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Belcher murder-suicide: What's really to blame?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

As I'm sure every one of my readers has heard by now, a real tragedy hit the Kansas City Chiefs organization and quite frankly, the entire city of Kansas City Saturday.

Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher and his girlfriend, Kasandra Perkins, had been arguing for months, according to sources, about money and other relationship issues. Chiefs officials said they were aware of the problems and have been "bending over backwards" to help.

Well, apparently, they didn't help quite enough or Belcher simply didn't appreciate the help enough. It's hard to say what the real reason was and nobody will ever know which of those things was ultimately the case, but Saturday morning, things finally boiled over.

The couple argued early Saturday morning after Perkins attended a Trey Songz concert and had drinks with friends, while Belcher reportedly "partied" in Kansas City's Power & Light District on Friday night.

According to the Associated Press, police found Belcher asleep in his car outside an apartment building at nearly 3 a.m. Belcher said he was there to visit his girlfriend, but she wasn't home. After police determined that Belcher had no warrants, he made a phone call and was let into the building by a woman.

According to the AP report, Belcher stayed at that apartment until 6:30 a.m. Upon his arrival back at his home, Belcher and Perkins argued again, with Belcher's mother hearing her son say something along the lines of, "You can't talk to me like that," before shooting Perkins nine times.

The Kansas City Star reported that seconds after fatally shooting his longtime girlfriend, Belcher leaned over her in their master bathroom, said he was sorry and kissed her on the forehead. His mother, who heard gunfire as she stood in the kitchen, rushed to her son's bedroom and watched his remorseful goodbye.

Belcher apologized to his mother, kissed his 3-month-old daughter and fled his rented home in the 5400 block of Crysler Avenue in his Bentley.

The report went on to say that Belcher drove to Arrowhead Stadium, where he met Chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel, general manager Scott Pioli and linebackers coach Gary Gibbs.

Pioli and Crennel both reportedly attempted to dissuade Belcher from committing suicide, but he reportedly said as police were closing in, "I got to go...I can't be here," before kneeling behind a car, making the sign of the cross and firing a single bullet into his head.

It's undeniable that this event was tragic in every possible way, but that's not really the point I intend to make here. On a Sunday Night Football broadcast, CBS Sports commentator Bob Costas quoted Fox Sports columnist Jason Whitlock, saying, "If Jovan Belcher didn't possess a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today."

Come now. Please, someone tell me I'm not the only one who sees the problem with this declaration. Guns aren't to blame for this or any other tragedy involving them -- people are.

If Jovan Belcher really wanted to kill Kasandra Perkins and himself, he didn't need a gun to do it. I mean, come on. Has anyone seen that guy?

If he wanted to kill Kasandra Perkins with his bare hands, I seriously doubt he would have had much trouble doing it. And as for himself, crashing his Bentley could have gotten that job done just as easily, or using a knife, or any number of other devices.

Anyone who knows me is quite likely well aware that I have great difficulty avoiding a good argument and this is certainly no exception. Trying to argue that guns should be banned because of incidents like this is just like saying it's a good thing Hostess went bankrupt because Twinkies make people fat.

What are we going to do next? Outlaw the use and possession of cars because people die in drunk driving accidents? I don't think so.

Regardless of what anyone might say, both of those arguments are at least as valid as the ones made by Costas and Whitlock. The argument that banning guns will prevent people from killing one another is absolutely absurd.

This whole situation is completely senseless and never should have happened, but I hardly think this is a valid argument for gun control. But, I suppose for those who feel as strongly as most of the people who are on the same side of that fence as Costas, any argument is a valid argument.

But even more important than its lack of validity in this case is the fact that an argument like the one made by Costas has no place on a Sunday Night Football pregame broadcast. That's the place for analysis of the upcoming game and a look at what's about to happen, not for a political rant citing an argument that doesn't even make any sense.

Honestly, get off your soapbox and let it go, Costas.

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Eric Wade
Beyond the Bench