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It should come as no surprise that people don’t always do the right thing; morality and decency are a lost commodity. For example, take the recent defamation lawsuit brought on by Jesse Ventura filed against former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, which continued against his estate after he was killed.
Losers Sue Syndrome
Obviously this strikes close to home; I can sit here and argue that the decent thing to do was to drop the lawsuit after Chris’ death, but obviously that didn’t happen and we’re all forced to live with the jury’s decision. I believe this strikes at the heart of a major wrong with our country these days. We are such a litigious society that it now seems the only way we can solve problems is to sue somebody. There’s this feeling of entitlement that’s rampant today. The bad news about all this is there are no winners, no one comes out on top.
While I’ve never had to endure a legal battle like the one Taya Kyle had to, I recently had to deal with some shenanigans that allowed me to see the true colors of folks who choose to threaten you with a lawsuit over a disagreement. I don’t blame them per se, there’s a lawsuit filed in America every 2 seconds, believe it or not. That is roughly 15 million per year or one lawsuit per every 12 adults, if you want to look at it another way. America has become the most litigious country in the world and we continue to drive down that path with lawsuits such as these, or even the constant threats of a lawsuit that many of us face.
There are more small businesses put out of business, because they literally cannot afford to go to court. They may be completely in the right regarding the law, but the other party has deeper pockets and it becomes a war of attrition. This practice has been going on for way too long and it’s really a cancer in our country. I’m sure we all remember the McDonalds’s hot coffee case that helped pave the way for others to follow, but here are some others too. Is there a case to be made for noble causes, of course there is, but the problem is that those are few and far between. We’re producing twice as many lawyers as there are positions, so it’s a good bet we’ll continue to see frivolous lawsuits to pay for college loans. After all, they get paid whether they win or not.
What Can You Do About It?
Enough of the bad, let’s talk about some good. I disagree with the lawsuit from the word go, but like I said earlier, I can’t do anything about it or the verdict. People are decrying Ventura as a pig, non-human and all other kinds of derogatory names. That’s all fine and I happen to have a few choice words myself, but I’ll reserve those for a private session. The fact that the lawsuit has been picked up by just about every news network, can be used to help get the word out about how to help the Kyle family.
This publicity needs to be focused more on the family, putting aside the lawsuit and thinking about Taya and the kids; the struggles they face on a daily basis. We can all do something. If you’re pissed off enough about the verdict do something; donate to the Chris Kyle Memorial Trust, set up to directly benefit the Kyle and Littlefield families. No management or legal fees are associated with this trust, 100% of the funds go directly to the families.
With all the publicity that’s focused on the negative right now, this is one way we can use it in a positive manner. Which we should do, because that’s the decent thing to do. #LLTB
Editor-in-Chief’s Note: We’ve had a lot of requests come in to ITS about doing something like a patch to benefit Chris Kyle’s family, but with Jeff Gonzales’ help, we feel this article and directing these efforts towards the Chris Kyle Memorial Trust is a better option.
Jeff Gonzales was a decorated and respected US Navy SEAL, serving as an operator and trainer who participated in numerous combat operations throughout the world. He now uses his modern warfare expertise as President of Trident Concepts, LLC., a battle proven company specializing in weapons, tactics and techniques to meet the evolving threat. Bringing the same high-intensity mindset, operational success and lessons learned from NSW to their training programs, TRICON has been recognized as an industry leader by various federal, state and local units. Organizations interested in training with TRICON can call 928-925-7038 or visit tridentconcepts.com for more information.
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First of all, Kyle made up a story about a former Governor and BROTHER Navy SEAL. Then he proceeded to publish it in a book and, in effect, make money off of it. Are you people telling me you wouldn't have a problem with that? Go ahead, fabricate a story about a public figure or celebrity and get it published and see if you don't get sued by that person. Every one of us would do the EXACT same thing that Ventura did if we felt the fabricated story had a real-time effect on our public reputation. Ventura filed the lawsuit more than a YEAR prior to Kyle's death. Kyle's death doesn't change the fact that the fabricated story, published by a MAJOR publishing company and marketed nationally, had a negative effect on Ventura's marketability. All this rubbish about Ventura "attacking Kyle's widow" is just that, absolute rubbish. A bunch of people are just jumping on the bandwagon because it makes them feel like they're defending a helpless damsel in distress from a big, bad, uncouth ogre when they don't even know the whole story. Basically the same things that's happening with politics in this country. People jump on a bandwagon because they like the buzzwords and catchphrases associated with it but they don't know what it is they're actually talking about. By the way, there's a REASON Ventura won the lawsuit. It wasn't frivolous. The fabricated event significantly changed the way people looked at Ventura, and when all of or a portion of your livelihood is based on your public image, you have to protect that public image from maliciously intended untruths.
Why aren't we questioning why Kyle would fabricate a story about Ventura, or at the very least, write something he knew to be factually untrue? Because he's dead? Get over it. Ventura had to prove that there was malice involved on the part of Kyle, and the jury thought he did so.
Also, you might be interested to know that the $1.8m awarded by the jury included $500,000 punitive for defamation and $1.3m for wrongful enrichment.
I was truly saddened by Chris Kyle's death. He was a hero the likes of which we very rarely see. But that does NOT excuse dishonorable and illegal behavior toward another human being, much less another American Citizen who has served this country both as a warfighter AND as a publicly elected official.
People need to get over themselves and STOP being so empassioned about a subject that they lose all semblance of independent thought. Stop letting your emotions turn you into SHEEP. Think for yourself. Decide for yourself. But, in order to do that, you have to SEEK out the truth and not just gobble up the lies and/or opinions you're being spoon-fed.
Mino1 You are a complete moron... You should do some research before posting your idiotic statements!
The law suit was not posted until six months after the event too place. I personally know Jesse ventura aka Jim Janos, he has always been a loud mouth braggart he claimed to be a SEAL - He never was. He claimed to have served in Vietnam - He never was... So tell me.... Who is the liar here? Who's good name was attacked?
Do your research!
After the $1.3M payment she'll still be a millionaire. Even if the story was true, why did Kyle publish it in the book? That's low! And, even if the story was true, why would Kyle physically assault a much older man? ...And we applaud this, why?
Great article Jeff. You are so correct in saying that we need to take the focus off the, uh hmm, plaintiff and do something positive fore Taya and the kids. People can talk all they want about what the family has or doesn't have, but bottom line, unless you know them personally, you don't know what they are going through and I can tell you, no amount of money in the would would ever be enough to replace the man I love. So, I will not allow the plaintiff to get any additional airtime from me. I will however, continue to praise Taya Kyle for being one of the strongest ladies out there. GOD bless you Taya.
I am not generally one to begrudge anything to individuals (and the families of individuals) who have served our country. That being said...
Do we really need to donate money to the Kyle family? We know from the court case that the sales of Chris Kyle's book alone brought in apx $6 million. That doesn't count the money that Chris Kyle earned from other endeavors prior to his passing, or any funds his family will continue to make from Craft International and other related businesses. The Kyle family is many things, but one thing it most certainly isn't is hurting for money. Even if the award from this suit is upheld a third of it is to be paid by the libel insurance held by the publisher. There are plenty of other organizations and trusts out that that provide for vets and their families, I personally feel our dollars would be put to much better use in those situations.
Well done with all your support but I must disagree with not producing a limited edition patch. My suggestion for the patch " F**K Off Jesse!" Get ready for the orders!
Our justice is not the best, best thing going though. Too many times for what ever reasons, PC, money et al, the wrong decisions come down. Will find the funds to help out.
We have too many lawsuits. We have too many attorneys. We have too many people who would rather work the system to make money than work to make money. But I think you’ve taken the wrong two cases to make your point.
First, the hot coffee case. In 2000, my company sent me to a seminar on Limiting Corporate Liability held at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. The McDonalds hot coffee case was one we reviewed. Imagine you’re a 79 year old woman, with all the limitations that implies: reduced manual dexterity, reduced mobility, reduced strength. You’re belted into the passenger seat of a car and somebody hands you a paper cup with a tight-fitting lid containing 6 ounces of liquid at 185 degrees Fahrenheit, hot enough to cause third degree burns in 7 seconds. To add sugar and cream, she has to remove the tight-fitting top. Remember, reduced manual dexterity and reduced strength. She spills the coffee. To avoid injury, she has to unlatch her belt, open the door, exit the vehicle and strip off her sweat pants. In less than 7 seconds. Remember reduced mobility. I don’t know if I could have done it that fast and I’m in pretty good shape.
It isn’t necessary to serve coffee at 185 degrees. And McDonalds had received more than 700 reports of people burned by their coffee in the 10 years prior to the incident, a number insufficient to cause McDonalds to reevaluate its practices, according to testimony. If I were the 79 year old lady and if I’d known those facts, I would have sued too. And the whole sorry mess could have been avoided if McDonalds had just dialed back the thermostats by ten or fifteen degrees to a still really hot 160 or so. But they couldn’t be bothered to do so. To me, that’s corporate indifference of the worst sort, and deserving of the lawsuit.
Now, Jesse Ventura. Whether you like or dislike his politics or his personality, he maintains that he did not say the things attributed to him by Chris Kyle. This would be no big deal except that Chris Kyle wrote a book and then told the media that he was talking about Ventura. Books and media comments are out there essentially forever. Once they are said, they can’t be unsaid. More to the point, now that Kyle has died, he can’t retract his statement. So what else could Ventura do to make sure people know the truth? He went through the judicial system. The best thing he could do now is not cash the check.
All that Ventura has is his word. That’s all that anyone has, really. And if someone says I lied, and does so publicly and in print, well, that’s deserving of a lawsuit, too.
Like I said, we have too many lawsuits. But some lawsuits are justified.
What if Kyle Chris punched out an impersonater who he thought was the real guy?
The problem with the lawsuit is that it makes someone out to be a liar. The reality is both people can be right.
It's my hope that both the Kyle and Littlefield families will have some peace very soon. The battles they've all had to face since these senseless murders is more than I can even begin to imagine. Great article, @Jeff L Gonzales Thanks for speaking up and helping to turn the focus where it should be.
Actually Shane makes a valid point. We have fought in these last two wars for years now, three if you count Vietnam and what good has come out of them? Look at Iraq, it's worst now then before, and Afghanistan isn't any better. These are tribal countries who operate by a different set of rules and standards. They are not going to adopt the American way of life. Sure you take out a terrorist here and there and five more spring up to take his place. How much has these wars cost is in human life, how much have we driven up the U.S., debt in these wars?
As far as the law suit goes, when we have 4.44% of the worlds population and 70% of the worlds lawyers, who can really be surprised?
I'm shocked at the negative comments brought about by such a great idea. Thank you for trying to help the family in such a powerful way and for a great article. Also, the ability to stay professional in a comments section can be hard when being called a murderer. If Chris was a mass murderer then were all held to the same standard. Fortunately, I don't think this in any way represents the opinion of the average American. Chris was a great sniper but he was also a great American. Thanks again brother.
I think you might have this wrong here:
And you are definitely wrong about the McDonald's coffee lawsuit:
I'm not an attorney, just think it's important to have a clear understanding and not jump to conclusions from a lack of understanding of actual facts.
Kyle was a mass murderer. Plain and simple. Why do people worship this guy?!? Jesse Ventura may be an ass, but he was totally in the right to defend himself.
Jesse aka James Janos was in my training class # 58, Jesse graduated UDT Traing and was assigned to UDT, He was never a SEAL! He left the Navy after his four years to become a wrestler... Jesse NEVER served a day in Vietnam, as he claimed when he ran for governer. He also left the TEAMS before they merged UDT AND SEALs, so again.... He was NEVER a navy SEAL.
BACK IN THE DAY... Many of us would fight amongst each other, that's what happens when you put a bunch of Alpha males together... None of us would ever THINK about suing over a fight, let alone going after a team mates wife!
Jesse is no team brother of mine.... He is a low life loser seeking public attention, and he is the worst representative for the teams since its inception. He just cannot keep his BIG MOUTH shut, which is why Chris shut it for him!
To go after a team mates widow in a lawsuit, Is about as low as anyone in the teams can go... I hope that nothing but misfortune falls on Jesse for his despicable actions, he has NO honor whatsoever!
@Damocles Correction: Chris Kyle was a hero the likes of which we very rarely know about Most decide not to write books for 98% of the money.
@Damocles I don't think you know what you're talking about. Kyle never mentions him by name in the book. He did eventually mention Ventura's name on the Opie and Anthony show, but unless he was paid for that interview, he didn't make money off of saying that about Ventura. Plenty of witnesses stood up for Kyle, so you are calling them liars too. This vs Ventura who made a career of being a fake wrestler and an actor (where people pretend to be someone else). Kyle's military career is well documented and was interesting enough that he didn't need to lie about an incident to sell books. Maybe you need to do a little bit more thinking and some more research.
@GIJenn4VETERANS Jesse Ventura, or Jim Janos if you like. Thought I would help you out. He was right, and he won. She could have just as easily released a statement that the story wasn't true.
If no amount of money will help- then why bother with this now? Wait, money does help, everything is harder when you are poor, and she is not. I have no malice towards the widow of Kyle- but I have not respect for him, and plenty for Ventura for standing up to this BS and clearing his name.
The smear existed whether or not Kyle was alive.
Jesse Ventura is certainly not "hurting for money" either, so I fail to see why he needed to pursue the lawsuit after Kyle's death. His reputation is going to suffer a whole lot more because of this lawsuit than because of allegedly saying something stupid at a bar and getting smacked for it. Going after Kyle's widow? Really? Forget the debate of whether he was UDT or a SEAL, the bastard ain't even a man. Fuck Jesse, I hope his fat ass gets a heart attack.
@Norseman 762 how eloquent....... (look it up)
@Mike R I was just going to post this very same thing. 3rd degree burns, and two years of therapy after skin grafts- she was right in the suit.
I also agree that Ventura did the right thing. Kyle does not have a track record of trustworthy public statements (look up his claim that he killed people after Katrina around the superdome, or his shooting of two robbers at a gas station, both have since been proven false), and while Ventura is all about public image and does not impress me, he still won.
He originally sued Kyle, then the ESTATE, and had multiple witnesses. Leave him alone. The story should have never been written in the first place- and the names certainly should NEVER have been made public.
@Shane I didn't go to war to fight for the ideals of politicians. I went for my brothers to my right and left. Pure and simple that is it. If you don't agree with the choices that our elected officials make, then you have the power to change that. It's called voting. Vote for presidents an senators and representatives and governors and mayors and city councilmen that are not expansionist. Get involved.
The past is the past at this point, like it or not.
@Shane Kyle WAS NOT a mass murderer. He was a enlisted Navy SEAL who was sent into a live combat zone UNDER ORDERS to locate and eliminate ENEMY HOSTILE THREATS to our troops and the people in Afghanistan. Your use and context of the the word murderer is completely wrong and inappropriate. Whether or not you agree with our nation's policy or our actions during the war on terror, calling ANY serviceman or servicewoman a murderer is inconsiderate. Our service members fight and sometimes die so that you can exercise your right to say whatever you want, but that doesn't make what you say right or the truth. Next time, use your head for something besides keeping your ears from fighting.
@BillyAllmon Dude, stop reciting this misleading TRASH! He didn't go after the widow!! After Kyle's death the PRE-EXISTING lawsuit got filed against the Kyle ESTATE, NOT against Taya Kyle. There is a difference! Get it through your thick skull! The jury of Kyle's PEERS found that not only did he benefit from his LIES, but found also that he told them in an attempt to HARM Ventura's well-being (i.e. his public image). Chris Kyle was not a perfect person. He, like everyone, did some things that were of questionable integrity. Get over it. Or don't. At least stop misleading people.
@BillyAllmon Oh, you're right. The pictures show Ventura's bruised face! Not.
@BillyAllmon Right on my brother.
@NorseHawkeye First off... The sales of his book went through the roof after he claimed that the guy in the story was Ventura, so yes, he did make money from that interview one way or another.
Secondly, the witnesses couldn't even get their stories straight... which is why Kyle's estate lost. Ventura's evidence beat out the stories of a bunch of drunks who would say anything to prevent the sullying of one of their brothers . The book also claimed that the guy (later said to be Ventura) had a black eye the next day. People who saw him the next day attested to the fact that he was in no way the recipient of a bruise on his face. The best part is, that Kyle, when questioned couldn't even account for how he knew Ventura had a black eye.
Just like his story about shooting 2 guys who tried to steal his truck, this too was based off of lies.
Oh he was taking orders, well then, I stand corrected. He was a paid, order-following, mass murderer. And Plaidman, no one has fought for my rights in the desert, they only fought to strip others of theirs. Inconsiderate is being okay with the needless death of the million dead Iraqis that resulted from order-following "heros" like Kyle. Murder is murder unless it's in defense. The agressor is not the defender, sorry.
And as for Kyle's stories, this wouldn't be the first one that turned out to be BS. Between his story about taking out "bad guys" during Katrina in New Orleans to the body-less self defense story about the foiled attempt at taking of his truck at a gas station, half of what he has ever said cannot be proven.
@Reed042 No, I'm not trolling. We celebrate the invasion of countries and the slaughter of it's inhabitants as "fighting for freedom". The war on terror was a joke. It was a blanket excuse to invade anywhere the US government wanted to. If someone invaded your land for something you had no part in, shot you and your family
Our military is used to destabilize countries, other than that what have they done? So besides the fact that I feel sorry for his family, I have to wonder why he gets so much love from everyone. He did the job he was hired to do, he murdered for his government.
As for Ventura, like I said, he's an ass... but he was defamed, and he fought back.
@Shane All the book sales going through the roof proves is that the account of the incident put his book out there to a wider audience. It doesn't prove that he made money exclusively off that account. As far as your statements about the witnesses, have you read the transcripts? I haven't, but I would very much like to read them, so if you know a source where we can all read them, please provide it. You say that friends of Kyle would do anything to back up their brother, yet it doesn't occur to you that friends of Ventura might lie to protect him? Ever heard of makeup? According to the book, Kyle says, "rumor has it that he showed up to BUDS graduation with a black eye." He never said that he personally witnessed it. I do not recall the story about him shooting two guys being in the book. It IS however, in Marcus Luttrell's second book, so you're calling him a liar too.
@Shane @Reed042 Thanks again Shane for your input, it sounds like your tours of duty in these countries left you with a bad taste in your mouth. Strange how my and my brothers opinion's are different.