Backlash Against "American Sniper" Illustrates
More Than Hostility to U.S. Troops



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By Kurt Hofmann, January 28th 2015, 2014
JPFO writer contributor, © 2014.

Picture, Oleg Volk

The Clint Eastwood-directed record-setting blockbuster "American Sniper," about the late U.S. Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle, whose 160 confirmed kills in Iraq make him the most prolific sniper in American military history, has drawn plenty of opprobrium to go along with its enormous success. Rabidly anti-gun, "progressive" serial complainer Michael Moore got the ball rolling, perhaps, with his tweet calling snipers "cowards," rather than heroes, with "invaders" being even worse. Oddly, Moore seems not to have much to say about his own "courage," in paying a man to protect him--with a gun carried illegally.

Moore is joined by another (somewhat leaner--for now) Hollywood "celebrity," Seth Rogen, who also took to Twitter, to inform us that the movie reminded him of the Nazi propaganda film shown in the Quentin Tarantino movie "Inglourious Basterds." He should probably go back to puerile jokes about sex and drug abuse.

Other critics cannot fit their bile about the movie within the 140 characters allowed by Twitter. Chris Hedges, for example, needed several pages' worth of TruthDig's bandwidth to write his charmingly titled "Killing Ragheads for Jesus." If that title is not sufficient to set Hedges' intended tone, the first paragraph should finish the job nicely:

"American Sniper" lionizes the most despicable aspects of U.S. society--the gun culture, the blind adoration of the military, the belief that we have an innate right as a "Christian" nation to exterminate the "lesser breeds" of the earth, a grotesque hypermasculinity that banishes compassion and pity, a denial of inconvenient facts and historical truth, and a belittling of critical thinking and artistic expression. Many Americans, especially white Americans trapped in a stagnant economy and a dysfunctional political system, yearn for the supposed moral renewal and rigid, militarized control the movie venerates. These passions, if realized, will extinguish what is left of our now-anemic open society.

And more and more of the same.

Gary Younge

Writing for The Guardian, Gary Younge opines that the movie "illustrates the west's morality blind spots," because "there is no moral arc; no anguish about whether the killing is necessary or whether those who are killed are guilty of anything." More disgusting still, Younge concludes that Chief Petty Officer Kyle was "was every bit as much a jihadi in uniform as his nemesis, Mustafa [a fictional enemy sniper], was a soldier in casual wear."

Matt Taibbi, writing for Rolling Stone, gets his own two cents (and that's no bargain) in, with "'American Sniper' Is Almost Too Dumb to Criticize":

Yet the movie glosses over all of this, and makes us think that killing Mustafa was some kind of decisive accomplishment -- the single shot that kept terrorists out of the coffee shops of San Francisco or whatever. It's a scene that ratified every idiot fantasy of every yahoo with a target rifle from Seattle to Savannah.

Dave Workman

But could there be more to this rabid vitriol than "just" hostility toward America's fighting men and women? Seattle Gun Rights Examiner Dave Workman speculates that the movie, in which rifles not far removed from what millions of American hunters take into the woods every year are used to kill the enemy from 1,000 or more yards away, could be just what the gun ban zealots think they need to help them push a ban of popular hunting rifles, as "too dangerous" for civilians.

Actually, that wouldn't be a new development, with the Violence Policy Center having espoused such bans on what they call "intermediate sniper rifles" (to distinguish them from "heavy sniper rifles"--mostly firing the .50 BMG cartridge) since 2001. If that effort ever comes to fruition, does anyone seriously believe they'll not eventually find their way to warning us of the dangers of private citizens' access to "light sniper rifles"?

More recently, we've seen an especially hysterical anti-gun group (and an anti-gun group has to really work to distinguish itself from the crowd in its level of hysteria) calling for a ban of rifles "too accurate" for private citizens--and stunningly, wants private citizens limited to rifles that miss 70% of the time:

"I'm very much in favor of the password protection, but if the user opts not to utilize password protection this product gives shooters a better accuracy than, on average, most cops," [National Gun Victims Action Council CEO Elliot] Fineman said. He said the target accuracy of most police is three out of ten.

"To think that private citizens that are not trained could shoot better than 3 out of 10, it's scary," Fineman said.

Tireless liberty advocate Mike Vanderboegh has an explanation for the fear and loathing of snipers:

There have been a lot of explanations about why this is a Rorschach test of the two different worldviews currently vying for dominance in this country, but I think I have a much simpler reason why collectivists like Michael Moore condemn the movie, often without seeing it.

The reason is hardly intellectual nor is it academic -- they feel the crosshairs on their own necks. They understand that sooner or later this appetite of theirs for other people's liberty and property and lives is going to come down to a test of firepower and marksmanship. They prefer to believe (without much evidence) that as long as Obama is in the White House that the firepower is on their side. But what they understand subconsciously is that firepower and numbers can be negated by properly targeted, accurate marksmanship. This is why Diane Feinstein is always going on about .50 caliber rifles being able to shoot through limousines and aircraft -- because that is where SHE lives.

Indeed, and that's an observation I have made previously:

The common theme here is that Feinstein, Waxman and others seem to have identified .50 caliber rifles as a personal threat to their own lives.

This is a good thing. Those who take it upon themselves to write the laws by which the rest of us must live should fear the wrath of the people they seek to govern. For the nation to be truly free, those who seek to exceed the limits on their power imposed by the Constitution must be made to live in mortal terror of the consequences.

"American Sniper" terrifies these people precisely because America is quite fertile ground for producing people who can change the world with one shot from a rooftop a mile away. That's a "change they can believe in," but one they would much prefer not to.

A former paratrooper, Kurt Hofmann was paralyzed in a car accident in 2002. The helplessness inherent to confinement to a wheelchair prompted him to explore armed self-defense, only to discover that Illinois denies that right, inspiring him to become active in gun rights advocacy. He also writes the St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner column. Kurt Hofmann Archive.

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