I’m not a sports guy, so I didn’t find out until this morning, but Kansas City Chiefs player Jovan Belcher murdered his girlfriend, then shot himself in front of his coaches.
Naturally, some are calling this an example of why we need gun control. People like…Bob Costas:
You knew it was coming. In the aftermath of the nearly unfathomable events in Kansas City, that most mindless of sports clichés was heard yet again, ‘Something like this really puts it all in perspective.’ Well if so, that sort of perspective has a very short shelf life since we will inevitably hear about the perspective we have supposedly again regained the next time ugly reality intrudes upon our games. Please.
Those who need tragedies to continually recalibrate their sense of proportion about sports, would seem to have little hope of ever truly achieving perspective. You want some actual perspective on this? Well a bit of it comes from the Kansas City-based writer Jason Whitlock, with whom I do not always agree, but, who today, said it so well that we may as well just quote or paraphrase from the end of his article.
“Our current gun culture,” Whitlock wrote, “ensures that more and more domestic disputes will end in the ultimate tragedy, and that more convenience store confrontations over loud music coming from a car will leave more teenage boys bloodied and dead. Handguns do not enhance our safety. They exacerbate our flaws, tempt us to escalate arguments, and bait us into embracing confrontation rather than avoiding it. In the coming days, Jovan Belcher’s actions and their possible connection to football will be analyzed. Who knows? But here, wrote Jason Whitlock, is what I believe: “If Jovan Belcher didn’t possess a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today.”
Actually, Bob, and your friend Jason, that’s really not true at all.
Would gun control laws have saved OJ Simpson’s girlfriend, who was shot with a knife? Would they have stopped those English thieves who busted down a mall using axes? And if there were players killed on the field because of an injury, would you start calling for “football control” laws?
This is pure and simple nonsense.
The gun did not make Jovan Belcher kill his girlfriend. It was a tool, nothing more, an inanimate object. That’s like saying my car made me go find and run someone over. Or that the knife told me I had to slay this person. Or that being on the plane somehow compelled me to ram it into the side of a tower.
It’s not my fault, honest. The gun made me do it. It’s demonic.
This is the logic behind gun control arguments. That somehow, human beings are not responsible for their actions, and that nonsentient, inanimate objects somehow are. It’s complete nonsense, a total rejection of reality and reason. People who say this should be ashamed of themselves, for sounding like five-year olds without any cognitive thinking skills.
Instead of that, why don’t we focus on what really was behind this: Jovan Belcher. The man who pulled the trigger. The man who is responsible for this. And let’s look at his condition: no doubt affected by the brain trauma that NFL players get all the time. But no, we could never examine that, because that might show there are serious, serious problems with NFL football, and that couldn’t be tolerated. No, sir.
Bob Costas and Jason Whitlock might mean well, but they’re wildly off base and barking up the wrong tree. This is not a case for gun control, and politicizing such a tragedy is just disgusting.
EDIT: For some reason I totally screwed up this guy’s first name multiple times. Fixed. My apologies.