The case of Chris Kyle has caught most attention recently. Kyle was touted as the greatest sniper who ever lived but now he is dead, along with Chad Littlefield:
But on Saturday, far from a war zone, Mr. Routh turned on Mr. Kyle, 38, and a second man, Chad Littlefield, 35, shortly after they arrived at an exclusive shooting range near Glen Rose, Tex., about 50 miles southwest of Fort Worth, law enforcement authorities said Sunday. The officials said that for reasons that were still unclear, Mr. Routh shot and killed both men with a semiautomatic handgun before fleeing in a pickup truck belonging to Mr. Kyle.“Chad and Chris had taken a veteran out to shoot to try to help him,” said Travis Cox, a friend of Mr. Kyle’s. “And they were killed.”
News sources differ on whether Mr. Routh (the killer) suffered from PTSD or not, but if he did, taking him to a shooting range seems to me to be the way to get him to implode or explode. Perhaps there is a role for such exercises in the treatment of PTSD but they should be carried out by trained therapists.*
This is all quite sad. Several stories discuss Mr. Kyle's sniper past, with a whiff of sports-type interest in his accuracy as a killer:
Kyle modestly acknowledged to the Time interviewer that he was "decent" at killing."The first time killing someone, you're not even sure you can do it," he said. "You think you can, but you never know until you actually are put in that position and you do it. ... And then, you're worried when you get home, are the politicians going to hang you out to dry and put you on trial for murder?"Did he regret any of his 160 kills? "No, not at all," he told Time.
A heroic reading? Then, of course, he was shot himself, perhaps by someone who didn't even have to be very good at it.
None of that is meant to be a deep analysis of the case.
An interesting website lets you find out the rank of all the US states in the number of gun deaths. The correlation between politics and those gun death figures is obvious: The states with the highest firearms death figures are more likely to vote Republican, the states with the lowest firearm death figures are more likely to vote Democratic, on average. What it means is a lot less obvious, because various cause-and-effects chains are running all across the place and getting as tangled as my thing gold necklace does, just sitting in a box.
*Perhaps I shouldn't have said that. But laypeople usually don't try to do surgery on other people to help them, and PTSD can be a very serious condition which should be treated by experts who are trained in the specific type of PTSD.