'American Sniper' glorifies violence of war

Chris Kyle was the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history with over 160 confirmed kills. He was honorably discharged from the military in 2009 and went on to write an autobiography about his experiences. Most people know him though from the recent film, American Sniper, which came out in December of 2014. The movie explores the life as a Navy Seal which Chris Kyle lived.

The movie caused a controversy at the University of Michigan where it was banned. The showing of the movie that was supposed to happen on March 10 here at Eastern has now been rescheduled. This movie is still being shown, but the fact that colleges are hesitating to show it demonstrates the controversy surrounding it.

I believe “American Sniper” glorifies very serious issues that our country is currently facing. Making a movie about the life of a sniper and the things Chris Kyle endured has a number of negative effects on society.

First of all, “American Sniper” inherently sheds a very negative light on Muslim people. This is problematic because we are living in a time when discrimination against Muslims is everywhere. From airports to college campuses, these stereotypes affect the lives of Muslims every single day. Creating a war movie such as this only prolongs the discrimination and unfair stereotypes against Islamic people.

Secondly, “American Sniper” deems Chris Kyle a war hero. If people enjoy the movie they will also automatically see him as a war hero without doing any further research of their own. This is also problematic. Filmmakers want to create a good story that will bring in as many viewers as possible. In doing this, they do what they can to appeal to the majority views of the public which creates inherent bias.

Horrendously, Americans all across the country are looking at this movie as a form of entertainment. They are sitting down with their popcorn and drinks and watching a documentary about a man who killed more than 160 people. “American Sniper”takes away from the severity of the acts that Chris Kyle and other snipers participate in. Looking at a man who decides if someone will live or die on a daily basis is not something anyone should be watching for entertainment. It is a very serious issue and his acts had many negative consequences for him and many others. Quite simply, “American Sniper” explores many issues that simply should not be seen as a form of entertainment.

When all the facts are on the table, “American Sniper” glorifies way too many real problems in our society for me to be okay with. Looking at the life of a sniper who enforces negative stereotypes as a form of entertainment is simply wrong. As a nation, we need to begin thinking about the ideas we are putting into the heads of our citizens.

Sure freedom of speech is a right we all have, but there comes a point when we must monitor the ideas we are putting into society. When freedom of speech begins to infringe on the freedoms of others by creating stereotypes and life changing ideas about our world, we must begin to question what we’re saying.

Editor's Note: The above column has elicited numerous passionate responses from Echo readers. The editors encourage readers who would like to comment or expand upon their comments to send a Letter to the Editor for consideration for publication in the print and/or online versions of the Echo. Only letters signed with full names and verifiable contact info will be considered for publication. Your contact info will not be re-printed, only your real name with your letter. Send letters to: editor@easternecho.com and include the words "Letter to the Editor" and the title of the article you are writing about in the subject line. Thank you.


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