File this one under the heading of: Cosmic Justice. I just finished reading Marcus Luttrell’s latest book: Service: A Navy SEAL At War. Luttrell is the SEAL whose first book Lone Survivor will almost certainly become a classic of the military genre. If you want to have a better understanding of those who have written a blank check to us all in any amount up to and including their lives, Luttrell’s books are mandatory reading. His most recent book was co-written by James D. Hornfischer, the author of another excellent book on WWII naval warfare: The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors. If you ever doubt America and Americans, these books will give you hope; they reveal what we always have been and what the best of us are.
In his most recent book, Luttrell provides a fascinating story about Chris Kyle whose autobiography—American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper In U.S Military History—is also a must read. But the purpose of this brief article is not merely to inform you of four extraordinary books, but to let you know that the universe has a truly ironic sense of humor, and sometimes, the bad guys actually get what they have coming. I’ll let Luttrell take it from here (pp. 282-283):
On a bitterly cold morning in early January of 2009, the war, in a sense, found Chris again. What happened to him not far from his home outside Dallas never made the news, since the town involved didn’t want the publicity, but the incident certainly would have made national headlines had a reporter ever gotten a tip about it.
Chris was minding his own business, fueling his pickup truck at a gas station, when he found himself at gunpoint. Two men holding pistols demanded his truck. Law enforcement will usually advise you to give in to the criminal in a situation like this. And that’s good advice. But Chris took another route. Very calmly and coolly, he sized up which of the men was handling his pistol more comfortably. He put his hands up and told them he was going to reach into the truck to get his keys. Then his hand went under his coat. From a waistband holster, he pulled his Colt 1911. Swinging the pistol under his left armpit, he gave each robber two .45 caliber Hydra-Shock hollow-points to the chest. By the time the cops responded to the 911 call from the terrified lady who had locked herself in a car behind Chris’s truck, the matter was settled. Elapsed time: about ten seconds. The service station’s security cameras caught the whole thing.
I pray for anyone whose life gets so desperate that he or she chooses to resort to a life of crime, but it’s hard to resist a little cold laughter all the same: I mean, how unlucky a dumbass do you have to be to target a random guy for felony armed assault and find out he’s killed more people than smallpox?
In reality, many people “resort” to crime because they think they’re smarter and better than everyone else. They like terrifying and harming others. They contribute nothing to society and waste precious oxygen. These two truly got what they deserved. It is good indeed they chose Chris Kyle rather than the woman in the car behind him. Once again, one of the good guys served his country, making it just that little bit better for us all. If I ever run into Kyle, it will be my honor to buy him four fresh rounds.
UPDATE: 02-17-13, 2030 CST: Some readers have recently suggested that the event reported in Luttrell’s book is entirely fictional. As those who read the comments will note, I’ve printed several comments to that effect, including one by a “Leroy S” listing Wikipedia sourcing purporting to disprove the account. As a teacher of high school English, I don’t allow Wikipedia sources in student research papers as they are entirely unreliable. However, I have not devoted time to running down this incident, nor do I intend to. Life is too short, and Chris Kyle, to my knowledge, never traded on this, or any similar incident to enhance his reputation or to make a buck. He’s beyond that now anyway. Readers are invited to consider the incident as I have faithfully repeated it based on what appears to be a source far more credible than Wikipedia, and take it for what lessons it may teach.
UPDATE: 05-01-13, 1835 CST: I’ve written what I suspect will be the final word on any controversy involving Kyle. By all means, take a few minutes for a visit.