The NBA has taken sides in the gun debate by entering a partnership with Everytown for Gun Safety, a gun control lobby group founded by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. This partnership was brokered by filmmaker Spike Lee.
This partnership will make its public debut on Christmas Day (a day on which the NBA traditionally schedules games) with TV ads featuring NBA players such as Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors, Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers and Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks. The ads will also feature the relatives of those who died of gun violence such as Andy Parker. His daughter, Allison Parker, was the TV reporter from Virginia shot and killed on live TV this past August along with a cameraman by a former colleague.
While the ads themselves never use the phrase gun control, Everytown for Gun Safety is exactly that. Its website states, “For too long, change has been thwarted by the Washington gun lobby and by leaders who refuse to take common-sense steps that will save lives.”
Of course, there is nothing wrong with wanting to end gun violence in of itself. But if one truly wants to end gun violence in this country, there must be a concerted effort to change behavior rather than change gun ownership laws (which are being changed all the time with little effect). One such behavior is suicide. Indeed, more than 60% of all gun deaths in the United States are as a result of suicide. Aside from discussing unintentional child gun deaths (due to improper firearms storage), suicide is scarcely mentioned on the Everytown for Gun Safety website.
I dare say if the NBA and other organizations were to concentrate their efforts on promoting mental health and suicide prevention they would go a much longer way in reducing gun violence in this country. Unfortunately, this isn’t on the agenda of Michael Bloomberg and Everytown for Gun Safety.
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