For those of you who missed it, the pro football world was rocked on Saturday by news that Kansas City Chiefs player Jovan Belcher shot and killed his girlfriend (and mother of their three-month-old daughter) that morning after an argument; he then drove to Arrowhead Stadium and blew his head off, in front of his coaches no less. There's nothing I can say about this act in itself that hasn't been said already, except for a couple of random thoughts.
1) A murder-suicide is not a "tragedy," it's a crime. A tragedy is when you lose the brakes on your car and go off the road and die. If it happens because someone has tampered with those brakes, it ceases to be a tragedy and becomes second-degree murder. So let's stop calling it that on TV, please.
2) Some of Belcher's teammates were posting on Twitter Saturday night comments to the effect of "So sorry for you, bro [meaning Belcher]. We'll miss you, good buddy," etc. I don't want to be too harsh on them for saying they'll miss their teammate, but what the heck? Because of his actions, their child will grow up never knowing her mother. It's sad that he took his own life as well (now she'll never know her father, either), but this is all on him. If you can't realize that, you've got a screwy value system indeed.
All of which gets to the main thrust of my commentary. During halftime on NBC's Sunday Night Football, sportscaster Bob Costas gave a short "opinion" piece, which he regularly does about current athletics issues, and of course this time it was about the murder-suicide. Costas gave a very moving speech about the need to pray for the family and friends of those involved and expressed the hope that they can all find peace and some kind of happiness soon. Oh, wait--no he didn't. He used the opportunity to make a 90-second pitch for gun control. Costas approvingly quoted at length a Kansas City sportswriter, Jason Whitlock, who blamed the shooting on "gun culture." I suppose this is slightly correct, as you do in fact need a gun to shoot someone, but the gist of his argument was that people get killed because having these weapons causes minor spats over loud music or whatever to get heated, someone pulls a gun, and bang--lots of dead people. "Handguns do not enhance our safety," Whitlock (and Costas) claimed, and ended with these appalling words: "If Jovan Belcher didn't possess a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins [his girlfriend] would both be alive today."
What. The. @#$%?!?!
In this one statement, you have multiple displays of liberalism in its worst forms. First, there's the belief that what people do is not their fault, it's society's fault. Apparently Belcher was just a nice guy until he got access to a gun (a legally purchased gun, for the record), and then turned into a killer. Except he wasn't. I hate to speak ill of the dead, but from what we know of this guy now, he seems to have been a malignant bully since adolescence and exhibiting violent behavior at least as far back as his college days. So yeah, I'm pretty sure if his girlfriend hadn't met her end from a bullet, it would have been from a knife or fist (and God only knows what kind of abuse was going on behind the scenes). Second, there's the liberal notion that they can make people better by controlling their lives, which is where gun control policy comes in: Take away people's means of being violent to each other, and they will no longer be violent at all. And finally, you have the willful ignorance that stems from overlooking all the evidence that contradicts these beliefs.
As most of you are no doubt aware (and as it only took me a few minutes to look up), gun control and firearms murder rates are in fact inverse to each other. During the same period in the late 20th century in which gun sales in America peaked, pushing the total number to about 200 million owned, murder rates fell by nearly 40 percent. Meanwhile, Britain practically banned the ownership of handguns at this time, and then saw a rise in gun-related crimes of 40 percent in two years. Cases of armed robbery in London rose from four in 1954 to over 1,700 by 1998. But none of this matters to liberals.
On top of all this, there's the liberal assumption that guns are racist because more black people die from firearms incidents more often than whites; therefore, they must be part of a conspiracy by "The Man" to oppress African-Americans. Costas himself was a bit more oblique on this point, but Whitlock made it explicit, saying in an interview, "I believe the NRA is the new KKK. And that the arming of so many black youths...and loading up our community with drugs, and then just having an open shooting gallery, is the work of people who obviously don't have our best interests [at heart}." This is the sort of crap Jeremiah Wright and other racist crackpots have been spewing for years, and it's just as racially divisive as the actual KKK.
Even so, I blame Costas more in this case than Whitlock. You have to blame the latter for the original words, but he's just a local hack. Costas has a reputation (he's also a left-winger and was a definite Bush-basher, but that gets less attention). A lot of people, myself included, deliberately tuned in to SNF's halftime coverage to see what he, as someone with authority on sports culture, would say about this, and instead got liberal proselytizing. And Costas had to know this would be a controversial thing to say, especially so soon after the act itself. Nonetheless, he chose to use his time on-air to exploit a horrific incident for political purposes. This is shameful.
But the Democrats, of course, have no sense of shame.