Friday, February 27, 2015

Firearms Friday: The Devil Of Ramadi

This past Tuesday former Marine Eddie Ray Routh was found guilty of the death of former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, the author of “American Sniper”, and Kyle’s friend Chad Littlefield. It took the Erath County, Texas jury less than two hours to convict Routh of capital murder with the judge sentencing him to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Kyle, who had taken Routh to a local shooting range to help him cope with PTSD, was shot in the back along with Littlefield on February 2, 2013. Kyle had done the same work with returning veterans to help them cope with life after war.

While Routh had admitted to the killing immediately afterward plead not guilty at the onset of the trial with his attorney asserting that he suffers from psychotic episodes caused by PTSD and other factors. In the end however, the right verdict was reached as he was the coward behind the trigger that ended the lives of two American heroes who both fought the same battles in the field and in the mind. Sometimes, the insanity plea should not be a factor in such a heinous act.

In the short time since the verdict was read, two Texas Congressmen have filed legislation intended to award the Medal of Honor to the late Chris Kyle. It should be noted that the military credits Kyle, "The Devil of Ramadi", with 160 confirmed kills, out of 255 claimed (probable kills). Ignore the political timing for a moment and consider what is being proposed…

As the most lethal sniper in military history, there is little doubt that Kyle “distinguish himself through conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty” both “while engaged in action against an enemy of the United States” and “while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force.” When reading this definition from the US Department of Defense website, it is clear that there is merit to this case. However, there is a process, a chain of command, that must be followed so don’t expect a decision in the near future.

To this end, Representative Roger Williams, a co-sponsor of the bill, made the following statement, “There is no doubt that this true American hero is worthy of our nation's highest military honor… While the Medal of Honor will not bring back a husband, father, son and a model Texan, we owe Chris Kyle and his family a great deal of gratitude for his relentless devotion to his country."

Kyle is a man who lived up to the cliché of living life to the fullest. While he was not perfect, he went above and beyond the call of duty both in and out of uniform and should be honored for his heroism. This is an honor long overdue especially since the White House refused to lower flags at half-staff at the time of his death but had no problem doing so not long prior to his passing when they were informed of the death of Whitney Houston. It is about time that we honor his life and his service by considering him for the highest honor this country has to offer. The "The Chris Kyle Medal of Honor Act," which is co-sponsored by Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, was sent to the House Armed Services Committee for consideration.