Editorial: Critics take sniper comments to social media

It’s too bad the deadliest sniper in U.S. military can’t respond to Michael Moore and Seth Rogen.

With 160 confirmed kills of suspected insurgents, Chris Kyle cemented his place in American history — whether certain celebrities think so or not.

Response to Clint Eastwood’s rendition of Kyle’s “American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History” has caused quite a stir.

The pair of celebrities took their criticism to Twitter. Rogen, actor, director and comedian best known for “The Interview” said: “American Sniper kind of reminds me of the movie that’s showing in the third act of Inglorious Basterds.”

Moore, director, producer and writer best known for his “Fahrenheit 9/11” commented: “My uncle killed by sniper in WW2. We were taught snipers were cowards. Will shoot u in the back. Snipers aren’t heroes. And invaders r worse,” and “But if you’re on the roof of your home defending it from invaders who’ve come 7K miles, you are not a sniper, u are brave, u are a neighbor.”

The comments struck a chord with “American Sniper” fans, who remember Navy SEAL Chris Kyle and the four tours he served in Iraq between 2003 and 2009. The “Devil of Ramadi” was so deadly Iraqi insurgents put a bounty on his head, according to The New York Times.

The best-selling author’s life was taken in his own country, however, when a Marine who was suffering from post traumatic stress disorder turned the gun on his friend while at a Texas shooting range in early 2013. The ironic turn of events took a sniper from the shooter to the victim, and the murder trial of his killer, Eddie Ray Routh, was scheduled to begin Feb. 11.
The “Legend” left behind his wife, Taya Kyle, and two children.

Was it foolish for Rogen and Moore to take their comments to social media? Probably. But did they have the right to do so? Absolutely. As journalists, we have to admire the boldness the two took, as they were exercising their freedom of speech.

However, it is important to evaluate our words before we speak — or write — them. Once those words are publicized, they can never be taken back. And Internet adds to the fire that eventually circulates to the far ends of the earth.

That being said, an American hero’s legacy is not a topic to be taken lightly. Especially one who gave his own life to protect our own.

Rogan somewhat apologized. “I just said something like ‘kinda reminded’ me of something else. I actually liked American Sniper. It reminded me of the Tarantino scene. I wasn’t comparing the two. Big difference between comparing and reminding. Apples remind me of oranges. Can’t compare them, though.”

Being in the line of fire is easy when you’ve never actually been in it.

“People tell me I saved hundreds and hundreds of people. But I have to tell you: It’s not the people you saved that you remember. It’s the ones you couldn’t save.”

— Chris Kyle