It was a callous way of placing the burden of this tragedy on an American hero who served four tours of duty in Iraq, was injured twice, and was one of the most accurate snipers in America's arsenal with 160 kills -- a sniper who prevented fellow military members from being picked off by the enemy. For his bravery and service, he was awarded two Silver Stars, five Bronze Stars with Valor, and two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement medals, and after leaving military service in 2009, went on to write the best seller, "American Sniper."
Kyle put his money where his mouth was, helping fellow veterans after they returned from war. He was pro-active in offering services to veterans who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and who were disabled, and started projects like the Heroes Project. Indeed, his killer is believed to be a younger veteran he was helping who was suffering from PTSD.
Americans were stunned at Paul's comments. Military veterans everywhere were enraged. They, after all, had "lived by the sword," as Paul put it, and many of their colleagues had "died by the sword." The American flag and their declaration to support and defend the Constitution of the United States was a solemn pledge they took when entering the service of their country.
Paul's words were offensive. He has long held that America should not have a strong military force and that we should leave the world to fend for itself. How many Europeans who escaped Hitler's reign of terror during World War II would be alive today if America had practiced Paul's brand of defense?
Delegate Scott Lingamfelter, a retired combat veteran of the U.S. Army, was one of the few in this politically charged atmosphere who publicly expressed his indignation at Paul's words. Lingamfelter, who received two Legions of Merit, the Bronze Star Medal, two Defense Meritorious Service Medals, and four Meritorious Service Medals among others, noted in a widely-circulated email that Ron Paul Said What He Meant and Meant What He Said:
Like many veterans, we who served took an oath.... And, as a combat veteran, I am distraught over the death of former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle. Chris was a hero and a patriot who saved countless American lives.Needless to say, Paul supporters have turned on Lingamfelter. On Wednesday, Ron Paul tried to walk back his words but Americans and veterans will not soon forget his knee-jerk remarks regarding the death of a military hero and American citizen.
Not only was Chris a hero on the battlefield but he was a hero at home. When Chris realized a hometown veteran was suffering from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), he once again answered the call of duty. This time, not as a sniper, but as a friend, helping a fellow warrior who suffered mental wounds from the field of battle.
Sadly, it was reported yesterday that this same veteran allegedly shot and killed Chris.
I pray that God will comfort his family, especially his wife and their two young children. Because not only has Chris Kyle’s family lost a son, a husband and a father, they also have seen his service and his memory dishonored in reprehensible remarks by Dr. Ron Paul, the former U.S. congressman and 2012 Republican presidential candidate.
Cross-posted at Bearing Drift