'We interrupt this football game to bring you an anti-gun rant...'
I usually enjoy listening to sportcaster Bob Costas. He's got a nice dry wit and is very knowledgeable about his subjects - usually.
But prior to last night's Sunday Night Football game, Costas said some pretty stupid things about guns in the wake of the murder-suicide of Kansas City Chief's linebacker Jovan Belcher:
BOB COSTAS: Well, 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."
To be fair, Costas nailed it when talking about "perspective" and some people's inability to acquire it unless some kind of tragedy ensues.
But Whitlock and Costas both fail to grasp the fundamental principle involved. It's not that what Whitlock said is wrong-headed and superficial. It's that they both seem to think that we can regulate human behavior by taking away people's Second Amendment rights.
To state as fact that "If Jovan Belcher didn't possess a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today" is nonsense. Nobody knows that to be true - that somehow the cause of Mr. Belcher's psychotic break wouldn't lead him to kill his girlfriend with some other weapon, or his bare hands. And no one needs a gun to commit suicide. The premise of that statement is profoundly misleading.
The venue chosen for this rant was inappropriate - like tuning into the Oscars and watching as Hollywood libs spout their inanities. People watch football to get away from politics. By bringing the issue of gun control up during a national sports broadcast, Costas did a disservice both to his audience, and the game itself.