Tragedy, Made Easy

It’s hard to think about what Jovan Belcher may have been thinking early Saturday morning when he shot his girlfriend at his home (in front of his mother, no less).  In the past two days he’s been described as laid-back, jovial, hard-working and dedicated.  It has even been reported that while he played for the University of Maine he joined the Male Athletes Against Violence Initiative.  After shooting Kasandra Perkins, though, he drove to Arrowhead Stadium for Chiefs practice – only to thank his coach and general manager for what they’d done for him and later turn the gun on himself.

As tragic as this is, people can’t simply take in the gravity and mourn what’s happened.  It wasn’t even 48 hours before leftists in the media were calling for an end to the "gun culture" in America.  Bob Costas spoke of the issue during halftime on the broadcast of the Cowboys/Eagles game, agreeing with a Kansas City writer that "If Jovan Belcher didn’t possess a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today."  Mike Lupica of the NY Daily News declared that "Murdering this young woman, 22, and then killing himself in front of his coach and his general manager was made easy by a gun, because a gun always makes it easier."  It hasn’t even been two days and too many people have pinned this on guns.

Costas quoted KC writer Jason Whitlock, who also wrote, "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."  While I agree with his remarks that Roger Goodell should have cancelled Sunday’s game in KC, I could not disagree more with one of his final statements: "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."

Here again, we see the phenomenon of those in a position of high visibility using a senseless tragedy to try to push an agenda.  Rather than take a deeper look at society’s problems, they are quick to blame the gun.  It’s easier that way because we don’t have to look at ourselves or ask what really does need to be changed – and how we got here in the first place.  Blaming the gun absolves us of having to do or say anything that really might make a few heavy-hitters remarkably uncomfortable.

Sorry, Mr. Whitlock.  It’s not the "gun culture" that drives young men to pull out the gats and start spraying rival gang members with bullets.  "That gun was just irresistable, it made me feel like a man!" said no murderer, ever.  I’ve been a corrections officer, and I know exactly what the problem with our culture is – but you don’t want to hear it.  That’s why you’re so quick to blame a culture that really doesn’t exist in your quest for an answer.

When I was a kid, rap was just coming into the mainstream.  Back in the 80’s, rap wasn’t nearly as violent as it is now.  It wasn’t exactly peacenik music, but rap took an extremely dark turn in the 90’s when Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls (among others) came onto the scene.  Suddenly, we had a new brand of "music" (if you could call it that) that glorified gang membership, selling drugs to get rich, flaunting illegally-gotten gain and being extremely violent.  It carried the objectification of women to an entirely new level, even glorifying rape.  Shakur was killed in 1996, but as of last year has sold 75 million albums.  The man had the words "thug life" tattooed across his abdomen.  Snoop Doggy Dog has sold more than 30 million albums to date.  He’s a declared member of the Crips, was in and out of prison before making it big.  As a convicted felon, he’s barred by federal law from owning a handgun but has been very proud in flaunting the fact that he has guns and has been arrested on multiple weapons violations.  Dr. Dre founded Death Row Records, has sold tens of millions of albums and has launched the careers of some of the biggest names in rap, including Snoop, 50 Cent, Eminem and The Game. I won’t even bother trying to quote rap lyrics because most of it would be blurred out and the editors would still need me to apologize.

Video games are also vastly different than when I was a kid.  I had Pong and Frogger when I was little, followed by Super Mario Bros. and Kid Icarus as a teenager.  Nowadays?  We have the Grand Theft Auto series, a wildly popular game that has the player building a criminal empire from knee-breaker to high-roller – usually while getting revenge on another double-crossing bad guy.  That series alone has sold 114 million copies across five versions.

Does anyone really still labor under the delusion that guns, and not pop culture itself, are to blame for the rise in violent tendencies?  I started off in juvenile corrections.  If they hadn’t taught us the statistics of youth involved in crime in the academy, we certainly would have learned the common denominators while walking the beat – the overwhelming majority of kids who have been adjudicated as delinquent and sentenced to real time come from single-parent homes, and those that knew both of their parents had one (usually their father) who was a convicted felon.  Most of them were woefully undereducated; in fact, I lost track of how many were completely illiterate.  They couldn’t have told you the difference between a noun and a verb, but they could have excused their glorification of the thug life so eloquently that they could almost make a believer out of you.

We were once a society that frowned upon having a child out of wedlock.  Now we’re seeing astronomical rates of illegitimacy coupled with rapidly dwindling interest in education (and when someone tries to say, "hey, I made a mistake, don’t do what I did," they’re derided by the press – Bristol Palin comes to mind).  Whereas education was once important to America, we’re now at the bottom of the global pile and we’re trying to defend the educational system that has been an abysmal failure since my childhood.  We have so-called experts telling teachers not to grade with red ink and teachers who don’t believe in homework or giving a student a failing grade because it’s too negative – then we expect these ill-prepared children who have no idea how to grow up to go out into the world and make something of themselves.  All of this while they listen to violent music, play violent games, and glorify the lives of hardened criminals who get featured on VH1 for writing music while in prison.  Discipline has all but gone the way of the dinosaur as liberals have managed to blur the lines between discipline and abuse.  All of this in the name of self-expression – a purely emotional concept that teaches extremes that children should be learning to control, not vent.

I don’t believe for an instant that Jovan Belcher was violent.  I think he may have had head injuries common to NFL players that contributed to his tragic end.  Let’s not kid ourselves, though – all of these people now claiming that the ease with which he obtained his gun and the supposed gun-loving culture we live in made this happen are deluding themselves.  Rather than look inward to see what we could change, they’d rather find another culprit so they don’t have to question all of their other beliefs about life and society.  It’s unfair to the families of Belcher and Perkins to shift that blame.  It’s tragic for future generations that we’re not willing to be honest.

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  • mymati

    Well said Mel! I have, for years been telling everyone that would listen that in order for our country to truely return to the constitution we must have three things in our society, as the founders demanded of the colonies before they would try to break free, we must have a moral and religious society that places high value on the respect of the conscience of others. I can’t tell the number of Ron Paul supporters that I have run into that are so into liberty they are blind to respect of the conscience others. Liberty without respect brings anarchy.     

  • Par4Course

    We would end a lot more senseless violence by abolishing football than by repealing the Second Amendment.  I’m not advocating either measure, but the people who are so quick to blame "the gun culture" ought to be aware of other explanations for the Belcher tragedy.  

  • Christopher H Fromme

    Much of this can be blamed on LBJ’s War on Poverty which has been the most expensive war  and we have lost it.   The Great Society of LBJ caused the breakup of the Black family unit in America.

  • unseen1

    thought provoking article.    much to think about. 

  • Azarkhan

    The breakdown of the American family, the absence of a father to provide discipline and guidance, esp for teenage boys, is the root cause of violence in this country. Belcher came from a broken home. BTW, he slept with another woman before going home that night.

  • HuntingMoose


    Why are you suggesting that football has anything to do with it?

    What about all the violence it has prevented? I rather have people watch or play football than play some bad role model game or listen and get indoctrinated with the evil words in a song made by a felon.

    And yes, i rather have everyone carry a gun and knowing they can help defend me instead of only the bad and evil having weapons that give them the upperhand

  • Ed from justice


    I think that one of the sponsors of the game Bob was broadcasting was Dark Knight.  Most people know the difference between real and pretend, but some don’t.  Where did this guy get his gun anyway, does anyone know?  I was once told that rap is poetry.  I thought about it and tried to compose a rap song.  I had a serious problem.  I could only think of a few words that rhyme with bitch.  I went back to bluegrass

    • The Ranger

       According to one of the investigators Belcher bought his gun legally from a gun store in Kansas City.  I find it interesting that the NY Daily News writer who wrote the article linked – the one that opened with a photo of the interior of his car – hung on to the fact that anyone who is not a convicted felon can legally purchase and carry a gun.  It was as if that itself was evil.

  • indemind

    Thanks Mel…. Excellent article…

    In 1983 I was shot in The Line of Duty (N.Y.P.D. Homicide Unit) …. Never Once did I Blame The Gun…

    SarahAmerica "Renew, Revive, Restore

  • TSM_Admin

    There is an aspect or two that I never hear talked about in these situations.  Let’s say we have no guns. So, Jovan couldn’t have used a knife?  There are plenty of those in most homes, and many people are killed with them each year.  (Has anyone ever heard of a suggestion to ban knives?)  How about a "blunt instrument"?  Maybe put something in their drinks? Since he is an NFL player, he could have probably easily used his bare hands on her and maybe jumped off a building himself.

  • gahanson

    The left relishes, and revels in mass shootings and high profile murders that involve guns.  That they exploit this or any other crime is not surprising, and should actually be expected.

  • nkthgreek

    Throughout history people have been stoned to death. It is now time for rock control.  

  • David

    Spoons make me fat.

    • excopconservative

       You are right.  Every time I see a spoon, I am compelled to pick it up and fill it with ice cream.  Please help me.  Please confiscate all of those evil spoons.  People using spoons need to take a spoon safety course and get a permit.  Oh wait, I think that’s part of Obamacare.

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