Pubdate: Wed, 20 May 2015
Source: East Oregonian (Pendleton, OR)
Copyright: 2015 The East Oregonian
Author: Jerry Cronin


"American Sniper" was ranked the No. 1 movie in United States for the 
week of Dec. 17 through Dec. 23, 2014, when competition for this top 
listing is intense.

This is an excerpt from the magazine, Salon:

"In his best-selling memoir, 'American Sniper: The Autobiography of 
the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History,' Navy SEAL Chris 
Kyle writes that he was only two weeks into his first of four tours 
of duty in Iraq when he was confronted with a difficult choice. 
Through the scope of his .300 Winchester Magnum rifle, he saw a woman 
with a child pull a grenade from under her clothes as several Marines 
approached. Kyle's job was to provide 'overwatch,' meaning that he 
was perched in or on top of bombed-out apartment buildings and was 
responsible for preventing enemy fighters from ambushing U.S. troops."

When Kyle returned home, he suffered from PTSD and that led to 
sleepless nights and emotional distress that he tried to block out 
with alcohol.

Let's switch to a story about a local resident who was a sniper in 
Afghanistan. He left his high school sweetheart to serve in the 
Marines. He was trained in the same manner as Chris Kyle and his job 
was to also provide "overwatch" to prevent the enemy from ambushing 
U.S. troops.

He witnessed his friends blown up by IEDs and others violently killed 
standing next to him. He was exposed to one horrific scene after 
another during his deployment in Afghanistan. When he returned to 
North Carolina, he discovered that he was always in physical pain, 
had insomnia, and nightmares woke him up each night. The only bright 
spot in his life was when he reunited with his high school 
sweetheart, who had left their home town and settled in Pendleton 
finding a job as an English teacher at BMCC.

The painkillers prescribed by the VA started to cause debilitating 
side effects. He discovered that only medical marijuana provided him 
with relief from PTSD. Unfortunately, his VA doctor wouldn't 
prescribe medical marijuana. The Marine doesn't want to break the law 
but he's faced with the responsibility of raising a young boy. After 
serving his country for nine years, he relies on the medicinal 
qualities of marijuana to work, support his family, and cope with the 
physical and mental ailments caused by his military duty.

The time to make a decision about medical marijuana dispensaries 
cannot be delayed any longer. Local musician Jared Pennington is just 
one of hundreds of people in the community who relies on medical 
marijuana to survive.

Jerry Cronin

- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom