Bob Costas Sunday took a minute — literally — to talk about America’s gun culture in the shadow of Jovan Belcher‘s murder of his girlfriend, the mother of their three-month old infant, and Belcher’s subsequent suicide. Belcher, a Kansas City Chiefs linebacker, for reasons still unknown, committed the atrocities on Saturday, but by Sunday night Costas, not Belcher, was the one in the wrong,
Costas, the famous NBC Sports anchor, defended the comments he made, which were actually little ore than merely reading excerpts from an article on the subject by Kansas City-based writer Jason Whitlock. Here’s much of what Costas said Sunday:
“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.”
Last night, Costas was interviewed by MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell, and explained and defended his comments, which, frankly, did not go far enough, but, coming from a man revered by sports fans and many on the right and left, were welcomed by progressives as an entry into a conversation America sorely needs.
MSNBC notes Costas told O’Donnell:
“Where some people may have misunderstood my comments was I took one aspect of it, as expressed by a writer, whom I quoted verbatim. I took one aspect of it. I do not think this is the only aspect or possible aspect. There’s clearly a domestic violence aspect. There’s clearly the question, as I alluded to in a general way, of what effect playing football–which we know has debilitating effects, mind and body, at least for some–what effect that might have had. What effect alcohol and drugs might have had. And another aspect of that is easy access to guns and a gun culture. And it was that aspect–the gun culture–that I focused on. Not to the exclusion of the others but just because I didn’t have all that much time.”
“What I was talking about here, and I’m sorry if that wasn’t clear to everyone, was a gun culture. I never mentioned the Second Amendment, I never used the words gun control. People inferred that. Now, do I believe that we need more comprehensive and more sensible gun control legislation? Yes I do. That doesn’t mean repeal the Second Amendment. That doesn’t mean a prohibition on someone having a gun to protect their home and their family. It means sensible and more comprehensive gun control legislation. But even if you had that, you would still have the problem of what Jason Whitlock wrote about, and what I agree with. And that is a gun culture in this country.
It demonstrates itself in different ways. It demonstrates itself in the Wild West, Dirty Harry mentality of people who actually believe that if a number of people were armed in the theater in Aurora, they would have been able to take down this nutjob in body armor and military style artillery. When in fact almost every policeman in the country would tell you that that would have only increased the tragedy and added to the carnage.”
“Give me one example of an athlete–I know it’s happened in society–but give me one example of a professional athlete who by virtue of his having a gun, took a dangerous situation and turned it around for the better. I can’t think of a single one. But sadly, I can think of dozens where by virtue of having a gun, a professional athlete wound up in a tragic situation.”
“The ready, easy availability of guns makes mayhem easier…The easy availability of guns makes this sort of thing just far more likely to occur. If somebody points out that the country has a problem with nutrition and obesity, that doesn’t mean they’re going to ban fast food. But they are making you aware of some of the dangers and hoping to moderate peoples’ behavior. And if nothing else, even if some people disagree with me or misinterpret what I said, if it started a conversation then I think that’s a good thing.”
No doubt, the Tea Party will call for Costas to be fired or flogged.
And, by ay of example, here’s a selection of headlines from that rag called Breitbart about Costas since Sunday:
Bob Costas Exploits NFL Murder/Suicide to Take Our Guns
Bob Costas, NFL Surrounded by Armed Security
Columnist Who Inspired Bob Costas Rant: ‘The NRA Is The New KKK’
Fox Points Out Hypocrisy Of Costas’ Anti-Gun Rant
Costas Uses NFL Murder-Suicide To Push Gun Laws
Costas gun control commentary gets notice
Costas advocates for gun control at halftime
You’ll have to head over to the paper of misinformation to see these — I refuse to link to them today.
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