Thirteen months ago, I wrote a piece in which I compared Chris Kyle, the former Navy SEAL and lead author of the book, American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History, to former Green Beret Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart, the man whose life I chronicled in my first nonfiction book, Three Days In August. Then, late Saturday night, I read a shocking news report about Kyle being shot to death at a gun range. Amidst so much anti-gun vitriol floating about these days, something didn’t seem right, but I couldn’t place it.
Things started to come together today, however, after I saw a graphic posted by a Facebook friend. It showed the images of three firearms experts in the United States — Keith Ratliff, 32; John Noveske, 36; and Kyle, 38 — and information about their untimely deaths — all within a one-month period.
On Jan. 7, Guns.com reported the death of Noveske three days earlier after driving off a highway and “crashing into boulders.”
On Jan. 8, Defense Review reported reported the death of Noveske, describing him, among other things, as “known for building high-end/high-quality AR-15 rifles.”
Also on Jan. 8, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Ratliff had been shot once in the head on the evening of Jan. 3.
Alone, any one of the three deaths could be overlooked. Viewed together, however, it’s difficult to believe foul play is beyond the realm of possibilities.
It will be interesting to see if my suspicions “grow legs” beyond this page.