Opinion: Columnists

Gregory Kane: Twitter makes Ron Paul a twit over Chris Kyle

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Photo - TAMPA, FL - AUGUST 28:  U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) walks the arena floor during the second day of the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on August 28, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. Today is the first full session of the RNC after the start was delayed due to Tropical Storm Isaac.  (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
TAMPA, FL - AUGUST 28: U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) walks the arena floor during the second day of the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on August 28, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. Today is the first full session of the RNC after the start was delayed due to Tropical Storm Isaac. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Here's where former Rep. Ron Paul had it oh so wrong about the late Navy SEAL Chris Kyle's death.

To say that those who "live by the sword, die by the sword" makes it sound like they deserved to be killed. And that's what Paul tweeted after Kyle was fatally shot at a Texas shooting range last week. Paul has a reputation as an intelligent man, but this latest Twitter episode once again proves that Twitter can bring out the twit in just about anyone.

"Chris Kyle's death seems to confirm that 'he who lives by the sword dies by the sword,' " Paul tweeted.

When he was a Navy SEAL, Kyle had four tours in Iraq, where he had 160 confirmed kills as a sniper, according to news reports.

Kyle was awarded two Silver Stars, five Bronze Stars with Valor and two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals. He sounds very much like a man who went above and beyond the call of duty in serving his country.

And Kyle continued that service even after he left the Navy. He had a passion for helping veterans, and that might have led to his undoing.

One of those veterans Kyle tried to help was Eddie Ray Routh, a former Marine who, like Kyle, had served in Iraq. According to news reports, Routh was hospitalized for post-traumatic stress disorder only four days before he joined Kyle and Kyle's friend Chad Littlefield at a shooting range in Glenn Rose, Texas. It was at that shooting range, police have alleged, that Routh turned his fire upon Kyle and Littlefield, killing both men.

News reports indicate that one way Kyle helped veterans was to take them to this shooting range. Paul had a comment about that in his tweet, too, and on that point he was oh so right.

"Treating PTSD at a firing range doesn't make sense," Paul tweeted.

Indeed it does not. People suffering from PTSD shouldn't be within a 10-mile radius of any firing or shooting range in the country. What could Kyle have been thinking?

Rather than taking Routh to a firing range, I'd have sat him down and had him watch a Tom and Jerry cartoon marathon. I don't know if that would have helped Routh, but I suspect it definitely wouldn't have done him any harm.

So Paul was wrong and right in his tweet, but he could have gone into much more detail. But there are some areas where even Paul fears to tread, and what I call my "Guys 'n Guns Watch" is one of them. I've raised the question, in light of recent mass shootings and other shootings, about why the perps almost always seem to be male. Let's recap.

» Jimmy Lee Dykes fatally shoots a school bus driver in Midland City, Ala. He kidnaps a 5-year-old boy and holds him hostage for a week before an FBI SWAT team takes him out and rescues the boy.

» Routh is accused of pulling out a semi-automatic handgun and shooting Kyle and Littlefield for no good reason.

» Former Los Angeles cop Christopher Jordan Dorner is the subject of a three-state, two-nation (the United States and Mexico) manhunt after cops accuse him of going on a killing spree. Dead are college basketball coach Monica Quan, her fiance, Keith Lawrence, and one police officer. Cops say Dorner went on his mass-shooting vendetta because he was fired from the force several years ago.

The "Guys 'n Guns Watch" seems to indicate that the combination of men and firearms can indeed be a deadly combination. Anybody want to form a commission to study that?

Examiner Columnist Gregory Kane is a Pulitzer-nominated news and opinion journalist who has covered people and politics from Baltimore to the Sudan.

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Gregory Kane

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The Washington Examiner