Columbine High, Virginia Tech, Arizona, the sniper in Washington, D.C., the crazed Joker opening fire at the Batman movie, drive-by sprays what once seemed unthinkable happens with regularity in the land of the free and the home of the brave.
South Florida is one of the capitals of gun violence. Last week a little girl boarded her school bus and never came home. She was accidentally shot by a boy showing off a gun in his backpack.
Brady Center president Dan Gross said the Belcher case illustrates what happens in everyday instances of domestic violence, arguments and suicide attempts when someone introduced a handgun into the equation. Deaths might have been averted if a gun was not present; tempers and emotions might have had those extra minutes to cool instead of escalate.
This isnt a debate about the Second Amendment, Gross said. That has been decided by the Supreme Court. It is about all of us, as a nation, coming together to say we are better than this, and having an honest conversation about the risks and dangers that guns pose and what we can do to prevent tragedies.
Conservative commentators who chastised Bob Costas and Jason Whitlock for speaking out on gun violence should be chastised for an absolutist stance on an issue that deserves more dialogue, not less. If youre going to wave the flag, you have to support the First Amendment, too.
Perhaps nothing would have stopped Belcher, 25, who kissed his dying girlfriend and apologized to his mother at home, then drove to Chiefs headquarters, said Guys, I have to do this, and shot himself in the head. But, had he not been clutching a gun, the coaches talking to him in the parking lot might have found a way to dissuade him. The relationship counselor working with him and Kasandra Perkins might have had another session with him.
Athletes who understand their outsized stature as role models encourage kids to stay in school. They warn people not to drink and drive. Say no to drugs. Get fit. Dont discriminate against minorities.
In other words, be responsible, use your brain, respect your fellow man. The pain wrought by bullets is irreversible. Now it is time for athletes to lend their voices to the gun control debate. Before another child loses her parents.