Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Let's Go Shooting! You'll Feel Better!

This is a STRANGE story.

Chris Kyle was a US Navy SEAL.  This is a highly trained soldier who is capable of fighting under the most difficult conditions.  Indeed, Mr. Kyle was a "sniper."  He had a specialized rifle and it was his job to hide in trees or other places and shoot enemy soldiers or "terrorists."  Apparently he was the best US sniper ever - he is credited with killing 160 human beings.

Now here's the weird part.  Mr. Kyle decided to create a special program for US soldiers who were returning home from the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan.  It is estimated that about 1 out of 3 soldiers returning home suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  In all honesty, the US government does not seem to be doing a good job of helping these soldiers transition back into normal life.

So Mr. Kyle created a program he thought would help ex-soldiers transition into civilian life. However, Mr. Kyle did not seem to have any real psychological training.  His system of helping ex-soldiers seemed to involve taking them to places where they could shoot their rifles at stuff.  He also seemed to believe that physical exercise was good for people suffering from PTSD. There is no scientific or medical evidence which suggests that physical exercise or shooting at stuff will help you recover from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

So Mr. Kyle took an ex-soldier suffering from various mental disorders to a place where they could shoot at stuff, and the ex-soldier shot Mr. Kyle to death.


I'm providing vocabulary for the first page of this story.  This is a strange story; I encourage you to read it.

weird - strange

a rifle - a long gun that shoots bullets at human beings

a killer drone - an airplane that doesn't have a human being in it and which often is used to kill human beings who have no idea they are about to be killed. Sometimes drones kill terrorists, sometimes they kill innocent people, apparently.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) - post means "after." After some people experience something terrible, they can't forget what happened and they experience anxiety and depression.  They cannot sleep well, have nightmares and often use drugs or alcohol.

to transition - to make a change from one situation to a better situation

ex-soldiers - people who used to be soldiers

civilian - non-military

a healer - someone who heals or cures others.  How does exercise and shooting at stuff heal anyone?  Hello. It DOESN'T.

four tours in Iraq - a soldier goes through a tour of military service and then usually goes home.  Mr. Kyle felt compelled to do four tours of military service and would have done more but his wife stopped him.

a gun range - a place where people shoot at stuff. Why?  I really don't know. I like reading poetry - nobody gets killed that way..

a veteran - someone who was in the military

an accomplished sharpshooter - a guy who is good at shooting at stuff (usually human beings who don't know they are going to be shot)

combat - fighting in a war, combat is when two rival groups of soldiers try to kill each other for the sake of their politicians

an outing - a field trip; a fun time doing something outside

troubled soldiers - guys with psychological problems who had been in the military

a sheriff - a type of police officer

to provoke sadness - to cause sadness

to pal around with someone - to hang out with someone. A pal is a friend. A buddy is a friend too.

ailing - suffering

a security firm - a company that provides security to people or companies

to fall through the cracks - this is when a person is allowed to suffer or when a person is not helped even though there are supposed to be programs to help the person.  The person is supposed to be supported, but, instead, falls through a crack in the system.  I might be wrong, but I really don't think the US government is doing anything to help ex-soldiers transition back into civilian life. Let me go one step farther and say that by this time we should not have soldiers in Iraq or Afghanistan anyway and it's a disgrace that we do.

he grew up in a saddle - he liked riding horses as a kid

a puddle - a little area of water that forms on the ground after it rains

insurgent ambushes - the US military calls anyone fighting against the USA an "insurgent."  A synonym would be "trouble-maker."  I'm a trouble-maker but I declare my taxes honestly so the US government hasn't sent snipers after me yet :P :P :P  An ambush is when people surprise-attack each other.  Basically this guy was supposed to shoot people who wanted to shoot Americans. Interestingly, when American soldiers go to foreign countries to fight wars, insurgents usually try to shoot them. (I'm being a little sarcastic here.)

they work stealthily - silently, secretly

cathartic - if you have a cathartic experience you get rid of or eliminate all the negative emotions in you.  It was claimed that exercise and shooting at stuff could be cathartic and cure PTSD. OMG.

"...he founded Craft International, a security company, 'Despite what your momma told you,' its motto reads, 'violence does solve problems.'" - Mr. Kyle helped create a company that would provide "security" and their slogan or motto was, basically, "Your mother may have taught you to get an education and act like a civilized human being and to love other people and feel compassion and mercy, but we think violence and death are sometimes wonderful solutions to problems."

1)  Mr. Kyle is being treated as a hero by many newspapers and TV stations in the USA.  Do you think he is a hero?

2)  Do you think Obama has done a good job of ending the wars started by George Bush?

3)  What do you think should be done to help soldiers overcome PTSD?


Yes, I'm the guy who wrote the very funny ESL book: New York City Sucks, But You'll Wanna Live Here Anyway

If this page is useful to you, please buy the book (it's quite inexpensive and useful!!!!). If you don't have an e-reader, drop me a line at djg51qu@gmail.com and I'll send you a free copy via Word file. Let me know whether you have Word 2010 or an earlier version.
Yes, I'm also the guy who created the scandal in Asia two years ago :P




No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.