Sorry, Bob. I disagree.
First of all, let me say that I’m every bit as sad and discouraged as Bob Costas by the Jovan Belcher situation. However, I’m also sad because we’re in a day in which a sportscaster feels he should use his platform to act the part of a cultural expert, giving commentary on one of the deepest moral and social issues of our times. By pinning this tragic shooting on guns, Costas trivialized the Jovan Belcher situation. See video below:
Don’t misunderstand me. I’m for the enforcement of existing gun laws. I’m for background checks and waiting periods. I’m for limiting the sale of weapons to those who pose a threat to others. And, if you’re wondering, I’m not a member of the NRA. But, I couldn’t be more convinced that the problem with violence in our society is not a problem with guns. It’s a problem with the fact that every person, and every society, has fallen and can’t get up. The problem of evil is within and without the human heart, but it is not forged in a metal shop and stamped with Smith & Wesson®.
The idea that we can remove violence perpetrated with guns by removing guns is like thinking we can remove the problem of obesity in our society by removing silverware. First of all, those who want to overeat are going to use their hands, or chopsticks, or a cat litter scoop, or anything else they can find in their moment of desire. Secondly, and more importantly, the focus on silverware would remove our society’s ability to focus on the hearts, and hurts, and physiologically addictive tendencies of those who are obese. Ironically, focusing on silverware devalues and dehumanizes the issue of obesity.
The same goes for guns. Those who want to hurt others will still find guns, or bombs, or chemicals, or anything else they can grab in a moment of irrational rage and hate. But more than that, our focus on guns as the primary problem actually keeps us from focusing on the deeper issues—people’s hearts, pains, tendencies to abuse or hurt, and histories of having been abused or hurt. Belcher’s problems ran much deeper than the fact that he had access to a gun.
My heart goes out to the victims of gun violence. I cried when I heard of the recent shooting in Aurora, Colorado. (I wrote about it here.) I was deeply saddened by the news of this recent murder-suicide. But when Costas insinuated that guns are the core problem, he missed the point. And when we miss the point, we fail to address the issue. The issue is the heart…for it’s out of the heart, not the chamber, that evil thoughts, intentions, and actions come.