Walkabout In The Weminuche Wilderness

Herschel Smith · 05 Aug 2018 · 39 Comments

"There are no socialists in the bush" - HPS All of my physical training only barely prepared me for the difficulty of the Weminuche Wilderness (pronounced with the "e" silent).  It's National Forest land, not National Park.  The Department of Agriculture no longer prints maps of the area, so we relied on NatGeo for the map, and it's good, but not perfect. We have a lot of ground to cover, including traveling with firearms, the modification I made to one of my guns for the trip, the actors…… [read more]

Interview With Chris Kyle

BY Herschel Smith
4 years, 4 months ago

Review Of American Sniper

BY Herschel Smith
4 years, 4 months ago

I went to see American Sniper this weekend.  But first, this from Deadline Hollywood:

While the competition did well this weekend against the titan American Sniper, some executives griped that the Eastwood film shaved off dollars off their initial projections.

“It felt like we opened against a Marvel movie,” said one studio executive about Sniper‘s presence. “The people portrayed in American Sniper – these are real-life heroes to people in the same way that Marvel characters are heroes to fanboys. But it’s the Marvel concept for adults.”

[ … ]

Warner Bros. preferred not to comment on the lofty figures, which makes sense because it’s better to get another day under your belt as the weekend progresses and projections become more exact. All over town, executives are gobsmacked by the opening traction for this movie, the highest ever in Eastwood’s career …

In sum, American Sniper is an amazing feat for Warner Bros. On the surface, the film appeared risky with its anti-war message.

Only an idiot would compare this to Marvel.  Enough said about that.  The fact that executives are “gobsmacked” makes perfect sense.  The theater was full when I went, and full for the next showing, and I suspect full for the entire weekend.  Football sucks anyway, so where’s the choice?  Executives are “gobsmacked” because they are disconnected to reality.  They think since they have a certain world view, others must have it as well.  They’re stupid, and if the goal is to make money, I could have told them how to make a whole lot more a long time ago.

As to the last point in the horrible article I cited, there is no way this film can be construed as anti-war.  It isn’t pro-war, and it isn’t anti-war.  It’s a stunning panorama of skill, life and death.  It is as engaging as any film I have ever seen, and after the film you feel as though you know both Chris Kyle and his wife.  It’s a portrait of heroism, love, devotion, a life well-lived, and a death that came too soon.

I do have one nit (and I’m not entirely sure that it’s a nit if I’m wrong).  During an early scene in Fallujah in the 2004 time frame, one of Chris’s colleagues says something about the Marines who are there that sounds strange.  “Six months ago, they were civilian.”  As for my son, by the time he was out of boot camp, took the necessary break, went to School of Infantry (SOI), got out and was assigned to fleet, about six months had elapsed.  Then he had fleet training, the workup to deployment in Iraq being a full year (e.g., squad rushes, time at virtually every military range in America, training and extensive practice time in room clearing, room clearing with night vision gear, designated marksman training [at least for my son], and so on the list goes, including a time at the end with live tissue training).  If the Marines were actually deploying men to Fallujah six months after enlistment, that’s a real problem.  I doubt they were.

Finally, I like Chris Kyle’s weapons kit.  It seems to me that he (and his colleagues) chose right.  A pistol (although I don’t like the choice for pistol), a carbine (5.56), and bolt action rifle with high power glass for long range shooting (I believe he was shooting .338).

I’m probably partial to the exploits of Carlos Hathcock and his ingress, concealment and egress.  But there is no questioning the fact that Chris Kyle is the most prolific sniper in American history.  Reward yourself with a visit to the theater to see this one.


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