Brad Harvey: Walk on the wild side

Brad Harvey: Don’t blame violence on guns

December 8, 2012 

Sometimes, the ignorance of people just can’t be contained. It even happens to those in the public eye whom we deem pretty intelligent.

This is exactly what took place Dec. 2, as famed television sportscaster Bob Costas chose to use halftime of that evening’s Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles game to rant against firearms, thus sending a nation full of hunters and firearms owners over the edge.

The tirade took place on the heels of Saturday’s murder-suicide by Kansas City Chief’s linebacker Jovan Belcher. He shot and killed his girlfriend before driving to the stadium, taking his own life.

Costas chose to oversimplify the crime and blame it on guns.

“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 game,” Costas said.

“Please, those who need tragedies to continually recalibrate their sense of proportion about sports will seem to have little hope about achieving perspective. You want some actual perspective on this? Well, a bit of it comes from Kansas City-based sports writer Jason Whitlock, with whom I don’t always agree, but who today said it so well we may as well just quote or paraphrase from the end of his article,” he continued.

“Our current gun culture ensures more and more domestic disputes will end in the ultimate tragedy,” he read. “And 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 Cassandra Perkins would both be alive today.”

Seriously?

After all, if we’re going to blame the crime on the gun itself, let’s just blame the sport of football. I mean, it’s a violent sport. One could surely come up with an argument that’s just as silly stating that Belcher was so acclimated to a world of violence that he thought nothing before killing his girlfriend.

Any crime or any undesirable action performed by any person on this planet can be over-simplified in a manner such as that used by both Costas and Whitlock, and then used to push their personal agenda.

So let’s do something Costas would surely reason to be totally irrational. Let’s run down the facts.

First, no gun has ever made the choice to fire on its own. Following all of this I came across something on Twitter: “If guns kill people then pencils misspell words, cars make people drive drunk and spoons make people fat.”

A number of countries have embraced the idea Costas and Whitlock hold dear and have banned guns. Things didn’t exactly work out as wonderfully as they had planned. Look no farther than our British friends “across the pond” to see evidence.

Starting with a gun control law initiated in 1968, law abiding citizens were required to not only register every gun they already owned but be approved for all subsequent purchases. This approval required they show good reason for needing the firearm, which was the government’s way of making the process subjective enough that nobody qualifies.

In 1997, Britain took it a step further and passed a law requiring everyone to surrender all privately owned handguns to the police. More than 162,000 handguns and 1.5 million pounds of ammunition were gathered by the following year.

Despite these actions by the British government, homicides have averaged 52 percent higher during that timeframe and the overall crime rate spiked. According to the worldwide crime database NationMaster, the UK is ranked third in the world in the number of overall crime victims. The U.S. sits at 15th. Britain placed second in assault victims; the U.S., 11th.

Chicago saw banning handguns as the answer to their problems in 1982. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional in 2010, and it has since been lifted,. But during the years that it stood, the number of murders by handgun was 40 percent higher than before the ban.

What it boils down to is this: The taking of a life, whether it is in the case of the murder of a persona or a deer by a hunter, is a conscious decision made by a human being.

Be it by gun, arrow, knife, baseball bat, car or a million other things, they are but the tool used to perform the act.

Costas or anyone else who places the responsibility on an object with no brain makes me wonder if they don’t belong in the same class.

Brad Harvey is a freelance writer in Clover. Visit his website at bradharveyoutdoors.com or follow on Twitter- @BHarveyOutdoors.

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