Ron Paul's controversial tweet about slain Navy SEAL
February 4th, 2013
01:59 PM ET
5 years ago

Ron Paul's controversial tweet about slain Navy SEAL

(CNN) - Former Rep. Ron Paul, normally known for his online popularity, drew criticism Monday for asserting a political opinion in a tweet about the Navy SEAL who was killed at a gun range this weekend.

The three-time presidential candidate and longtime congressman from Texas is known for his staunch opposition to U.S. military involvement. While he doesn't describe himself as an "isolationist," he has won favor among libertarians for opposing military intervention in other countries.

Kyle, 38, had claimed a record number of sniper killings in Iraq and said in an interview that he had no regrets about the 160 people he shot during his five combat tours in Iraq.

The former SEAL with two silver stars was an outspoken defender of Second Amendment rights and also helped form a foundation that assisted military veterans struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder. Kyle was killed along with another veteran, Chad Littlefield. The two had arrived at the shooting range together Saturday with the suspect, Eddie Ray Routh.

In a post to Facebook Monday night, Paul elaborated more on his comment.

"As a veteran, I certainly recognize that this weekend's violence and killing of Chris Kyle were a tragic and sad event. My condolences and prayers go out to Mr. Kyle’s family," the post stated. "Unconstitutional and unnecessary wars have endless unintended consequences. A policy of non-violence, as Christ preached, would have prevented this and similar tragedies. -REP"

While Paul has also been known as an advocate for gun rights, his comment earlier on Twitter quickly drew fire for going over the line.

Some, however, sided with Paul. The tweet was "favorited" by 85 people about an hour after the post.

Paul, also a doctor, has a record of defending gun ownership. Weeks after the Newtown, Connecticut elementary school shooting, the former congressman posted on his congressional website that he agrees "more guns equals less crime" and that "private gun ownership prevents many shootings."

He also came out against calls for more gun control, saying people should not view "government legislation, especially at the federal level, as the solution to violence."

Filed under: Gun control • Gun rights • Ron Paul
soundoff (45 Responses)
  1. nothing new here

    Ron Paul has always told it like it is. Awesome.
    Responsible gun ownership is not the problem. The problem is gun owners that DO NOT take responsibility for their weapons of choice, or the people that could gain access to these weapons. Be responsible!!!!
    And I agree with Ron Paul supporters...get our military out of these third-world countries.

    February 4, 2013 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  2. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Sorry to say this, but Paul is right. Our military men and women are trained to kill in combat, it can be a challenge to turn that switch off especially by use of the same killing weapon.

    February 4, 2013 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  3. rs

    Sure this is a tragic event. But really- giving a mentally unstable individual a gun and going shooting? No one thought something like this might result?

    I hope it puts to bed the whole crazy notion that "good guys with guns" somehow prevail.

    February 4, 2013 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  4. Tim

    Even a stopped clock gets it right twice a day. This is one of those times. Iraq was a war started on a lie. The Iraqi people were guilty of nothing more than defending their country. He who lives by the bullet dies by the bullet – how is this assessment wrong?

    February 4, 2013 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  5. The Real Tom Paine

    I hate to admit it, but I agree with Paul's statement that treating PTSD at a firing range is questionable at best. As much as Chris Kyle was admirable for trying to reach out to troubled vets, I would love to know what clinical proof he had that taking a PTSD case to firing range was going to help this man. Kyle's arrognce killed him as much as the round that was fired into him.

    February 4, 2013 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  6. Rudy NYC

    Any murder is a tragedy, and this one is no exception. However, I wish to point out that this murder is typical of most gun related homicides. The victim owned a gun and had it on their person when they were fatally shot..

    February 4, 2013 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  7. Anthony in California

    So a "Super sniper" with a weapon, at a gun range, surrounded by many others, WITH weapons, was shot and killed at close range.... but arming school teachers and arming more of society is the answer to curbing gun violence???

    This incident alone should be enough to shut up any logical, common sense individual.. but this STILL wont happen.

    February 4, 2013 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  8. Randy, San Francisco

    Dumb, stupid, and insensitive statement. Ron Paul apologists just don't get it.

    February 4, 2013 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  9. G.Awekam

    I agree with Paul on this one, Jesus is the one who said ( Those who live by the sword/gun will be taken by the sword/gun) You can't call yourself Christian ( a follower of Christ) and go on murdering people defending their own country and brag about it in a book, remember he volunteered to do this, no one forced him to kill and he did it in the most cowardly way ( hiding behind the bush and from very far away killing a human being.

    February 4, 2013 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  10. Rick McDaniel doesn't make sense. The environment triggers reactions, that are the cause of the problem itself, and that would be a foolish way to try and overcome that type of condition.

    February 4, 2013 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  11. Donna

    Ron Paul served in the military didn't he? This just confirms in my mind that this guy is off his rocker.

    February 4, 2013 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  12. John the Historian

    As Eisenhower said beware of the military-industrial complex. And as I say imagine a bake sale for the military but we have them for education.

    February 4, 2013 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  13. James Klimaski

    Ron Paul is correct. What a risky thing to do – taking a mentally unstable individual to a shooting range. That is inviting trouble. It is not at all rehabilitative. However, Rand Paul probably would think it a good idea. Compared to his father, Rand lacks any real cognitive ability.

    February 4, 2013 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  14. Canuck

    @Rick McDaniel
    " doesn't make sense"

    Holy s*it – I just found myself in agreement with Rick McDaniel!!! I think Chris Kyle was an idiot to boast about how many Iraqis he had killed – especially given the fact they were defending their country from illegal invaders.

    February 4, 2013 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  15. nothing new here

    Randy, San Francisco

    Dumb, stupid, and insensitive statement. Ron Paul apologists just don't get it.
    Why would any sensible person give a seriously mentally ill person a gun?
    The timing of this comment may have been swift, but I believe Ron Paul just shed new light on this debate. Good job, Ron Paul.

    February 4, 2013 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  16. JARROD

    The first quote is from The Book of Revelation, and that must be where people stopped reading. The latter part made perfect sense. You wouldn't take a serial rapist to and all girls school for therapy would you?

    February 4, 2013 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  17. Rudy NYC

    The Real Tom Paine

    I hate to admit it, but I agree with Paul's statement that treating PTSD at a firing range is questionable at best. As much as Chris Kyle was admirable for trying to reach out to troubled vets, I would love to know what clinical proof he had that taking a PTSD case to firing range was going to help this man.
    I suppose that the suspect, Eddie Ray Routh, met Chris Kyle's definition of a "law abiding citizen." The shooter at Newtown was another "law abiding citizen", who was also taken by someone to shooting ranges.

    February 4, 2013 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  18. BK

    The dude shot him in the back, Im waiting for it to come back as meth or something else other than PTSD.

    RIP Mr. Kyle

    Who says "killing weapons"? Really? Thats kind of what all weapons due, they are not used for tickle fights.

    February 4, 2013 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  19. David

    They hate the truth Dr. Paul. Keep telling it!

    February 4, 2013 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  20. The Real Tom Paine

    Taking a PTSD case to a firing range is like taking a recovering alcoholic to tour and enjoy samples of Old #7 at the Jack Daniel's Distillery. What a tragic example of the hubris of human beings.

    February 4, 2013 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  21. David

    Oh this is normal. Dr. Paul was booed for using the "golden rule". That tells me enough about his "Christian" non-suporters. Pro-drone, pro-children murdering "Christians" who most likely never served a day.

    February 4, 2013 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  22. Sniffit

    PTSD is precisely the kind of mental illness that should be considered very carefully in terms of whether someone is fit enough to carry a firearm in civilian life. Those of you who want to pretend that it's not or want to claim that it somehow indicates disrespect for our troops are clearly not wililng to have a rational conversation about this. Ron Paul just pulled a "broken clock is right twice a day" move. Kyle pretended to know all about guns and gun safety etc., but didn't have the freekin common sense to not stick guns in the hands of someone unfit to carry them.

    That a man who wrote a book bragging about all the killing he accomplished with his guns would end up killed by a gun: right...file that one under "shocking" and "unexpected" and "who'd a thunk?" and we can all join in pretending to be shocked, suprised, nonplussed and completely without any answers over tomorrow's deadly shootings....and the next day, and the next day, and the next day, and the next day etc....all 100% suprises that we never saw coming.

    February 4, 2013 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  23. cbp

    This whole situation reminds us how war can cause so many problems for those who return from duty. Unfortunately, Mr. Kyle has touted his prowess as a sniper and probably made people wonder why he thought he needed to do so, The Navy Seals are a very elite group within the Navy. We will never know a complete history of what they have done. However, we owe them a debt of gratitude for every necessary assignment. That being said, I have not read or heard Seals bragging about their abilities. There is a problem when we brag about how many people we have killed even if it is in wartime.

    The government did not set up enough programs to help returning warriors after they had served their assignment in Afghanistan or Iraq or after they were wounded and returned home. It took years for the government to set up programs because the Bush administration did not seem to feel they were necessary. Congress did not choose to do so either. The result has been murders, suicides, flashbacks which diminish a soldiers ability to focus, etc. The government is playing catch-up both with the number of programs and the number of soldiers who can be accommodated. Congress needs to do better.

    I believe that Ron Paul knows that

    February 4, 2013 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  24. Bob houstonName

    To bad he was in a place where someone with a gun could not help him we need armed guards at all firing ranges

    February 4, 2013 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  25. Ianni

    To the commentor stating that this was done at a range surrounded by people with guns is wrong. The media really should not be calling this a range, it is more of a wilderness resort with an outdoor gun range on the premises. No one witnessed the shooting and a "park ranger" was the one to find the two bodies well after the incident took place. If it happened at a gun range with others nearby, I am sure the suspect wouldn't have been able to get away to a vehicle.

    February 4, 2013 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
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