When I get emailed a story from five different people in my life, I know it must be really good.
But for some odd reason, I didn’t get around to reading Esquire’s brilliant new story by Phil Bronstein about the Navy SEAL Team 6 member who killed Osama bin Laden until Monday.
Man, it is intense. And wonderfully reported, with incredible details (I was glad to see, upon reading it, that “Zero Dark Thirty,” got most of the major details correct) and deep background into the entire mission from the point of view of the SEALs.
The story is not just a heroic tale of the brave men who on May 1, 2011 ended the life of one of the worst terrorists the world has ever known.
It’s also a chilling reminder that missions like the one in Abbotabad is what SEALs have been doing for their whole career, and when they get out of the military like The Shooter (as he’s called in the story; for obvious reasons he wanted to remain anonymous), they often have no direction, no idea how to relate to civilians, and in many cases, no health insurance.
Here’s a passage from the story, literally the Shooter’s recollection of the moments before he shot Osama bin Laden. I urge you to read the whole story here. It’s fascinating.
I thought in that first instant how skinny he was, how tall and how short his beard was, all at once. He was wearing one of those white hats, but he had, like, an almost shaved head. Like a crew cut. I remember all that registering. I was amazed how tall he was, taller than all of us, and it didn’t seem like he would be, because all those guys were always smaller than you think.
I’m just looking at him from right here [he moves his hand out from his face about ten inches]. He’s got a gun on a shelf right there, the short AK he’s famous for. And he’s moving forward. I don’t know if she’s got a vest and she’s being pushed to martyr them both. He’s got a gun within reach. He’s a threat. I need to get a head shot so he won’t have a chance to clack himself off [blow himself up].
In that second, I shot him, two times in the forehead. Bap! Bap! The second time as he’s going down. He crumpled onto the floor in front of his bed and I hit him again, Bap! same place. That time I used my EOTech red-dot holo sight. He was dead. Not moving. His tongue was out. I watched him take his last breaths, just a reflex breath.
And I remember as I watched him breathe out the last part of air, I thought: Is this the best thing I’ve ever done, or the worst thing I’ve ever done? This is real and that’s him. Holy shit.
***And now, for a happy little video of a dog, happily playing and with not a care in the world.
Don’t you wish you could be this happy?
**Finally, I can’t really say I knew much about Mindy McCready, other than that she was a famous country singer who had an affair with Roger Clemens when she was barely 16.
But the news Sunday that McCready had committed suicide at age 37 left me remarkably sad, because McCready did so just a month after her boyfriend, David Wilson, had killed himself as well.
And now there are two children, 6-year-old Zander and 10-month-old Zayne, who have no parents at all. The agony of drug addiction is all over McCready’s life, and clearly her demons were too strong for her to overcome.
I don’t know why some people think suicide is the answer; most of the time it’s the coward’s way out, which McCready and her boyfriend took.
But what I do know is that she was an extremely troubled woman who never was able to get her life together, and because of that, two little boys are left without parents.
Just so, so sad.