A handful of political issues seem to be tired as they have been waged for decades with both sides advocating arguments that have been advanced before. One of those political issues, gun control, was brought to the forefront again by an unlikely personality: Bob Costas.
On Sunday Night football, Costas commented on the murder-suicide involving Kansas City Chief linebacker, Jovan Belcher. On Saturday, Belcher shot his girlfriend Kasandra Perkins multiple times. He then drove to the Kansas City Chiefs practice facility and shot himself in the head in front of his coach and general manager. Reportedly, Belcher thanked them for everything they had done before ending what had already become a horrific tragedy.
The veteran sports journalist quotes extensively from an article written by Fox News sports reporter Jason Whitlock (http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/story/jovan-belcher-kansas-city-chiefs-murder-suicide-tragedy-girlfriend-self-leave-orphan-daughter-why-still-playing-sunday-120112) and in particular, the second half of the piece. The article seems to criticize the second amendment as not keeping us safe and blame handguns specifically for violence in our culture.
Now, I like Bob Costas. I have always thought of Costas as a premier sports announcer who had fascinating analysis of athletics. His releasing of political commentary during halftime in the middle of the battle between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys had fanboys up in arms (sorry, bad pun).
Here is a transcript of Costas’ comments:
“Well, you know that 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 a Kansas City based-writer, Jason Whitlock, with whom I do not always agree but who today said it so well today that we may as well as 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 teenaged boys bloody 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 connections 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.”
What seems clear to me in these quoted comments by Costas is that the blame for murder-suicides and societal violence, in a general sense, are placed upon handguns. Costas (and writer Whitlock) suggest a purely hypothetical point that they cannot prove. That if Belcher did not own a handgun, he and his girlfriend would still be alive.
This cannot be a debatable point because it is conjecture, by definition. The handgun was, unfortunately, the weapon of choice. Here I can also argue a hypothetical: other household items can be used for weapons to kill as well. Belcher was a big guy, 6’2 and 228 pounds and may not have needed a gun. People have killed with knives, baseball bats, clubs, or any number of tools.
Predictably, Costas has appeared to back away from his comments (see here his comments on the “Dan Patrick Show” http://www.usatoday.com/story/gameon/2012/12/04/how-bob-costas-really-feels-about-guns-jovan-belcher-suicide-kansas-city-chiefs/1745491/). If these are Costas actual views, then they are similar to mine. I also believe that people should be allowed to own handguns, hunting rifles, shotguns, and other weapons for protection or sport or collection.
Being that not as many people caught Costas recent revisions (or clarifications) on the “Dan Patrick Show” compared with the large audience of Sunday Night Football, gun control has once again entered the national conversation. Amazing to me is how many people quickly move right past the personal responsibility of a murderer for actions that were taken and desire to place blame on an inanimate object.
There are some in our culture who seem to think if the federal government placed a ban on all guns, they would all disappear. One wonders if these people have ever read the history of prohibition during the 1920s or have thought critically about America’s “war on drugs”. The government can ban products and, magically, they are still around and proliferate. For sure, guns are different products than drugs or alcohol but wherever there is a market, there are buyers. Guns have been invented and we cannot uninvent them.
To the center of the issue of violence, Jesus condemns it by going right to the root of the matter, the heart of a person (Matthew 5:21-24). If someone has filled their heart with hatred toward someone else or they let their anger well-up to an uncontrollable rage, there could be terrible events that follow. The problem is within the hearts of people and subsequently, the actions that they choose.
Blaming handguns, which millions of Americans own, is not going to solve the problem of violence in the human heart. To suggest otherwise is to drag out the same tired, politicized arguments of the decades past that have failed to convince.