Bob Costas. He just looks like an arrogant prick. (Photo courtesy of LA Times)
Jovan Belcher (Photo courtesy of LA Times)
I’ve been trying not to bring this up because I just wrote a post about the 2nd amendment, but I just can’t NOT talk about it anymore.
I’m sure, by now, that most everyone has heard something about Bob Costas and his anti-gun speech during his halftime segment on Sunday Night Football.
For those of you in the dark, let me start from the beginning. This past Saturday, Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher shot and killed his girlfriend, and baby momma, Kasandra Perkins Saturday morning. He then drove to the Chiefs’ facility where he committed suicide in front of team officials by shooting himself in the head.
Before I start in on Costas, I’ll be up front and let you know that I’ve never really cared for him. I don’t like his commentating style, or the way he always seems so effin’ smug. I just don’t like him. Now? I can’t effin’ stand him.
So here’s what Costas had to say, courtesy of the LA Times:
“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 its possible connection to football, will be analyzed. Who knows? But here is what I believe, If Jovan Belcher didn’t possess a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today.”
My first problem with this is bringing in a hot political topic into sports. Is the fact that Belcher killed Perkins and himself sports-related news? Yes, but the editorial on gun control is not needed. That’s what CNN or MSNBC is for. Or Fox News, if that’s your cup of tea. Football Night in America is NOT where expect to find any sort of political commentary. Nor should I.
Secondly, Costas agrees with, and quotes, Jason Whitlock, who is normally as level-headed a sports reporter as there is. However, this time Jason, and thus Bob Costas, are both dead wrong. Our current gun culture, as Whitlock refers to it, is NOT ensuring that more and more domestic disputes end in the ultimate tragedy. If any culture ensures that I would venture to say it’s the hip-hop culture, a culture that advocates the thug life and solving things with guns and violence. I know many gun-owners and they are not violent people and don’t have criminal records and wouldn’t hurt a soul without provocation. There are a plethora of reasons these people own guns. Some collect them. Some enjoy shooting. Some have them for protection. Others have them for hunting. And some have them for all of the reasons listed above. But they don’t just randomly kill people because of some imagined gun culture or just because they have one.
Then, Whitlock, and Costas by quoting him, contend that “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.” This is an idiotic statement if I’ve ever heard one. Handguns in the hands of law-abiding citizens enhance the safety of said law-abiding citizen by providing a means of protection from those who don’t abide by our laws. And let’s face it, there are a lot of criminals out there preying on unsuspecting citizens. Moreover, owning a gun exacerbates no one’s flaws and does not tempt anyone to escalate arguments. Violent people are going to be violent no matter if they possess a gun or not. Peruse YouTube for a bit and do a search for fighting. You’ll find thousands, if not millions, of videos of all kinds of idiots fighting for inane reasons. And you’ll find that guns are not the reason those situations escalated. Most of the time you’ll find that it’s stupid people arguing over stupid shit. Embracing confrontation, Jason? No, people don’t back down or avoid confrontation today because they are more afraid of being called a pussy than of getting their ass kicked. Peer pressure is a bitch, isn’t it?
Then Whitlock, and Costas by extension, say the dumbest thing yet. That if Belcher didn’t have a gun that he and Perkins would still be alive. Really? I mean, really? How could you possible know that with absolute certainty? You both were speaking without the facts. Since you both weighed in on this topic without getting the facts first, consider this; since you both opined on this incident it has been reported that Belcher and Perkins were having a pretty intense argument prior to the shooting. Are you two both positive that the only reason Belcher grew angry enough to kill Perkins is because he had a gun? Or could it possibly be that Perkins had so enraged Belcher (rightly or wrongly) that he would have used anything at his disposal to kill her?
I find it both naive and stupid to blame an inanimate object for a person’s actions. Blaming Belcher’s gun for Belcher’s actions is like blaming my fork for me eating too much. A gun cannot think. It cannot speak. It certainly doesn’t have its own agenda. It most certainly didn’t say to Belcher, “You know what? I’m tired of this shit. Shoot her. Nine times.” A gun is like a computer or a TV. It only does what you tell it to. The trigger doesn’t pull itself. Somebody has to make a conscious decision to do so.
Instead of attacking our “gun culture,” why don’t you attack our violent culture instead? A culture that embraces and glorifies violence. MMA. UFC. Boxing. Hollywood blockbusters from which most of the entertainment is derived from violent encounters. Or why don’t you attack parenting? Most violent people are raised to embrace violence by their parents. The finger could be pointed in a multitude of directions, but is instead being pointed at the one thing that can’t possibly be faulted. The gun. I’m not going to make any absolute statements like Costas or Whitlock, but I don’t feel like I’m going out on a limb by saying that if Belcher had a Louisville Slugger instead of a gun he would’ve murdered her with that. Once he was to the point where murder was his intent he would’ve used whatever was within his grasp to carry it out. It just so happened that he had a gun.
Again, maybe gun control reform is needed. And maybe it isn’t. But one thing’s for sure: guns are not responsible for what they are used for. Violent people are going to be violent whether they have a gun or not. Murderers will find a way to murder without a gun if they can’t get one. This was indeed a terrible tragedy, but the fault for this lies with Belcher and Belcher alone. It’s not the gun’s fault.
And now, I’ll leave you with a few memes insired by Bob’s idiotic intrusion into the halftime show.
This one really drives the point home.