Eastwood’s “American Sniper” reminds us all of the true cost of war

by Lawrence Knorr

CAMP HILL, PA — As the film ended, after nearly 2 1/2 hours, the credits ran and no one stood.  No one spoke.  No one reached for their phone.  As the last credit rolled, all quietly stood — a room of over 300 movie patrons who were total strangers to one another.  Quietly and politely, as if at a solemn funeral, each exited their rowMV5BMTkxNzI3ODI4Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMjkwMjY4MjE@._V1_SX214_AL_ and walked to the door.  Some spoke only in hushed tones as we emptied out.  To say “American Sniper” had an impact on the audience would be an understatement.  It was the most powerful reaction to a film I have ever witnessed.

Why this reaction?  Since there were no exchanges with the patrons, I can only imagine they were thinking similarly to me.  Eastwood’s movie had struck an inner chord of human nature — a deep sense of loss coupled with the sincere respect for Chris Kyle, the Navy Seal played by Bradley Cooper.  But, that’s not the only thing.  In fact, the overriding realization is the cost of war — whether it is the mental anguish a soldier faces, or the horrors the populace in a war zone encounters, or the early deaths of so many on both sides, or the toll on the families back home — during and after the conflict.

This was not a film that glorified war — or the SEALs — or our country’s invasion of  Iraq.  It was not NRA propaganda or a recruiting tool for sniper training.  Those that are trying to make more out of it than an honest appraisal of the human price paid in such conflicts are completely off base.

If nothing else, regardless of our beliefs and all of the disagreements we have among us as Americans, we must rally behind our veterans — especially those that served in battle zones, and especially those that carry the scars, whether physical or mental.  These men and women served our country.  Whether or not you are proud of the results or agreed with the circumstances, I urge you to please support them.

If you haven’t seen the film and are unsure about how you feel about our veterans, the $9.50 per ticket to see “American Sniper” is worth every penny.

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Nude body found in Letort Spring near Carlisle, Cumberland County, PA

CARLISLE, Pa.Sunbury Press has released J. M. West’s second installment of the Carlisle Crime CasesCourting Doubt and Darkness – A Christopher Snow and Erin McCoy Mystery.

About the Book:
cdad_fcIn the second Carlisle Crimes Case, Courting Doubt and Darkness, Homicide Detectives Christopher Snow and Erin McCoy tail a killer who stymies the police with multiple MO’s. While McCoy testifies at the trial of sisters who kidnapped her in Dying for Vengeance, Snow and Savage recover a  nude body from the Letort Spring. While tracking sparse clues, another killing surfaces  that rings alarms: the victims were connected. The chase leads to an active Marcellus oil rig. As police tangle with hostile suspects, they are courting doubt and darkness, leaving the comfort of Carlisle to the wilds of the Raccoon Mountain. When eight-month pregnant McCoy joins the case, she discovers her Native American relatives are involved. Then she stumbles into the killer’s path!  Join them on their journey!

Excerpt:
Carlisle Police Department’s Senior Detective Christopher Snow hammered the Wrangler’s brakes to avoid blowing through the red light on R 15 south of Lewisburg. “Shit!” Glancing in his rear view and side mirrors for any flashing lights and cocking his head to catch a siren’s whine, he huffed a sigh when none materialized. Oh, he could flash his shield, but that wasn’t setting much of an example.

The recorder on the seat beside him shifted. Snow picked it up, leaned over to open the glove box and tossed it in. His thumbs drummed the steering wheel, waiting impatiently for green while traffic piled up behind him. Unease gripped his gut, and experience had taught him to pay attention. “What spooked that woman during our interview?” he mumbled. “What had she gained from her husband’s death? Her inheritance seemed typical.” The query about her job caused her to break eye contact and cross her arms defensively across her chest. “Why? Because she knows more than she’s telling.” He talked to himself a lot since he’d ordered his wife and partner, Detective Erin McCoy, who usually accompanied him, to man the war room and feed him information when he needed it. “Damn it, woman, why can’t you follow orders?” He had also assigned his former partner Reese Savage to assist Mac, since the Chief relegated him to desk duty.

Neither answered the phone in Conference One when he called for a background check on Greer. CPD had consolidated the case files, data, listed info on white boards on their homicide and two other related ones—at the RV parked along the Susquehanna near Winfield and the Safety Coordinator’s body at the West Enterprises’ Williamsport well.

Worry forced him to accelerate. He dialed HQ again and left a terse message for both. “I need to know what I’m up against!” Part of the Marcellus Shale zone beneath Penn’s Woods, West Enterprises’active well was ‘fracking,’ or shattering the shale with millions of gallons of water, sand and over 500 chemicals miles underneath the surface to free the natural gas and oil, which then flowed to the surface through the horizontal pipes and up the vertical well, to be delivered to consumers.

He dialed Mac’s cell. It went to voicemail. “This is important; neither you nor Savage are at HQ working this case? Where the hell are you?” He snapped the clamshell shut. “You’re both insubordinate, so you’d better have a damn good explanation for your absence!” When his cell chirped, he checked the caller: HQ. “About damn time.”

Snow hit talk. “Hello? Where the hell have you two been?”

Savage explained that they’d gone to BWI to arrest Abigail Benedict for the murder of Mindy Murphy. Then he put Mac on speakerphone to summarize Sienna Greer’s arrest record, which included a DV incident, several DUIs and a road rage incident.

“Chris, where are you exactly?” Erin asked.

He dialed back his anger and gazed at the water. “About twelve miles south of Lewisburg.” The river, a beautiful silvery ribbon slipping downstream, the sun playing upon the waves. Silver and gold reflections darted back and forth, refracted into a thousand dancing crosses of light. What he wouldn’t give to spend a few hours…

While the Susquehanna distracted him, a blue semi barreled out of nowhere, bearing down on him, gaining ground quickly. Though there was room to pass, the trucker just mowed down the highway toward his Jeep. He checked the rear-view mirror as the cab loomed into view. Too late, he floored his accelerator as he veered into the outside lane, the truck following.

Suddenly, squealing breaks and metal smacking metal followed, crunching and what sounded like dragging. His last conscious thought was Mac yelling into the phone. “Describe your location!”

About the Author:
JMWCourting Doubt and Darkness
is the second in the Carlisle Crime Cases series of murder/mysteries featuring Homicide detectives Christopher Snow and Erin McCoy by Jody McGibney West, pseudonym for Joan M. West, Professor Emerita of English Studies at Harrisburg Area Community College, The Gettysburg Campus. She also taught at Messiah College and Shippensburg University as an adjunct and served as Assistant Director of the Learning Center (SU). She has previously published poetry andGlory in the Flower, her debut novel. It depicts four coeds who meet during the turbulent sixties.

She and her husband live near Carlisle, Pennsylvania. They have two sons and two grandsons. In her spare time, West volunteers at the Bookery—Bosler Memorial Library’s used bookstore, participates in the Litwits Book group, and reads voraciously.

Courting Doubt and Darkness: A Christopher Snow & Erin McCoy Mystery
Authored by J. M. West
List Price: $19.95
6″ x 9″ (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
Black & White on White paper
372 pages
Sunbury Press, Inc.
ISBN-13: 978-1620065488
ISBN-10: 1620065487
BISAC: Fiction / Mystery & Detective / Police Procedural

For more information, please see:
http://www.sunburypressstore.com/Courting-Doubt-and-Darkn…

BOOKSIGNING EVENT:

Joan West will be appearing at the Sunbury Press Store ar 50 West Main Street in Mechanicsburg, PA along with author Catherine Jordan (the Bookseller’s Secret) on Friday, February 6th from 6 pm to 9PM.  The authors will read from their books at 8 PM.