Unexamined Premises

Gun Crazy

By now we’ve all seen NBC’s Bob Costas (not to be confused with my friend and NRO colleague, Bob Costa) pontificating in his smug lefty way in reaction to the murder/suicide of a Kansas City Chiefs football player and his girlfriend. Costas used as the basis of his remarks this column from Jason Whitlock, which included this passage:

Our current gun culture simply 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.

In the coming days, Belcher’s actions will be analyzed through the lens of concussions and head injuries. Who knows? Maybe brain damage triggered his violent overreaction to a fight with his girlfriend. What I believe is, if he didn’t possess/own a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today.

That is the message I wish Chiefs players, professional athletes and all of us would focus on Sunday and moving forward. 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.

It’s easy to spot the flaw in this logic. Whitlock is confusing firearm availability with increased violence (when in fact the exact opposite is true), and if he needs to consult someone on domestic double murder without a gun, he need to look no farther than this guy:

If the glove don’t fit… you still might be guilty

He also makes the common liberal mistake of ascribing temptation to an inanimate object; my lefty friends are always telling me they would never have a gun in their homes because they couldn’t trust themselves around it. That surely says more about them than about a Colt M1911, and if that’s the way they feel, I wouldn’t want them to have easy access to firearms, either.

Whitlock’s larger point — which I agree with completely — is that football occupies entirely too much of the American landscape. Personally, I think spending even a minute watching pro football on television is a complete waste of time and I sincerely wish I had back all those misspent hours watching — and, worse, caring about — football. Among other things, I might have been spared this agony:


So it’s too bad Whitlock had to double down on dumb in this conversation with CNN’s Roland Martin:

You know, I did not go as far as I’d like to go because my thoughts on the NRA and America’s gun culture — I believe the NRA is the new KKK. And that the arming of so many black youths, uh, 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].

I think it’s obvious if you’ve traveled abroad, and traveled to countries where they have legitimate gun laws, that we don’t have to have what we have in America, where people somehow think a gun enhances their liberty, and that people somehow think a gun makes them safer. It just doesn’t. A gun turns some kids listening to music into a murder scene. And uh, you know, if you don’t have a gun, you drive home. You know, kids listening to some loud music, you don’t like it, you go home and complain to your wife. But when you have a gun, you open fire, potentially, and take the life of a child.

The NRA is hardly “arming black youths” or pushing drugs in the black community, and Whitlock needs to distinguish between the pathologies of the underclass — white and black — in which arguments over trivial things all too often turn deadly, and the morality of the vast majority of citizens , whose first instinct is not to reach for a gun, even if they’re carrying one. (Link is to the Democratic Underground website, so be sure to enjoy the krazy komments after the chart.)

The modern fixation on the firearm instead of the man really began in earnest with the JFK assassination in 1963 and with the twin murders of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert Kennedy in the dreadful year of 1968, which resulted in the Gun Control Act of 1968. And a fat lot of good it and the laughably named Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act passed that same year have done.

It’s interesting to note that between the years 1865 and 1901, three American presidents (Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley, all Republicans) were murdered with guns within the space of 36 years — and yet there was no national outcry against “gun violence.” Instead the blame was laid were it belonged, at the feet of the gunmen, and each was swiftly executed: John Wilkes Booth was shot while on the run, Charles Guiteau was hanged, and Leon Czolgosz died in the electric chair less than two months after he shot McKinley.

In any case, all the bellyaching about guns isn’t going to dissuade responsible Americans from owning and enjoying firearms. And by “responsible” I mean Hollywood — what would the all-American action movie be without a liberal and promiscuous use of handguns? Look, here’s a classic of the genre now!

 Also read: Jason Whitlock: The NRA is the New KKK