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Schmidt: Unsympathetic, not wrong

BY GRAYSON SCHMIDT | FEBRUARY 14, 2013 5:00 AM

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Former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle was an American hero. He was considered to be the greatest sniper in U.S. history, and he was so deadly that the Iraqi militants had a bounty on his head.

The man once coined “The Devil” was not killed in battle overseas. Instead, a fellow veteran who he was trying to help get over Post Traumatic Stress Disorder killed him on U.S. soil.

Kyle died after taking a fellow veteran to a shooting range to help him with post traumatic stress disorder, as reported by the New York Times.

Days after Kyle’s death, former presidential candidate Ron Paul tweeted about the soldier’s methods of treating post traumatic stress disorder.

“Chris Kyle’s death seems to confirm that ‘he who lives by the sword dies by the sword.’ Treating PTSD at a firing range doesn’t make sense,” Paul tweeted.

Though Kyle’s treatment for veterans suffering from PTSD may be questionable, Paul’s statement seems rather cold and unsympathetic. This man was trying to help other vets like him in the best way he saw fit. However, Paul is not exactly wrong in his comment as the results of Kyle’s methods are evident.

Psychologist Joanna Wiese, who teaches the Life After War class at the University of Iowa, said his methods are understandable but may not be the best form for all PTSD sufferers.

“It seems like a dangerous situation that he put himself in, even if he was intending it to be therapeutic,” Wiese said. “We have other programs out there to treat PTSD.”

Former Marine Robert Lenfesty feels that while Paul’s comments are insensitive, they are not inaccurate.

“Treating PTSD at a gun range can be a very good thing, but you open yourself up to a lot of vulnerabilities.” Lenfesty said. “I personally would not, as I like to know who I am shooting with, and I find that having variables like not knowing who is armed next to me can be very off-putting.”

Now, I am in no position to criticize anyone trying to help our veterans, especially when the person trying to help was a decorated war hero. But a man of his rank and prestige should have realized the dangers of putting a gun in the hands of a man he doesn’t know. Paul’s tweet was insensitive to what Kyle was trying to achieve, but he made a valid point that could have been phrased much better.


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