LOS ANGELES, December 3, 2012 – When Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher murdered his girlfriend Kasandra Perkins, only to shoot himself before Chiefs Head Coach Romeo Crennel and General Manager Scott Pioli, the NFL endured an unimaginable horror.
While there are so many unanswered questions, there is one element of all of this that must trump everything else when the story fades from the headlines.
Mr. Belcher and Ms. Perkins had a three month old baby. That child is now an orphan. If ever anybody wants a worthy cause for charitable holiday giving, this baby is it.
The question that is often most asked after a tragedy is “Why?” Right now the answer is we just don’t know. This may have been related to football, financial stress, mental illness, relationship discord, or all of the above. It also could have been none of the above.
Once the shock wears off, the next mistake is armchair quarterbacking.
Some people feel the National Football League was wrong to play on Sunday. Playing the game was absolutely the right thing to do. Romeo Crennel saw a man die in front of him. He was more affected than most people. He consulted with his players. They wanted to play. He wanted to coach. The NFL did not impose its will. They listened, and supported the decision.
Football is escapism, and this is not the first time the Kansas City fans showed how classy they are. After 9/11, they hosted the New York Giants and displayed signs saying “K.C. loves N.Y.” This is how Midwesterners are. On Sunday, the entire sports world returned that love and rallied around Kansas City.
This is who we are as Americans. Love thy neighbor still means something.
The Chiefs played, and they played hard. They won a very good football game that was not decided until the final play. For three hours, some of the pain was slightly tucked away. Then reality returned.
People desperate for answers and a desire to “do something” offered “solutions” that would make matters worse. Sports columnist Jason Whitlock of the Kansas City Star advocated for more gun control, saying that if Mr. Belcher did not have a gun, chances are he and Ms. Perkins would still be alive.
Whitlock wrote that our current gun culture “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.
“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. In the coming days, Jovan Belcher’s actions, and their possible connection to football will be analyzed. Who knows?
“But here,” wrote Jason Whitlock,” is what I believe. If Jovan Belcher didn’t possess a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today.”
NBC’s Bob Costas, during his Sunday half-time show saying: “In the coming days, Jovan Belcher’s actions and their possible connection to football will be analyzed. Who knows?…If Jovan Belcher didn’t possess a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today.”
Mr. Whitlock is one of the best sportswriters in the country, and Mr. Costas is the gold standard of sportscasters. Yet they are both wrong. Gun control is not the answer nor is banning football.
The truth is most people do not want to hear the answer because it is much tougher than passing a law or issuing an edict. We need to find out what ails the human heart. We also need to know what ails the human brain.
Regarding the brain, only scientific advancements will tell us why certain brains react to certain stimuli while others do not. Do video games and cartoons cause violence? Or are they harmless? What is inside some cranial cavities that causes outlandish behavior most of us would never contemplate?
Yet the condition of the human heart is just as if not more serious. Chiefs’ quarterback Brady Quinn and lineman Erik Winston offered beautiful and heartfelt sentiments on Sunday after the game.
We have Twitter and Facebook friends, and confuse that with real human interaction. We ask people how they are doing without really caring. We walk past people every day and have no idea how much they are suffering. Then we wonder why society has seen an increase in such tragedies.
This is not about football, guns or any other inanimate objects. It is about people.
We are creatures of God. He created us in his image. Until we understand this, we will understand nothing.
So what can we do to prevent the next tragedy like this?
Perhaps nothing. Perhaps the situation is hopeless.
Yet giving up is not the answer. It is not who we are. The thousands of people in Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday proves this. What we do is put our arms around people we care about and tell them we love them.
For people who are hurting, do not stay silent. Do not suffer alone. You are not alone. Talk to somebody. They may care more than you think. For those who are approached, don’t judge. Don’t offer solutions. Just listen. A hug speaks volumes.
Love your neighbor. Our lives depend on it.
Brooklyn born, Long Island raised, and now living in Los Angeles, Eric Golub is a politically conservative columnist, blogger, author, public speaker, satirist and comedian. Eric is the author of the book trilogy “Ideological Bigotry, “Ideological Violence,” and “Ideological Idiocy.”
Eric is 100% alcohol, tobacco, drug, and liberalism free. Follow Eric on Twitter @TYGRRRREXPRESS. Read more from Eric at TYGRRRR EXPRESS
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