Famous author and Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield, also a military veteran, were both killed at a gun range south of Fort Worth, Texas, on Saturday. At the time Kyle was doing charity work with Eddie Ray Routh, who's a veteran Marine. The Marine, suffering from PTSD after his service, allegedly shot and killed his two friends. The motive is unclear.
In a time where gun violence is becoming almost commonplace, this is still a shocking murder.
Kyle was a well-known sniper who held a record number of killings in Iraq and even wrote American Sniper, a bestselling book, about his experiences. Kyle was reportedly mentoring Routh through the FITCO Cares Foundation, an organization he co-founded to help those suffering from PTSD.
It's a horrifying story from start to finish, but it says so much more about PTSD and the effect it has on returning veterans, especially given recent suicide statistics that reveal 22 veterans commit suicide a day.
That isn't a small number. Clearly, this is a national issue that needs major attention.
My heart goes out to Kyle's wife and two children. It's unimaginable to lose your father and husband in such a horrific way. But maybe they can take comfort in his good deeds. Though he spent his life killing, he always said he was a better family man than a killer.
Clearly, he put a lot of people's needs before his own and he died doing something they loved.
Of course, one could question whether bringing someone suffering from PTSD to a gun range was the best plan. And I am sure many will question that over time. They will also likely question what this country is doing to help veterans. Because truly, that part is just unconscionable.
Why, in a country as rich as ours, would we NOT do more to help our veterans? I have no doubt that Kyle would say the same thing. Obviously PTSD was important to him and something he wanted to help eradicate.
The best way to honor Kyle seems like doing him the respect of focusing on these issues and placing more resources toward helping the mental health of returning veterans. This is an important thing we have been neglecting and it's starting to hurt us all.
My heart goes out to all the families suffering after this horrific crime.
Do you think the government does enough to help victims of PTSD?
Image via Erath County