American Sniper: The Psychology of Killing
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American Sniper, the most recent American box office hit and Clint Eastwood’s most successful film to date - nominated for 6 Oscars and winning the Best Achievement in Sound Editing Category - is a biographical film based on the most lethal sniper in US military history. Background The film is based on Chris Kyle who, with 255 kills (160 officially confirmed by the Department of Defense), is the deadliest marksman in the history of the US military. After the US embassy bombings of 1998 Kyle decided to enlist for the US Navy; he was eventually accepted for SEAL training and became a Navy SEAL sniper. The September 11th attacks of 2001 led to Kyle being sent to Iraq, leaving his wife behind. The first people he killed were a woman and a boy who used a grenade to attack US Marines. Despite being upset by the experience of killing, he’s given the nickname ‘legend’ for his many successful kills and is soon assigned to hunt for Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of terrorist group al-Qaeda. In total Kyle serves in Iraq four times, seeing many friends and colleagues die and missing the birth of his son and daughter. On his return from the fourth tour, he struggles more than ever to adjust back to ‘normal’ life and tells a psychiatrist that he’s haunted and plagued by those he was unable to save. He is encouraged to help injured soldiers at the VA hospital and starts coaching severely injured veterans at a shooting range. All of this helps him re-adjust to civilian life. In 2013, a fully-recovered Kyle says goodbye to his family for a day at the shooting range. On this day, Chris Kyle – considered a hero – was killed by a veteran he was trying to help.
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