In what will likely be the day's second-biggest talker, Esquire and the Center for Investigative Reporting have published an interview with the SEAL Team 6 member who shot Osama bin Laden. Phil Bronstein, the executive chair of CIR, spent a year talking to the anonymous shooter (referred to as "the Shooter"), ultimately producing a nearly 15,000-word piece titled, "The Man Who Killed Osama bin Laden ... Is Screwed." The headline encapsulates the two-fold nature of the piece: recounting the "most definitive account" (verified by a number of sources, including other SEALS) "of those crucial few seconds" in which the Shooter put three bullets into bin Laden's head; and tackling this incongruity: "that a man with hundreds of successful war missions, one of the most decorated combat veterans of our age, who capped his [16-year] career by terminating bin Laden, has no landing pad in civilian life."
Bronstein catalogs the absent opportunities, like the $25 million bounty on bin Laden's head that won't go to the team and the movies and books from which it won't benefit; and the single offer from SEAL command that he could drive a beer truck in Milwaukee under a new identity. And while a private security job might be a valid route, "many of these guys, including the Shooter, do not want to carry a gun ever again for professional use." Bronstein also catalogs what the Shooter lacks: pension (he left service 36 months short of the necessary 20 years), healthcare (though he battles arthritis, eye damage, tendonitis, and blown disks), protection for his family (from a retaliatory attack), disability benefits (he's waiting), a healthy marriage (he and his wife have split, under the pressure of a job that took him away as many as 300 days a year), and communication from the VA (computer-generated form letters aside). And as CIR's executive director explains in an editor's note, while the Shooter faces "exceptional" issues upon his re-entry to society, they're "similar to those many veterans face when leaving the service." See the full piece for many more fascinating details, or read about an unusual development at the site of bin Laden's assassination. (Read more Seal Team Six stories.)