Another Kind of American Hero: Taya Kyle and how love can manifest resurrection

One of the reasons that I am most happy about the astounding support and box office numbers for the new Clint Eastwood movie, American Sniper is because of the redemption it is bringing to the widow of the slain military hero Chris Kyle—the most deadly sniper in US history. In the span of two years Taya Kyle has had to deal with the death of her husband, a defamation lawsuit by Jessie Ventura, and the ongoing circumstances of the trial of her husband’s murderer Eddie Ray Routh. It has been a painful period for her—the pressure would have crushed lesser people. But she held up and stood strong, and finally through Eastwood’s movie her husband’s memory has been given proper context and a bit of closure has finally become possible. It was commendable that she held it together when attorneys told her to let things die down before making too many public statements because of the upcoming murder trial. The movie was planned before Chris Kyle’s death, so it took a lot of emotional stability for her to continue with the project—which few are talking about. It had to be difficult. And when she was told to put a lid on her comments—she did what she felt was right to preserve her family’s memory—which is one of the most heroic aspects of American Sniper.

On Feb. 11, Eddie Ray Routh is scheduled to stand trial for killing Chris Kyle, the former Navy SEAL played by Bradley Cooper in the film. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Routh, who confessed to shooting the deadliest sniper in American history and Kyle’s friend Chad Littlefield two years ago at a rifle range southwest of Dallas. Routh, a former Marine, plans to introduce evidence that he was experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder and mount an insanity defense, but the enormous profile of Kyle in the wake of American Sniper‘s success could present some complications.

The Warner Bros. film “is going to be an issue,” J. Warren St. John, Routh’s attorney, tells The Hollywood Reporter in an interview. “Can there be a fair trial?”

Then there was the Jessie Ventura case where the former wrestler, governor, and conspiracy theorists went after Taya just because her husband had damaged his ego in a best-selling book.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune explains…

In a section of his book called “Punching Out Scruff Face,” Kyle describes a confrontation with a “celebrity” at a 2006 wake for a Navy SEAL. He claimed “Scruff Face” made disparaging remarks about the war, the United States and President George W. Bush, provoking Kyle to punch him in the face.

Kyle later identified “Scruff Face” as Ventura.

In a federal trial last summer, Ventura won a $1.8 million verdict from the Kyle estate after convincing a jury that Chris Kyle had defamed him by writing that he decked Ventura in a bar after he made disparaging remarks about SEALs. Taya Kyle is the executor of the estate.

For Ventura it is obvious it was always about the money because he has done far more to damage his own reputation than the bragging rights of two military veterans in a bar arguing over the Iraq war. The differences between the two men are essentially the differences between Glenn Beck and Alex Jones. Taya is personal friends with Glenn Beck because their values about things are essentially aligned. Jessie Ventura is friends with Alex Jones because their values are aligned. Both are considered radical right-wingers, but they are ideologically as different as the sun and the moon. They only thing they really have in common is that they are both located in space.

Ventura made an absolute fool of himself during the trial. If the debate was with Chris Kyle, Ventura should have let it go upon his death. But to go over a grieving widow was below respectable, and he will always be known for such a gross embarrassment. And now that American Sniper is succeeding, Ventura is considering more lawsuits. It is simply unbelievable that a man would stoop so low—yet Ventura did. I think Ventura’s actions were unfathomable. No reputation is worth putting a widow through what he did. If Taya had emotionally collapsed after such an example of human vileness after the trial went against her—nobody would have blamed her.

But then came the murder trail of her husband and the concern that the killer was planning to plea guilty by reason of insanity. With all the popularity surrounding her husband it looked like Eddie Ray Routh wouldn’t be able to get a fair trial. So there was risk of messing up the trial if she continued to promote the film. But to her credit, knowing that there are serious flaws in the court process anyway—which lean in favor of Eddie Ray Routh by default—she would only get one chance to pay proper respect to her husband and that was through the Clint Eastwood film.

It really is an amazing story both on-screen and off. Through it all Taya Kyle has emerged as a hero in her own right. Her children are extremely lucky to have two parents who have provided them with such magnificent guidance. They have a hero to look up to in their father immortalized forever in the movie American Sniper—and they have a mother who has stood up to some very ominous opposition and tribulations to punch through to the kind of redemption American Sniper has given to her family. According to her husband’s killer she lost her husband to a man who simply wanted Kyle’s F-250 pick-up truck. Such a stupid loss of life over something so trivial would impact Taya forever. Fast forward to the present where pinheaded attorneys are telling her not to jeopardize the murder case by promoting American Sniper. Fortunately she has enough experience after getting burned over the Ventura case to know that she will likely not get justice in the Eddie Ray Routh case either. The best thing she could do for her husband was to get behind American Sniper—and let the legal world choke on itself.

Taya’s story is only one of the many circling the American Sniper movie. Her heroics in the face of much misery is defiantly fuel behind the quality of the movie. Eastwood has obviously captured her spirit in his film—and it makes the movie much better. It is just one example of the kind of extraordinary feats surpassed to bring American Sniper to the big screen and why it is such a triumph to see the movie getting so much support from the public. Any other director but Eastwood would have been caught up in all the emotional drama and the film could have languished for years in development—because of all the legal cases pending. But because of Eastwood, filming started, concluded, and was distributed before the lawyers could find ways to stumble the project—which is another miracle in itself. Legal fights, grieving family members and a left-leaning Hollywood society violently against the end result. Only Clint Eastwood could have made the picture.

Like all parasites who want to suddenly hook their wagon to the star of the deceased Chris Kyle, Ventura is at it again claiming that because of his defamation suit against Taya American Sniper had a tremendous boost in sales—so he wants some of that money too. The link to the story is below. Ventura’s friend Alex Jones claims that Eastwood’s American Sniper is a giant hoax where the U.S. government is using its soldiers as propaganda pieces only to discard them when they cease to be useful. Jones utters that the whole project is designed to brainwash the American people that war is good for our society. But it is Taya who will laugh last as America has her back by supporting American Sniper at the box office. Living well is the best revenge, and because of her heroic stand against so many bullies after her husband’s death, she will get that redemption. And she deserves it.

For every ticket sold in favor of watching American Sniper, a bad guy somewhere weeps. So for God’s sake, see the movie as many times as you can possibly can.   Taya Kyle deserves the wind in her sails that will come from it. Yeah, Chris Kyle was and is an American hero. But, his wife in many different ways was just as heroic. And that is a truly magnificent story worthy of a sequel to American Sniper.

Rich Hoffman

Visit Cliffhanger Research and Development


  1. So far we are 2/2 on movies we loved. American Sniper is simply outstanding, and how sad and ironic that this hero was killed before the movie was completed.


  2. Also did not realize until after the movie that it was sienna miller playing the wife? Wow.
    One of those movies that stay with you for a long time, and at the end when everyone was pinning their medals…wow.
    Jv is a despicable person.


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