American Sniper

I still stand behind my prior post “Sniper”, but I feel like I need to add to it.  I wrote it coming from my personal point of view and what I would want to do.  It is not out of disrespect or judgment of others.  I know I am different.  I don’t agree with the death penalty either for the same reasons.  However, I cannot count the number of people who have told me over the last year and a half that they could not do what I do, just like our military service men and women do things that I and most of the general public could not do.  I do believe Ecclesiastes 3:1 that “There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens”.

The reason I like snipers so much is because my favorite character in “Saving Private Ryan” was the sniper.  I liked how he quoted the Bible before each shot. Spoiler Alert!!!If you’ve ever seen it, you know that one of the Americans lets one of the Germans go.  That German ends up finding them again and killing a lot of Americans.  I haven’t seen it in a long time, because I don’t like to cry (I cry every time I watch the ending when they are at the grave site).  If I remember correctly, the enemy who was spared ends up killing my sniper. That is why my romantic view of not killing is impractical for the military.  When you let someone go or only shoot to injure, the enemy can end up killing Americans even though the enemy may lie wounded and bleeding.

I watched American Sniper today.  I went in knowing very little about it. I like Bradley Cooper and it was a sniper movie, so instead of going to the gym today especially since I didn’t feel all that great (I ended up getting pink eye because of all the crying I did at the end of the movie).  On a whim I went to the theater that was in the same shopping center.  I thought that maybe it was a true story because I thought I remembered hearing something about it in the buzz before it was released, but I didn’t really know for sure that it was about a real Navy Seal named Chris Kyle until the end. I did begin to believe it probably was true when I recognized some of the names of the bad guys.

I rarely go to the theater these days and am not very up to date with my movie watching.  I haven’t seen any of the other Academy Award nominees, although I would like to see “Wild”.  However, I hope that Bradley Cooper wins best actor this year.  He really did a good job.  I guess I’ll have to write another blog about Oscar Snubs if he doesn’t win.

I like and respect him (even more now) and appreciate his choices of roles and portrayal of PTSD in “American Sniper” and Bipolar Disorder in “Silver Linings Playbook”.  I hope with the recent death of Robin Williams and movies like these that mental illness will stop being so taboo and instead become something that society addresses  with compassion so that we recognize all of the good things that people who suffer from them have done and still do, rather than remembering all of those who become criminals because they do terrible things after they go off of their medication and become psychotic.

PTSD is real.  I cannot imagine NOT having it after being in a war zone.  I am thankful for programs like “Wounded Warrior” and especially “Team Rubicon” whose mission is to use veterans’ special training and skills to mobilize disaster relief efforts while helping the veterans transition back into civilian life. The founder of Team Rubicon actually lost his battle with PTSD and the resulting depression and ended up taking his own life.

We MUST avoid that. ESPECIALLY for those who make this nation what it is and protect us.  The United States would be nothing without our military and we need to protect them even better than they protected us because they have seen some pretty horrible things in order to let us sleep peacefully.  I feel like life can be a war zone for anyone if we’re not careful.  We need to pray for peace for our country for our people and for our world.

I’m thankful for war movies that make me think about and truly empathize with our troops and their families.  It is an incredible sacrifice and burden that they must carry in order to keep us safe and warm in our beds each night.

God Bless Them.

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Sniper

OK. So I said I was looking forward to watching the Sniper Trilogy I got a year-and-a-half ago, but did not sit down to do it until this week. I just didn’t want to see Tom Berenger get his finger cut off. I finally decided I was ready for it and liked the movies very much. They were different than I remembered. It’s been a long time since I saw them so I did not know what was going to happen. That was kind of nice. I often watch the same movies over and over and know what’s coming next so it’s a little boring.

When I have taken career aptitude tests, military has always come up as a job for me given my skills and interests. However, I don’t think I would have made a good soldier because I am a pacifist, don’t like peeing outdoors/in public, and have some health issues which I don’t think would do well with sleep deprivation. I’m too old to enter the military now. But, I really like watching action movies and am a pretty decent shot.

I ascribe to the Terminator II philosophy of injuring people but not killing them. The old King James Bible  says “thou shalt not kill” which I thought was pretty clear, cut and dry.  Since first writing this, I have learned that the newer translations say “you shall not murder.”  In some ways the two words are splitting hairs.  But, I think killing someone in self defense is different from maliciously seeking out to kill someone intentionally which is more what murder is.

I value my life but I am willing to die for others to save someone if necessary.  I know that soldiers are willing to die to protect the country and people they love.  I have a picture of a soldier with angel’s wings with the scripture from John 15:13: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”  If I am faced with someone committing violence against me, I’d probably just take it.  But when other people who are innocent or vulnerable are involved, I feel like I probably would try to protect them and would lay my life down for them.  I am not sure I would take a life to save a life but if it were for the greater good or if I were fighting what people would deem a “just” war (other peaceful means have been exhausted), I think I could reconcile myself to it. After all, in the Bible there were all kinds of battles and wars that God ordained.

I think that we should give people as much of a chance to come to God and live right as we can. When it comes to the death penalty, I think only God has the right to end someone’s life.  I think having to serve a life sentence thinking about what the person did to be there can be it’s own kind of torture and seems punishment enough to me.

If at all possible I think injuring is better than killing.  I think that if I were to actually use a gun on people, I would need to become really good and accurate so that I could injure without killing but cause enough damage to stop them from doing whatever bad thing they’re trying to do. That would require practice that I really don’t have the means to do. I guess every once and a while I go to arcades and have a little fun hitting targets that I can’t harm. I really do like blowing shit up at least at the arcades.

So, I think it’s time for me to take a brief sojourn to an arcade and get my inner soldier out. If you’re wondering if I were a soldier what kind I would be, I would be a Navy Seal that would enter from the Navy. After all, like Sam says on NCIS Los Angeles, “Seals are the best”.

My MOS would be sniper. After playing paintball, I realized I’m no good at running and hiding behind things. I do much better at long ranges from a secure location. But, I realized the danger of being a sniper, because when I finally got hit, it was a head shot. That kind of brought home the realization of what it was like, what soldiers must face,Dec. 2011-Mar. 2012 070 and the danger they put themselves into. It definitely increased my respect and appreciation for them.