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Topics in History: History through Film

Topics is a course at Southport High School taught by Kevin Sanders that analyzes major events from United States and world history through Hollywood films that attempt to portray those events. Students investigate historical documents and other sources to determine if a film is historically accurate.

The goal is for students to develop deeper understandings of the historical discipline while generating questions about the way the world is around them, along with watching classical films that have graced American and international screens.

Student: Daniel Sanchez

Film Reviewed: American Sniper

American Sniper is phenomenal/abysmal because… this shows the deadliest American sniper in the U.S. Army. It is 2003 in Iraq, and at this point Christopher is 25. Chris was providing coverage for a group of Marines; there was a woman attacking the Marines with a grenade, but Chris shot her. “I had to do it to protect the Marines.” That was his first registered kill ever and for sure won’t be the last. It really just showed a reflection of the person he is. It shows that whatever they throw at him he wouldn’t hesitate to protect his comrades. In reality this first time killing the kid would affect his mental health a lot through his life. The Pentagon said Kyle had over 160 kills. The actual number could be almost double. He was also a farmer for most his life and had his Christian values. The hard-working effort came from him being young and working hard at the farm, but he was drawn to the seal team which was mentally and physical challenging. It’s one of the hardest to join because of everything they put you up against. Mainly when he was 25 years old and had family back at home that would cause more mental stress on top of the war.

When the September 11 attacks happened, Chris was ready and more motivated for combat now, and this just shows how he feels about his country when someone attacks or tries to hurt the place he fights for. He was sent to help search for guns. Next, he is going to Iraq. He would get inside the building and shoot insurgents as his fellow troop would move up and cover more ground easily with his protection. Then there was an altercation where one of Chris’ close comrades was injured. He was really hurt and blind while Marc Lee lost his life. There were also problems back at home because Taya is further strained by Chris’ extended absences from his family. Now they have a daughter.

This just shows him being the best sniper in American history; he would have to be away from his family for so long which would affect him even more. His next deployment would be to Sadr City in Iraq where he was literally shot in the back. That gave him that push to go back to his family to see them more. Chris Kyle would never forget the war because of PTSD. He was actually diagnosed with PTSD when he was with his family back at home. In the movie Chris doesn’t die but does in real life. Actually he was taking a simple trip to the gun range with his friend, Chad. They were trying to mentor a veteran who suddenly opened fire on them. Chris texted Chad that “This dude is straight up nuts.” But he was there to mentor him because he knows that feeling of PTSD which would cost him his life. It just shows how bad PTSD is, and that it’s a real thing. What would you have done in that situation of Chris’ last moments trying to help a fellow veteran?

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