Mike Vanderboegh: You know the Founders were as suspicious of unrestrained democracy as they were of absolute monarchy. Both can be tyrannical. Both can be deadly. Both are threats to life and liberty and property. This is why they crafted a constitutional republic. The Founders knew that the mob could be manipulated by cynical elites to rob other citizens of their liberty, their property and their lives – cynical elites, wealthy men, powerful men, with unceasing appetites for more and more [read more]
Frankly, the objections to guns being trotted out by Bob Costas are disjointed and difficult to categorize. As we’ve already seen, his initial objections had to do with guns in general. He cited Jason Whitlock, and indicated that if Jovan Belcher had not had access to guns, he and his girlfriend would still be alive today.
But not long after those comments, he amended his stance to the following. “Why do you need a semiautomatic weapon? What possible use is there for a citizen to have a semiautomatic weapon?” Costas also inveighed that “he thinks there should be reasonable gun control so that people don’t…can’t go on line and build an arsenal of guns and put in their basement.” I replied that I couldn’t help but think of the fact that Mr. Stephen Bayezes saved his life with a semi-automatic weapon and high capacity magazine. And what exactly is the problem with more than one gun, located in the basement? All it took for Belcher’s girlfriend to die was a single gun. How is the issue of multiple firearms related to his initial diatribe?
Now the stipulations and qualifications grow and expand to include this set of issues.
Costas acknowledged that drugs, alcohol, and the debilitating mental and physical effects of football all could have contributed to Belcher’s breakdown, but explained that due to time limitations he focused on one particular aspect of the tragedy: guns.
From there he made pains to distinguish between the simple existence of guns and what he calls “gun culture.”
“I never mentioned the 2nd Amendment, I never used the words ‘gun control.’ People inferred that. Now, do I believe that we need more comprehensive and more sensible gun-control legislation? Yes I do. That doesn’t mean repeal the 2nd Amendment. That doesn’t mean a prohibition on someone having a gun to protect their home and their family,” Costas said.
But he also argued that, even if guns were harder to obtain, the most intractable problem facing the country is pervasive gun culture, which manifests itself in “the Wild West, Dirty Harry mentality” of people who believe that if only everyone carried firearms, mass shooters like James Holmes would be stopped in their tracks.
He also expressed concern over the specific popularity of guns among professional athletes. Recounting a story told to him by former Colts coach Tony Dungy, who was startled to discover that 65 of 80 players at training camp owned firearms, Costas asserted, “You can’t have 65 guys in their 20s and 30s, aggressive young men subject to impulses, without something bad happening.”
He continued: “Give me one example of an athlete – I know it’s happened in society – but 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.”
So we have in order the following problems: (1) guns, (2) semi-automatic guns, (3) too many guns, (4) guns in basements, (5) the “gun culture” (whatever that is), (6) guns among professional athletes (given that they are a large proportion black, this sounds oddly racist to me).
It’s difficult to tell what to address with Costas. His objections are a moving target, and he uses changing props, from Belcher, to the Colorado shooter, to the general culture and violence in young men. If Costas settles down and makes himself clear and logical, we can address his concerns. Unfortunately, I don’t think that he is disposed to clear, logical thinking, so his objections will have to remain a moving target. Costas should stick to football and leave the policy to us.