When celebrities and media personalities attempt to plumb the depths of our social consciousness, the result is rarely pretty. Such was the case Sunday night when NBC sportscaster Bob Costas shamelessly tried to capitalize on the recent and tragic murder-suicide involving the NFL’s Jovan Belcher to score personal political points against law-abiding gun owners.
For anyone who missed it, in his halftime segment during Sunday night’s NFL game between the Dallas Cowboy and the Philadelphia Eagles, Costas hit his captive audience of football fans over the head with this absurd rant:
You want some actual perspective on this? Well, a bit of it comes from the Kansas City-based writer Jason Whitlock with whom I do not always agree, but who today said it so well that we may as well just quote or paraphrase from the end of his article …
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.
Only a media elitist, living a cloistered life inside the NBC newsroom, could let loose with such a woefully ignorant, ill-timed and irresponsible statement. Furthermore, the fact that Costas tried to partially hide behind a fellow journalist borders on cowardice.
According to criminologist Gary Kleck, 2.5 million Americans use firearms to defend their lives and the lives of their loved ones each year. The obvious truth is that if Bob Costas and his gun-ban buddies at NBC had their way, many of these innocent men and women would not be alive today.
Seemingly, Costas has absolutely no knowledge of the fact that good men and women — and oftentimes, the physically weakest among us — rely on firearms as the only reasonable means of protecting themselves from would-be murderers, rapists and thugs.
Take the case of the elderly woman in Sarasota, Florida, who, earlier this year, used a handgun to fend off an attacker who broke through her kitchen window. “I was fearful of my life,” the grandmother tearfully told a 911 operator after she fired two shots at the intruder, causing him to flee.
Or the case of a young Oklahoma mother, who used a firearm to successfully defend herself and her three-month-old baby this past New Year’s Eve from a man armed with a 12-inch hunting knife who kicked in her door and came straight for her and her child.
On the other hand, consider the tragic reality of Bob Costas’ and Jason Whitlock’s gun-ban utopia.
In 2007, Amanda Collins was a student at the University of Nevada, Reno. Although she possessed a legal permit to carry a handgun, the university prohibited her from doing so on campus property.
Late one night, after taking a mid-term exam, Collins was attacked and brutally raped in a campus parking garage located just 100 yards from a police station. And although she escaped with her life that night, another young woman abducted near the same campus would not be so lucky.
Brianna Denison had been staying with a friend during winter break when she went missing in the middle of the night. After a frantic, four-week search, authorities finally found Brianna’s naked, frozen body, crudely hidden underneath a discarded Christmas tree. She had been kidnapped, raped and strangled to death — savaged by the same monster who attacked Amanda in the parking garage just a few months earlier.
As is often the case with media talking heads, it’s doubtful that Bob Costas has any real understanding of the recklessness of his statements. However, ignorance is never a good excuse, and that’s especially true for someone like Bob Costas, who prides himself on being a responsible journalist.
Bob Costas offended millions of law-abiding, gun-owning football fans with his gun-ban rant. He not only owes every one of us an apology, but also a promise that, in the future, he’ll stick to doing what he’s paid very well to do: talk about sports.
Chris W. Cox is the Executive Director of the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) and serves as the organization’s chief lobbyist.