Originally published on SILVERMAN: On Sports on December 15, 2012:
Even the morning after, I am sick.
Another senseless act of violence in this country. Another story of tragedy that grips our nation. Another opportunity to debate gun control from sea to shining sea.
On Friday morning, the sixth mass shooting this year took place at an elementary school in a quiet, “safe” Connecticut town. Twenty children lost their lives. Six adults did too. All by the hand of the man holding multiple guns, firing off round after round at close range. There is no such place as safe.
Why? We may never know because it appears that after the rampage, 20 year-old Adam Lanza took his own life. In doing so, he took answers to his grave.
Now what? Do we just shed a few tears? Hug our children and shrug our shoulders and when the news trucks leave, stop talking about guns? NO!
While watching the cable news channels, most of the talking heads said, “Today is not the day to debate gun control and the second amendment. Today is a day to mourn.” Well, I completely disagree. Now is the time to debate. Now is the time to discuss. Now is the time to be pissed off and change things. Now is the time while the blood is still wet, the tears are still flowing and our hearts haven’t hardened from the sixty-first mass murder in the last thirty years.
The sports world has not been immune to gun violence. Just a few weeks ago, the Kansas City Chiefs’ Javon Belcher killed his baby mama and then went to talk to his head coach and killed himself in front of Romeo Crennel. With a gun.
It has been reported that three out of four players in the NFL have guns. In the wake of that murder-suicide that left an infant an orphan, at least seven of them have given up their firearms. Some will say that gesture will do little to change the violence. I applaud them.
In sports, we revere statistics. We memorize home run totals, goals scored, wins, losses, yards thrown; we remember the numbers. A friend from Canada sent me a picture regarding handgun murders around the world. The numbers are as shocking as those out of Newtown. Last year, hand guns killed 48 people in Japan, 8 in Great Britain, 34 in Switzerland, 52 in Canada, 58 in Israel, 21 in Sweden, 42 in Germany and 10,728 in the United States.
10,728 in the United States. Remember that stat. STAT!
How do we, as a “civilized society”, accept so much loss of life? I have often said too many people in this country only care about life until birth. To those individuals, once you are born, you are on your own. That mindset is not civilized. We need to protect each other.
Vikings’ punter Chris Kluwe took to Twitter to express his thoughts, “The way we deal with this tragedy in CT will tell us a lot about where we’re headed as a society. Do we only address the symptoms (i.e. just gun control laws)? Or do we also address the disease – how we treat each other and those who need help.”
Chris, we need to address both. We need to address them now. The discussions need to take place at every level from the home, through columns like this, on the talk shows and especially in Washington. Our political leaders must take up this issue and make real changes.
Guns are a complicated issue. I don’t think that the second amendment should be eliminated but we need toward look at other countries for answers. When other industrial nations have yearly gun murder totals less than our daily rates, it’s time to make meaningful and effective changes.
We must protect our citizens more than we protect the right to buy an Uzi. I call on our elected officials from President Obama to all the members of Congress down to the state and local levels to stop accepting 10,728 gun murders a year.
I realize “The American President” was just a movie. But when President Andrew Shepherd said, “You cannot address crime prevention without getting rid of assault weapons and handguns. I consider them a threat to national security, and I will go door to door if I have to, but I’m gonna convince Americans that I’m right, and I’m gonna get the guns” I was nodding my head.
Mr. Obama, it’s time to go door to door and get the guns.
NBC Sports’ Bob Costas came under fire for speaking out about guns. In an interview with MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell, Costas said, “Give me one example of a professional athlete who by virtue of his having a gun, took a dangerous situation and turned it around for the better. I can’t think of a single one. But sadly, I can think of dozens where by virtue of having a gun, a professional athlete wound up in a tragic situation.”
Some say guns don’t kill people, people kill people. I don’t buy that. Adam Lanza would have not killed twenty-six human beings without guns.
It’s time to end senseless gun violence. We have lost too many lives from bullets fired from a gun.
You can make your own list of victims. Here is a small one to think about:
John Lennon in 1980. John Kennedy in 1963. Martin Luther King in 1968. Twenty-six in Newtown, CT in 2012.
You in 201?