You’ve probably read about Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle getting murdered by a comrade at a shooting range. It became a bit of a dust up due to libertarian wackjob Ron Paul tweeting out, “Chris Kyle’s death seems to confirm that ‘he who lives by the sword dies by the sword.’ Treating PTSD at a firing range doesn’t make sense.” I don’t see what the big deal is; Paul is showing his usual level of tact and discretion. And there is real wisdom in the second part of that tweet. Maybe part of the problem is the whole culture of guns and manly back slapping. But no one is really interested in that.
They are, however, interested in grandstanding about how Ron Paul could be so rude. (This, from a man who thinks anyone careless enough not to have insurance should just be allowed to die. The Hippocratic Oath can bite Dr. Paul!) One such person is his pretend libertarian wackjob son, Rand Paul. He told that bastion of ethics in news, breitbart.com: “Chris Kyle was a hero like all Americans who don the uniform to defend our country.”
Really? All Americans who don the uniform to defend our country are heroes? That surprises me, because so many serial killers have donned the uniform to defend our country. Jeffrey Dahmer, for example, did so. I don’t think of him as a hero. Nor do I think of the guy who killed 16 civilians last year in Kandahar as a hero. I tend to think that most of the people in the military would agree with me. That is why they have court-martials; people in the military dishonor the traditions of the military—all the time.
I don’t understand the fetishization of the military. But I can see that it is a very bad thing for our society. Of course, I’m not that keen on the word “hero” anyway. I think it is best to use only the adjectival form of the word. Acts are heroic. People are not. The same person who is heroic in one situation can easily be cowardly (Or worse!) in another. But the idea that simply putting on a uniform makes you a hero, is ridiculous. And it leaves us without a word that describes truly heroic acts. The military, whose people are placed in far more positions to act heroically than is normal, should hate this kind of easy definition. Because such definitions just make people like Rand Paul bask in the glow of those who did don a uniform, without having to do so themselves.
After all of the brouhaha, Rand’s daddy provided a statement that puts to shame all the pretenders:
That’s what I call supporting the troops.