A couple of gun stories today. This one, from Texas, is tragic and infuriating:
Chris Kyle, a former Navy SEAL who became known as the deadliest U.S. sniper, was one of two men murdered on Saturday afternoon at a gun range in Erath County....This was in Texas. This was on a gun range. Chris Kyle died even though he had 160 confirmed kills as a sniper in Iraq. To state the obvious, why wasn't a bad man with a gun -- or, more precisely, a profoundly troubled man with a gun -- stopped by a good man with a gun?
Eddie Routh, 25, is in custody in connection with the shootings.
Investigators said Routh, a former Marine and expert marksman who is said to suffer from post-traumatic stress syndrome, is believed to have turned his weapon on Kyle and the second victim, killing them both at point-blank range about 3:30 p.m....
Since retiring as a Navy SEAL, Kyle had been actively helping other military veterans recover from PTSD....
And is it really a good idea for a veteran with war-related PTSD to be shooting, even as recreation, and possibly as therapy?
In Texas, and all over the country in Gun World, I'm sure everyone would answer that question with a resounding yes. Guns are like therapy dogs. Guns carry God's grace. Guns are good for whatever ails you.
Past efforts to tighten access to guns by people with mental and emotional problems have been unalterably opposed by the Gun Owners of America, precisely because they targeted PTSD (GOA called the last such law the "Veterans Disarmament Act"), while the NRA supported the most recently law but worked to weaken it. And for all the NRA's post-Newtown talk about mental illness, you can bet your bottom dollar that the NRA will weaken any new bill as well.
Meanwhile, The Washington Post profiles two Rhode Island gun absolutists: Rob Farago, a prominent gun blogger, and David Kenik, who makes self-defense videos. Part of the Post's reporting takes place over a couple of meals in Providence:
... the two men dig into dinner at a swank Italian restaurant, both of them choosing chairs that let them face the entrance.Don't imagine that Farago is much less paranoid than Kenik. Here's Farago on another day, after a sushi lunch:
"Look at the way Robert and I are facing," Kenik says. "Crime happens everywhere. There's no place to feel safe."
"That's your opinion," Farago says, distancing himself a bit.
"It's in the back of my mind," Kenik says.
Exiting the restaurant, he poses a question: What business in this little commercial area would criminals most likely target? The jewelry store, obviously. That's situational awareness.The Post gives us Farago's background -- ex-CNN producer and cameraman, ex-car blogger, ex-freelance writer. No military service is mentioned. Kenik? We learn less about him, but in this interview he says he "had no formal training" in the use of guns, and this LinkedIn page suggests that he never served, either.
Standing on the patio at Starbucks, he tells a story. A while back, he was right in this spot when the alarm went off across the street at the Bank of America branch office. Amazingly, people ignored it. They kept walking up to the bank to use the ATM. They didn't seem to register the alarm at all.
Farago reckoned that, if a gunman emerged from the bank, he'd take cover inside the Starbucks, putting a brick wall between himself and the shooter.
"If I have incoming fire, I've got a plan ready to go," he says.
There was no gunman. Just a false alarm.
But that's not the point. The point is that Farago was alert to the potential danger in the world. He was prepared to defend himself, if absolutely necessary, with his Glock. Even though, so far in his incarnation as a gun guy, he's never had any reason.
The alleged killer of Chris Kyle in Texas went to war and came back with PTSD. Rob Farago and David Kenick seem to have given themselves PTSD, even though they never served. They constantly anticipate danger -- apparently because it makes them feel good to see themselves as able to deal with danger. How sick is it to induce PTSD in yourself?