In the wake of the murder-suicide in Kansas City on Saturday morning that saw Chiefs starting linebacker Jovan Belcher shoot to death his girlfriend Kasandra Perkins, who three months earlier had given birth to their daughter Zooey, then drive to Arrowhead Stadium and take his own life with a gunshot to the head, sportscaster Bob Costas took to the airwaves at halftime of the Sunday night NFL tilt between the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys to comment on the tragedy.
As a journalist, he was hardly alone in doing that. Lord knows, there were enough angles to explore: from the NFL’s decision (reportedly supported by the Chiefs management and players) to go ahead with the game against the Carolina Panthers the next afternoon, to the ongoing scourge of domestic violence in our society, to the special circumstances of Belcher’s case — such as the hero worship of pro athletes and the sense of entitlement it sometimes engenders, to possible aggravating factors like brain damage from a concussion or maybe even previous steroid use.
At this point, any discussion on the latter points is sheer speculation (although Belcher is said to have been suffering from short-term memory loss after a game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Nov. 18). What is clear, though, is that the easy availability of guns in the U.S. greatly enhances the potential for deadly consequences whenever people are in crisis or conflict.
In his essay, Costas spoke about the rampant gun culture in the U.S., and how it precluded any rational discussion of the toll that gun violence is taking on American society. The fall-out from the 1 min. 32 sec. address, which you can view below, has been pretty vitriolic. Here’s Will Bunch’s take on Huffington Post where he notes that one criticism that was leveled at Costas was that he spoke too soon after the tragedy. But really, when would be the right time? Gun violence is endemic in the U.S., so a tragedy pretty much happens somewhere every day.