Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly asked NBC’s Bob Costas if he was in that movie theater in Aurora Colorado when the mass shooting occurred, on the night of the last Batman premiere, would he prefer to have had a gun to protect himself or be defenseless hiding on the floor, hoping not to be killed?
Before I go on, here is the back-story:
In the wake of the murder suicide perpetuated by Kansas City Chiefs football play Jovan Belcher on December 1st, comments were made by NBC analyst Bob Costas during the broadcast of Sunday night football that has since sparked more debate and controversy than the heinous crime itself. Costas was paraphrasing parts of an article written by FOXSports.com writer Jason Whitlock in which he talks about the culture of guns and that if Belcher didn’t have a gun, two more people would be alive.
Without taking sides on gun control, I can say that I do think it was inappropriate for Costas to comment when and how he did. He was in fact “politicizing” an issue in a moment of mourning when the wounds of the tragedy were still open and sensitive to the touch. Regardless of how you feel about the gun issue, in grand moments, when an issue captures national attention, and is of emotional concern, to borrow a sports term, it is time for a timeout, from where we disagree.
It should be a moment of coming together. With the right sensitivity, the togetherness of the moment could then possibly be used as a means of having that serious conversation of how we can learn and improve things. In this case, not only as it pertains to guns, but also mental illness and domestic violence.
If you’re reading this and are anti-gun or in favor of repealing the second amendment, imagine how you would have felt if instead of stating that Belcher and his girlfriend would still be alive if he didn’t have a gun, Costas spent a minute stating that Kasandra Perkins might still be alive if only she had a gun to protect herself? Those comments would not have been appropriate either.
I applaud Costas’ intentions. The criticism he has faced is overstated but that is a byproduct of the sheer volume of the transmedia we have today. It is just the way it is anytime someone veers off the politically correct course.
This criticism landed Costas in a chair opposite Bill O’Reilly and the question O’Reilly posed at the beginning of this blog. Costas said he wouldn’t want a gun. O’Reilly said he would.
Now that the proverbial can of worms is open, I will dive in.
My comment is this, the question posed by O’Reilly is incomplete and I would like to add another scenario. Your choice is: to not have a gun, or for everyone in the theater to have a gun.
In this scenario maybe James Holmes never attacks that night. But for the moment since he had body armor and superior weaponry lets assume he did. My next question for the gun carrying audience is how well trained are they with their guns? How accurate a shot are they? How do they respond under this type of pressure? Do they have an itchy trigger finger? How will each individual respond to the shock of initial gunfire? Will they know, immediately, who the attacker is, or might they mistake a fellow theatergoer as the attacker and shoot at them? Or maybe they know who the attacker is but a stray bullet finds an unintended target.
The pro gun crowd likes to talk about personal responsibility and remove blame from guns. Okay Bill O’Reilly. If you’re in that theater and you’re carrying a gun and stand up and shoot me instead of James Holmes, you should go to jail for involuntary manslaughter and my family is suing you for wrongful death. While I do respect your right to bear arms, you do also bear the responsibility of your actions.
Like many issues, spanning from dependency on foreign oil, social security, and immigration, gun control and its myriad of issues keeps getting kicked down the road.
And while Costas’ timing was admittedly off, he and Whitlock raise valid points about the gun culture, so rather then let that timing obscure the issue, can we have that conversation now? Can we take action now? Not to repeal the 2nd amendment, (I support it) but to evaluate and update its regulation, education, and enforcement?
Last question. If you were in a movie theater. One that was going to be attacked by a man in bulletproof body armor and assault weapons. Would you rather everyone in that theater had a gun or that everyone did not?