On Tuesday night former Marine Eddie Ray Routh was found guilty in Texas of the murders of “American Sniper” Chris Kyle and his friend Chad Littlefield. While Kyle fans across the country cheered for justice (or complained that he wasn’t being put to death), many of us were left angry and felt is was a complete injustice. Injustice because we just threw a mentally ill man in prison when our country’s love of war is what broke him.
Routh never denied killing Kyle and Littlefield, he admitted it but he pled not guilty by reason of insanity because he had PTSD at the time of the murder. The fact that he was suffering from PTSD at the time of the murder isn’t even something that has been disputed. Taya Kyle, Chris Kyle’s widow, testified that her husband said he was going to help Routh. Kyle spent a lot of time working with military and ex-military members suffering from PTSD, so this was not unusual.
Not only did Kyle’s widow admit that Routh was mentally ill but Kyle himself sent Littlefield a text on their way to the gun range where they were killed and called Routh “straight-up nuts.”
Prosecutors said that Routh was paranoid because he smoked marijuana and drank whiskey on the morning of the murders and that’s why he snapped. Jurors ignored all of the evidence that Routh was suffering from a mental illness and found him guilty. The verdict carries an automatic sentence of life without parole.
So now a man who was broken by our country’s foreign policy will spend the rest of his life in prison. Does that seem fair to you?
The prosecutor said he drank that morning and the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) says that PTSD and alcohol abuse are often linked. Not only are the two linked but according to the VA, alcohol makes PTSD symptoms worse:
Using too much alcohol makes it harder to cope with stress and your trauma memories. Alcohol use and intoxication (getting drunk) can increase some PTSD symptoms. Examples of symptoms that can get worse are numbing of your feelings, being cut off from others, anger and irritability, depression, and the feeling of being on guard.
Well that explains a lot!
Another thing that is ironic about the trial is that in the movie “American Sniper” it shows that Kyle is also suffering from PTSD. You even feel bad for him, but Routh was not offered the same sympathy?
Nobody is saying that he should not be punished, he killed two people. I do not think he should have walked out of court last night a free man. My father was murdered, so I completely understand the desire to punish, but this guy was demonstrably sick.
We (this country) sent him to war. We broke him and when he came home and demonstrated just how broken he was, we threw him in prison instead of helping him.
That is unacceptable. Supporting our troops is more than putting stickers on your car when they are overseas fighting. It means that we take care of them when they get home too. And, we are failing miserably at that.
Featured Image via Facebook