and demanded we talk about gun control and only gun control and I was being oppressed if we didn't talk about gun control right now, most people would think I was being a dick.
Again, because there is so much about that situation that can bear a fruitful, interesting discussion (the discussion of the Family Research Council and it's classification as a hate crime group and that social impact, the potential responses, etc. etc.) beyond that it was done with a firearm.


Not only was there a FPP about it, but it got as far as the second comment before concern about gun violence came up, followed by many other comments that also specifically mentioned poster's concerns about their problems with increasing gun violence.

The simple fact of the matter here is no matter what gun control laws we had in place there's nothing that could have stopped this before the fact.

That's not a fact, that's an opinion based on absolutely nothing but personal feelings.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:17 PM on February 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Guilt, Not PTSD, Is What Afflicts Iraq War Veterans
posted by telstar at 2:30 PM on February 7, 2013


Guilt, Not PTSD, Is What Afflicts Iraq War Veterans

or: Soldiers are suffering from exactly what will bolster my argument because I say so. I mean, come on, I checked with a priest as to whether these people are suffering from mass guilt.
posted by bfranklin at 4:59 PM on February 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


“If Kyle was scared of legal consequences for what he did, it is perfectly possible he would not have done so.”

If he was better informed of how to help someone with mental health issues, I think it would have been more likely he wouldn’t have.

But regardless, at some point the law on the books becomes the law that someone must enforce. Who would have enforced that hypothetical law – or expect to have to - at a private gun range where duly certified individuals were handling them?

Who’s going to bring him in in the first place, the police he trained or his buddy the local constable? (Clint Burgess – do you guys actually RTFAs?)

Someone like Kyle isn't going to be scared of legal consequences, he's got far and above the average level of background checks, licensing, etc. etc.

Can we at least agree at some point law is about practical human judgement? He's trusted to train police officers on firearm usage. Why would those police officers have any reason to suspect he's doing something improper with firearms? Even given the law.

Can we agree as a general rule cops don't get speeding tickets from other cops, no matter how clearly the law is written?

I hope that makes this particular situation more plain.

“I'm asking you to provide evidence that, in multiple threads here that deal just with PTSD or mental health, the discussion always turns to gun control.”

Again, hyperbolic comment. “Always” or “never” not very useful. I was parodying your assertion that there is always suppression of talking about gun control, as I think it doesn’t apply here.

“So deliberately obtuse, then. After all, we're discussing a situation that involves the specific intersection of mental health, PTSD, and gun violence in the US.”

From what I understood of your comments, you wanted to discuss suppression of gun control arguments. If you think this involves mental health, PTSD and gun violence, I don’t think you’re discussing any of those topics in a productive manner. That’s my criticism. Pretty much my sole criticism. Other than, again, I think you're angry and that's coloring your view.
Don't know if that's much of a criticism if I hit myself with it too. You sound pretty pissed off to me. Although I'm in some pain and jetlagged so maybe I am more off kilter. *shrug* If you want me to take the blame I will. I'm commenting against my better judgement. So I should know better.


“So just to make sure, you actually believe that if we were to have laws regarding mental health and/or legal issues and gun violence that would flag someone as the kind of guy you shouldn't allow near firearms, that it wouldn't have stopped a guy with mental health issues and legal issues from going to a place full of firearms and committing a crime?”


I think you misunderstand or haven’t read what occurred here. Routh was brought to a place full of firearms - to the shooting range - as part of ersatz treatment for Routh's post-traumatic stress disorder.

Now I disagree in the abstract that firearm training is completely wrong in all cases for helping vets deal with PTSD, but
A. I wouldn’t argue it because all the data I have is anecdotal and
B. whatever the efficacy in theory or in other places, it obviously catastrophically failed here
.
But that goes to the core point – Kyle and Littlefield brought Routh to the range. To help him deal with his PTSD.

If we can’t agree on the stated facts, or rather, if you can't see the difference between a disagreement and my correcting you where you’re simply in factual error about what occurred, we’re not going to be able to reach any kind of understanding. Can you give me the benefit of the doubt that I'm not being obtuse?

“So just to make sure, you actually believe that if we were to have laws regarding mental health and/or legal issues and gun violence that would flag someone as the kind of guy you shouldn't allow near firearms, that it wouldn't have stopped a guy with mental health issues and legal issues…”


No, you’re completely wrong about what I believe. I believe that if there were laws that would flag someone as the kind of guy you shouldn’t allow near firearms it’s likely Kyle would have taken Routh to the range anyway.
I believe that if there were laws – laws - for lack of a better word since you don’t seem to understand where mandates for expanded mental health care would come from – regarding mental health that would flag – again for lack of a better word – someone as the kind of guy you shouldn’t allow – for lack of a better word – near firearms it’s much more likely Kyle wouldn’t have taken Routh to the range because
A. Routh’s family wouldn’t have been desperate enough to ask him in the first place because he would have gotten the care – care- which is an excellent word – he needed.
B. Kyle would have been better informed, in all likelihood having gone through the program himself.
C. Trips to the range in general would be less common as the entire context for care would change as a result of more mental health care support.
D. had Routh gotten support he probably wouldn’t have gotten into drinking more and would probably have had a job and as a result wouldn’t have had time to go to the range.

I can go on, but it’s a matter of using an oar vs. using a straw. A broad based mental health care – law – for lack of a better word – would do more practical good than attempting to keep a gun out of the hands of a guy who trains police officers how to shoot at an exclusive shooting range where military, law enforcement, etc. train.

“And you don't see that as a problem? You think that it's fine for someone to just walk into places with firearms and shoot?”


Again, did you read any of the piece at all? Anything related to the case? Are you even vaguely aware that Routh did not have license to carry?
Is there any solid material fact that I can reveal that can even marginally assuage you that this particular shooting is not at all like some random civilian guy with a gun?

“Again, you're trying to divorce mental health support from gun violence. Yes, comprehensive mental health support systems are key, but they must be used in concert with other tools, whether its for drug enforcement, gun access, or other issues such as access to children.”

So, where is it I’m supposed to not be agreeing with that as a general statement?

“If anything, it's a staggeringly large gap in enforcement that should be closed ASAP. People are literally being handed weapons without any sort of mental health training or oversight on either side. That's appalling.”

Uh, yeah? I think so too. It’d be nice if they, y’know, maybe weren’t left to out in the cold. It’d be nice if the Routh family had a psychiatrist or something where there was some support instead of having to depend on Kyle. It'd be nice if religion and beer and Iron John toughing it out weren't the only methods of compassion shown to men with mental health issues. It'd be nice if people stopped blaming wars on the guys sent to fight and die them while they kept reelecting the same politicians and practicing denial.
All things I find appalling.

“That's not a fact, that's an opinion based on absolutely nothing but personal feelings.”

Ok, I feeeel, based on going through the certification process myself, training people how to use firearms, observing the laws and enforcement procedures for years at a variety of training facilities, it is my wild random gut feeling, that a gun control law that applies to civilian licensing would not have affected a certified professional combat arms instructor. Years of experience and direct applied practical knowledge means I’m just pulling that out of my ass the way Judges simply feel someone is guilty. It’s not an informed opinion of any kind.

It’s impractical in the enforcement – in this particular, singular in many ways, case.

If you’re asserting generally that if there was a law against having anyone who’s been institutionalized from being around a gun for “x” period it would stop the general public from letting those people handle their firearms - I agree.

Again, that’s why this is a non-issue. It’s blown up into this crap. Really, I should just write it off. But I am perhaps both too pugnacious and too genuinely interested in mutual understanding and enlightenment.
Oh, doesn’t mean I’m succeeding either way. But y’know. I actually want to inform you, despite your assertions to the contrary.

“Apart from a gun law that would have stopped Routh from having access to the guns at all….”

Look, I’ll try to make it more clear: Let's pretend massive gun control legislation is passed in the U.S. twenty minutes ago.
No one but a sworn officer, other kinds of law enforcement personnel, agents, etc. or active duty military can ever have a gun of any kind. No one with mental health problems can legally be anywhere near a gun.
A retired police officer is having mental health problems. His wife informally asks two active but off duty cops to talk to him to help him out. They take him to the police department gun range where they are used to being as a familiar setting so they can break the ice, talk, etc.
One of the police officers is a firearms instructor, the other is the rangemaster. So they can requisition time at the range whenever they want. They go to the armory. Select some weapons to train with and go to the range with target ammo.
The retiree takes some shots then shoots both of them dead.

Do you at all see the practical problem where the people who are supposed to be enforcing the law make exceptions?
Are you not at all familiar with the blue code of silence, as a practical reality – however appalling we find it?
Beyond that, Kyle, anyone else licensed and certified – granted moreso with people sworn – are protected by the general assumption, the benefit of the doubt, that they’re acting lawfully in doing their day to day routine.
Kyle taking someone to the range is a day to day routine. Who checks people out on the range? Kyle. Who's the instructor? Kyle. Who's the authority there? Kyle. You, hopefully, get the idea.

The failure here – however well meaning he might have been – is completely the fault of the health care system and completely Kyle’s fault as an error in judgement.
Much as it would be for the two cops in the scenario above – regardless of written law.
The law regarding Kyle's trustworthiness with firearms are as stringent as can be written. He was as checked out legally with firearms as he could possibly be. But he was not a mental health practitioner.

And he paid the price for his error.

Who indicts the system that let the Routh family down?

Are we supposed to tell them that their kid would have been fine if only there were better gun laws? He could have gone on drinking, been unemployed, depressed, tear the hearts out of the people who loved him watching him self-destruct, maybe thrown himself or someone else in front of a train in another week, but hell, at least he didn't kill himself with a gun.
No, I think mental health support would have prevented more than just the gun violence.
I think you do too. And I think that would have been more productive to talk about than crap we have been.

“Not only was there a FPP about it, but it got as far as the second comment before concern about gun violence came up…”

Yep. My mistake.
I know you’re not getting the Tunisia thing. But you certainly seem to be happy to conflate “gun violence” with “gun control” and then play “mental health/and or law” – rhetorical games. I assure you I’m in earnest. I’m merely human. I make mistakes. And writing clarity is not my forte. Doesn’t mean I’m not working at it or I'm deliberately being obtuse.

The point about Tunisia or the Chick-fil-A thing – there are threads – and here’s one right here feel free to expound there to your hearts content. – where talking about gun control as it concerns Americans in general, is more to the point than this one is.

Not gun violence. Not “or mental health, maybe PTSD” Just gun control as it applies generally, is less to the point on this particular event.
And your point about gun control not being talked about where it should be.

That’s it. And it's irritating because I am a vet. And I know people who have PTSD. And I'd like to talk about that experience because I have some real things to say but it gets sidetracked with this shit.

Much like the "Guilt, Not PTSD, Is What Afflicts Iraq War Veterans" seems to further piss on the issue of getting people with PTSD some health care in the thread.
Can you see how that might could piss me off sweetheart?

Do I think gun control should have been talked about in the Newtown thread? Absolutely. In the Chic-fil-a thread, yes. In the shadow of the gun thread. Of course.
In this one? No, I think the issues of mental health care, PTSD, etc. are more relevant.

Is there some way I can better clarify that? I'd rather talk about PTSD and vets and how that leads to gun violence than gun control in America in general when two vets are killed by another vet with PTSD. I think that's more the topic in this particular instance.
You, and others, brought in a train load of other stuff.
I criticize that.
Simple as that. No other point to be made that isn't digression.
posted by Smedleyman at 7:55 PM on February 7, 2013


If he was better informed of how to help someone with mental health issues, I think it would have been more likely he wouldn’t have.

Yes, and if we trained everyone as drug and alcohol counselors they probably wouldn't give beers to underage people. Instead, we just tell them their legal obligations because we can't actually train everyone to be mental health professionals.

Who’s going to bring him in in the first place

Police officers.
posted by Drinky Die at 9:45 PM on February 7, 2013


"Who’s going to bring him in in the first place"
'Police officers.'


So R'ingTFA is pretty much a non-issue then. 'Kay.
posted by Smedleyman at 7:50 AM on February 8, 2013


Please do not (again) confuse me disagreeing with you with not reading.
posted by Drinky Die at 3:15 PM on February 8, 2013


“Please do not (again) confuse me disagreeing with you with not reading.”

I was doing you the courtesy of assuming you had a clear understanding of the difference of our positions.

I assumed you did not know Routh had been brought to the private range by Kyle or that Kyle knows and has worked with law enforcement because it doesn’t sound like you know.
Let me flip it over away from a purely gun control law. Which, again, perhaps you don't know that's what I'm talking about if you've read what I've written.

If there was a law – and I think there should be one – that mandated that no one who was judged violently mentally ill by a competent psychiatrist could handle a gun - the analogous situation would be if Kyle was one of the most highly respected psychiatrists in the area and had Routh at his private hospital which happens to have a gun range. (Silly, but it’s an illustrative analogy).
And Kyle said “It is my opinion as a psychiatrist Routh is not dangerous so I am going to let him use a firearm.”

Kyle is board certified by the ABPN. He has an M.D. and has had a rigorous medical education, he specializes in violent mental illness, is the chief of his division at the local hospital, and he is routinely consulted as an expert witness on psychological matters by the courts.

He is far and away the best, most competent psychiatrist in the area. He has trained local law enforcement on how to deal with violently mentally ill folks, so they all know him.
So, what then do the police do to enforce the law such that the tragedy doesn’t occur? Develop psychic powers and say “no, I think Kyle is wrong”?

In court, in this example, Dr. Kyle would be the guy you would go to for the judgment on Routh’s mental competency. The police know Dr. Kyle. Know he’s that guy. So why would they have any reason to suspect something if Dr. Kyle says it’s ok?

Make any sense at all?

In gun control people talk about background checks, licenses, training, etc.

It’s people who do those. If the people who do that simply hand those licenses, certificate of training, etc to someone who may not be competent the problem is not with the law as written stating “you have to have ‘X’ to use a gun” (be it license, background check, whatever) it’s with the person who okays that.

In this case Kyle was essentially that person. There is no one more qualified on handling firearms in that area. At least, no one who would question Kyle's expertise on the subject.

Easier, real world example: We had a truck licensing scandal in Illinois a while back. People were given truck driving licenses who didn’t pass the training and who were unqualified.
How are the police supposed to stop a given truck driver?

They pull the guy over because he’s doing something wrong, ok. They get his license. The license checks out. It’s an actual license issued by the proper authority. The police officer might write the trucker a ticket, but he doesn’t think to question the issuing authority.

Why would that occur to him before simply thinking that this particular trucker is drunk or lost sleep or is just a bonehead?

Why would he say “you know, I bet this guy’s improper lane usage means there is a far reaching corrupt conspiracy inside the Secretary of State’s office that involves the governor taking bribes!”

No, he’d write the ticket and move on, assuming the experts know what they're doing. Assuming the system is working and not indicting authority, but rather the lone trucker.

And that’s what happened. It took the F.B.I and thousands of man hours of investigation from the FBI and the U.S. Atty’s office to get George Ryan.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:51 PM on February 9, 2013


Yes, I have read the argument you have posted at length several times. We disagree on the deterrent effect of the law in this case. It is entirely reasonable that Kyle would not have been willing to break a law in this situation.
posted by Drinky Die at 2:07 PM on February 9, 2013


It is entirely reasonable that Kyle would not have been willing to break a law in this situation.

I disagree. Mostly because, as above, he's the standard for setting the law. If he takes someone to the range, law enforcement would assume he knows what he's doing. Even barring that, he was well acquainted with his local law enforcement folks and would have expected (and likely gotten) all kinds of slack.

But in also part because he was who he was. Laws have to be enforced. Who, exactly, is going to take him in for what would be pretty much a misdemeanor? If the local SWAT team really wanted to force the issue, and Kyle wanted to resist back they would have had to push an operation that makes Waco look trite.

Barney Fife isn't just going to slap the cuffs on someone like Kyle. He wasn't exactly a soft-spoken shy guy.
Timid souls don't remorselessly kill 160 people. Shrinking violets don't fireman carry people out of machine gun and RPG fire in house to house fighting.

He'd be a really tough collar if he happened to want to break the law, is what I'm saying here.
Look, a lot of people on MeFi have their bonifides. Some guys are famous writers, movie people, physicists, whatnot - I'm about the top tier of anyone you're going to communicate with in terms of dangerous. In terms of hand to hand I'd probably have handed Kyle's head to him, I've got about an inch and change and more muscle and I know where his old injuries are and it's my metier. We'd probably be about the same with small arms but CQB is my thing, so I'd have a slight edge. But anything to do with a rifle or scenario where I don't have him indoors or inside 15 or 20 feet where I can put a hand to him and he would eat my lunch and any crew I'd put together to bring him in. And ersatz proctology is my business. I deal with major league assholes (protecting them too). He was a dangerous man. One of the most dangerous in the country.
If Kyle said some time he really really had a problem with Barack Obama the Secret Service would have crapped their matching SSDC slacks.


He's got a long history of breaking laws, nothing major. Getting drunk, fighting, etc. But there's no reason to bring the amount of muscle to bear proportionate to the law being broken if Kyle wanted to beef about it. We're really going to kill him for bringing someone he shouldn't to a private gun range where no one else could be harmed? Where the worst case scenario - which happened - is that he and his buddy would be killed?
We're really thinking about starting a small war over that? Because if it were pushed, I can't think of any law enforcement outfit that could react fast enough that wouldn't have suffered serious casualties. That's without Kyle's buddies showing up. And if he were one of mine, I'd be there.

Again, and regardless of my main point above, someone has to enforce the law. Even if they weren't willing to assume Kyle's authority, they're not going to push too hard if he thinks he's doing the right thing and is going to kick about it.

Your hypothetical "police officers" are nowhere near a match for Kyle if they want to push it to the point where they draw down on him. And they would know that. And act with a great deal of circumspection because they don't want to die even if they don't respect his service or authority as a firearms instructor. And again, a lot of them know him and wouldn't want to push the issue.

Really, I don't think anyone would contest the point if he wanted to bring Charles Manson to a gun range as long as they were the only people there.

If Kyle thinks he's helping a fellow vet, I think the punishment for violating the law is going to be less than being fired at by heavy machine gun and RPGs, so maybe he's not going to be deterred and he's going to do it regardless if he thinks it will help.

The best way would have been to convince Kyle that he was making a mistake in the method he was using and wasn't helping Routh.
posted by Smedleyman at 9:39 AM on February 11, 2013


It is entirely reasonable that Kyle would not have been willing to break a law in this situation.

I disagree.


I know. It's okay if we do!
posted by Drinky Die at 6:16 PM on February 11, 2013


Ok.
posted by Smedleyman at 8:51 AM on February 12, 2013


After a funeral yesterday at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas, Chris Kyle was buried today in the Texas State Cemetery.

I happened to be out on I-35 at 12:00 noon today (headed the opposite direction), and I saw the procession as it reached Austin. There were a lot of people out on the side of the road, including at least one honor guard in the stretch that I saw, waiting in the rain for the procession to go by. They're estimating that it was about 200 cars that drove from Kyle's hometown of Midlothian, Texas, (which happens to be about 15 miles from my own hometown) to Austin, a distance of about 200 miles.

I have extremely mixed feelings about the Navy SEALS and the whole "American Sniper" thing, but I'm glad that a veteran who was killed trying to help another veteran deal with the trauma of war was given a hero's funeral.

.
posted by donajo at 2:26 PM on February 12, 2013


And now to fan the flame of controversy: Chris Kyle allegedly shot two men trying to steal his truck in 2009.
posted by donajo at 2:38 PM on February 12, 2013


Strange and tragic story out of South Africa as Paralympic gold medallist Oscar Pistorius—the first double amputee to compete in the Olympics—allegedly shot and killed his girlfriend in the early morning hours after mistaking her for an intruder at his Silver Lakes home.
posted by Drinky Die at 11:40 PM on February 13, 2013


And now to fan the flame of controversy: Chris Kyle allegedly shot two men trying to steal his truck in 2009.

We’ve debated here at the office exactly how to handle this. Honestly, I wanted to tell the entire world about it on the afternoon it was confirmed. But I always wanted to tell that story in the context of a larger story about Chris Kyle, about his service, about the amazing things he’s done for other veterans, and about how hard he worked to adjust back to this world — to become the great husband and father and Christian he’d always wanted to be.

emphasis mine. It's just strange that the term means almost nothing aside from "belongs to the cult." fan on.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:05 AM on February 14, 2013


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