Think before you speak or zip it up

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Recently, a movie came out portraying the life and deeds of American Sniper Chris Kyle. The movie tells of Kyle, former Navy SEAL, and his journey from ordinary Texas cowboy to the most deadly sniper in American history. This is a story of a true American hero and his recent onslaught of ridicule and slander by media sources, a popular film maker and everyday people. These people do not know Kyle personally so they do not know of his deeds or the reasoning behind them. They assume they know everything about a person because they have seen a movie or read the book, both of which are incredibly well done and worth a read and a watch.

Dakota Meyer, medal of honor recipient, responded to filmmaker Michael Moore’s comment about how snipers are cowards by saying, “Cowards are people who don’t have the guts to serve, and are happy to sit back in a free and protected country and call our service members cowards.”

Many people assume that just because you are a soldier or a sniper, you are a murderer and a racist. Some just go along with the loud and angry people who vilify the service member because they don’t understand what goes on in a war conflict.

They assume they know because they saw part of the story on CNN or what someone angrily posted on Facebook. All of a sudden they become subject matter experts on whatever it was that they read or saw.

They vilify these brave men and women and create a villain to rally behind for the rest of the uneducated that want attention and think they are smart because they reworded what someone else wrote.

I had a conversation with a good friend of mine, an ex-special forces operator, and sent him a meme I found on Facebook that depicted Kyle as a hate monger and a racist.

Having personally known Kyle, my friend was furious. “He saved my life and my brother’s lives, he saved far more people than he killed and he only killed if absolutely necessary and only if it was to save lives. Whoever made that post disgusts me.” He continued angrily, “[Kyle] wasn’t just a sniper, he was a Navy SEAL. Yes, he provided over-watch to helps troops safely complete their missions but he also went door to door looking for weapons caches to help keep the people of Iraq safe from terrorists.

“If that wasn’t enough, after he left the Navy, he spent time helping reintegrate soldiers back into society. He was one of the best men I’ve ever met, and not just because he was a SEAL, but because he genuinely cared about the men and women who served this country and helped keep it free.”

Cowards would rather die on their knees in servitude to a dictator, would kill and torture people for fun rather than stand up for a single thing they believe in and defend something greater than themselves.

They attack people who do what they want to make themselves seem better, saying service members are cowards or racists or hate mongers. They spread rumors of something they don’t know anything about like a teenager looking for attention.

These ignorant and close-minded people over generalize everything. Are all service members worthy of your undying love and devotion? No. Are all service members racist war-mongers who want nothing more than to destroy everything? No, just like not all police are good, but they most certainly are not all bad.

Evil gets rating, views and likes. People are more likely to rally behind something they hate as opposed to something they love.

These keyboard warriors feed off your fear because fear will always bring you back to their page or newscast. It’s actually quite ingenious. Take something no one really knows anything about, spin it to where it creates a common enemy and then build on that. You don’t have to know what you are talking about as long as you sound like you do.

I don’t blame the people who follow these sites and newscasts, they are people looking for answers. The only thing they are guilty of is being sheep and not thinking for themselves. I blame the creators, the news anchors and the film makers who create this dribble and force feed it to the masses. These people have no conscience and only care about what’s going to make them look good.

I challenge you, if you watch, read or hear something that scares you or causes you to hate something, stop. Research the topic for yourself. Make your opinions, don’t follow the misguided ramblings of these men and women with such low self-esteem that they have to make others look bad just to make themselves look good. There is a gray area in life. I ask you to look at the source of your fear and concern to see if it is justified.

You are allowed to have your opinion; that’s what people like Kyle fought and died for. Just make sure your opinion is valid, not something that you read somewhere you don’t fully understand. Make sure you know what you’re really angry about. Is it the soldier, the war, or are you actually mad at yourself and trying to take it out on others?

Please look before you leap and know what you are saying before you say it.

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