Home / Spring 2015 / 2015-02-05 / Pro/Con: American Sniper is a Hero?

Pro/Con: American Sniper is a Hero?

PRO

by Tatyana Phelps

According to some Americans, if you are in the military, shooting the enemy makes you a bad person, not just a person doing your job.

The lead character in the box-office record-breaking movie “American Sniper,” Chris Kyle, has received a bit of backlash after the release of the film, despite many people believing he is a hero. A recent article written by Lindy West on The Guardian’s website practically tears Kyle to shreds. According to West, there have been accounts in which Kyle claimed that he had “fun” killing people and that it was something he “loved” to do.

In the movie, it is evident that the character had a hard time killing women and even young children. He was normally hesitant and got a little emotional after doing so. He was not just doing it for fun; it was a part of his job—to protect the other soldiers. If he let all the enemies just go by untouched and let the other soldiers—our soldiers—die, people would say he was a bad person for that as well, right?

Since when was it a crime to do your job? Unless people have actually been in that situation, they have no place to call Chris Kyle a bad person.

Maybe he did say those things that West presented in her article, but maybe he didn’t. Maybe knowing that he was killing people to protect his country was fun for him; maybe it did give him a rush.

How can any of us really hold Kyle to these statements when he’s not even alive anymore to defend himself? None of us know the things he had to go through and the reason he had to do the things he did. All we can do is accept that he was doing his job by defending our country and, in the process, the men and women who risk their lives to protect it. That is what makes him a hero.

If you choose the military route and have to do some of the same things that Kyle had to do, will that make you a monster too?

CON

by Erin Martin

The movie American Sniper quickly received a range of critiques after its debut. While the film itself continues to receive praise in honor of the fallen soldiers and those who have served for our country, underlying messages of violence, hate, and discrimination follow not too far behind. While many are cooed and engaged with the dramatics, action, and suspense from this film, it is a wonder that they have not been boycotted similarly to other recent films.

American Sniper is sparking a lot of controversy and with a good, valid reason. The action in this film is disturbing and far from an American patriotic film. Despite the film’s powerful and intense scenes, the depiction of the brutal death of hundreds is gruesome and chilling to watch. The movie obviously had great dynamics, but there is far too much sadism. The film has been rated for its extreme content and intense violence.

The movie’s official trailer showed the sniper’s view through his rifle pointed at a woman and a young boy preparing to launch a grenade. This visual, almost like a video game, is a true depiction of the reality the U.S. military faces, but is presented in a way that is not comforting to others. Many pieces in the movie dehumanize the “enemy,” making the deaths of these people appear as normality.

The unnecessary offensive language and messages of hate and violence toward many innocent people is something that, after twelve long years of a war, needs to end. A film of this nature in reverse circumstances would not be praised by the same people who enjoy it today.

Focusing more on aggression toward them than protection and devotion for the country, the film constantly venerates terror on others. Yes, the movie is indeed action-packed, but is this the message we wanted? Is this something to be proud of?

To label the sniper as a hero shows a huge fault in our moral certainty and standards. Watching this action-packed film, there was a constant reminder to be cautious and aware of the message subconsciously received.

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