Last night, during halftime of the Philadelphia Eagles-Dallas Cowboys game on NBC’s Sunday Night Football, Bob Costas called for increased gun control in the wake of the murder-suicide involving Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher.
On Saturday, Belcher shot and killed his girlfriend. He then drove to the Chiefs’ practice facility where he shot and killed himself in the presence of Chiefs’ personnel including head coach Romeo Crennel.
Costas, quoting a column by sportswriter Jason Whitlock, said, “If Jovan Belcher didn’t possess a gun, he and Kassandra Perkins would both be alive today.”
Now I have no problem with Costas expressing his opinion as he did this past summer when he criticized the IOC for not having a moment of silence for the Israeli athletes murdered at the 1972 Munich Games during the opening ceremonies of the London Olympics.
But in this instance Costas (and indeed Whitlock) are simply wrong.
Let’s suppose Belcher didn’t possess a gun. There are any number of ways one person can kill another be it with a knife, a blunt instrument or by poisoning. Neither Costas nor Whitlock can guarantee that Belcher would not have committed such a heinous act in the absence of a gun.
Let’s also suppose that our gun laws become stricter. All that means is that there is a more lucrative black market for guns and what would have prevented Belcher from procuring one from that source? Absolutely nothing except money.
I understand what Belcher did what absolutely bewildering. No doubt the people who saw him take his own life will be forever scarred by it. Under such circumstances, it is tempting to look for easy answers. However, easy answers are usually the wrong answers. Costas and Whitlock ought to know better than to succumb to that temptation.