Chris Kyle, the Former Navy SEAL who was gunned down on Saturday in Texas leaving behind a legend as America's most lethal sniper in history, told Newsmax TV last year that average Americans simply cannot understand how horrific war is.
Nor do they understand the sacrifices of relatives back home as service members fight for freedom, Kyle explained in the exclusive interview.
Story continues below the exclusive Newsmax interview recorded earlier this year.
Kyle wrote “American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History” partly to acknowledge those sacrifices and honor those who make them, he said at the time.
The American hero was fatally shot along with another man Saturday on a Texas gun range and a 25-year-old man was charged with their murders, the Texas Department of Public Safety said Sunday.
Sgt. Lonny Haschel said in a news release that Eddie Ray Routh of Lancaster was arraigned Saturday evening on two counts of capital murder.
Haschel said Erath County Sheriff's deputies responded to a call about a shooting at the Rough Creek Lodge, west of Glen Rose, at about 5:30 p.m. Saturday. Police found the bodies of Kyle, 38, and Chad Littlefield, 35, at the shooting range. Glen Rose is about 50 miles southwest of Fort Worth.
Police said Routh opened fire on Kyle and Littlefield around 3:30 p.m. Saturday, then fled in a Ford pickup truck. At about 8 p.m., Routh arrived at his home in Lancaster, about 17 miles southeast of Dallas. Police arrested him after a brief pursuit and took him to the Lancaster Police Department.
The Lancaster Police Department referred all calls to the Texas Department of Public Safety in Garland, and a phone message about where Routh is being held was not immediately returned Sunday.
Kyle’s book provides gripping accounts of combat situations from the 10-year-period between 1999 and 2009 in which he recorded more than 150 kills, although the Pentagon wouldn’t confirm the actual number for Kyle’s book. The previous record was 109.
Kyle told Newsmax how he steeled himself for the task of killing, from a sniper’s vantage point: “You’re not trying to humanize that person. You’re not thinking about them or their family or anything else.”
“You know when I was in those situations, the only thing I’m thinking of is trying to stop them from the act of violence that they’re trying to commit on my guys, the allies, or the innocent civilians in those cities,” Kyle said.
Kyle, whom Iraqi insurgents nicknamed al-Shaitan (the devil), said the media is unable to capture the true horror of combat and the strain it puts on families of U.S. servicemen and servicewomen.
“Even though you have all this media embedded, it can’t capture the raw emotions that these guys are feeling and they can’t even show all of the graphic details that guys are living day to day,” he said.
Consequently, most Americans have little understanding of war. “They think everyone who comes home has problems and then they don’t even fully understand what goes on over there — how horrific war actually is,” said Kyle, who was planning to donate his share of the proceeds from the book to the families of slain military personnel and to help veterans.
He said he missed “the guys” once he was no longer an active-duty Navy SEAL and described the closeness he felt as a kind of brotherhood.
“The guys are everything in the world to you. They become your number one family to you. You know their every move, their every thought and their actions,” he said.
Kyle also had noted that it took time for him to let his guard down after returning to the United States, and he said long deployments typically increase stress on families.
“I’m trying to raise the awareness of the troops that, when they deploy and go to war, it’s not just them at war — it’s also their family. Their family is having to go through all the hardships and the stresses,” said Kyle, who included writings from his wife in the book to highlight the contribution of families.
“You’re not just going out there, maybe sacrificing your own life,” he said. “There’s also sacrifices still going on at home. You can serve in the military and have a good marriage, but you just need to be aware of it so you can take those steps to take care of it.”
Kyle was sued by former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura over a portion of the book that claims Kyle punched Ventura in a 2006 bar fight over unpatriotic remarks. Ventura insists that the punch never happened and that the claim by Kyle defamed him.
Kyle had asked that Ventura's claims of invasion of privacy and "unjust enrichment" be dismissed, saying there was no legal basis for them. But a federal judge said the lawsuit should proceed. Both sides were told to be ready for trial by Aug. 1.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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