Which culture do we blame this time?

For the second week in a row an NFL player has senselessly died in an off-the-field incident.  Dallas Cowboys linebacker Jerry Brown was killed while riding in a 2007 Mercedes with teammate Josh Brent, who was intoxicated and speeding when he lost control and flipped the vehicle.  Brent was previously convicted of DWI in 2009.

On December 1, Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher murdered his girlfriend then committed suicide outside the Chiefs complex.  The following night we were treated to an editorial rant on NBC by Bob Costas, who chose to highlight a column on gun culture written by Kansas City sportswriter Jason Whitlock:

“Our current gun culture,” Whitlock wrote, “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.”

Well this week we have a different culture to decry.  Our current alcohol culture.  Let’s try something…

“Our current alcohol culture,” Whitlock wrote, “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.”

“Alcoholic beverages 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, Josh Brent’s actions, and their possible connection to football will be analyzed. Who knows?”

“But here,” wrote Jason Whitlock,” is what I believe. If Josh Brent didn’t have access to alcohol, Jerry Brown would be alive today.”

Now sure, you could point out that far more people use alcohol responsibly than don’t.  You could argue that prohibiting alcohol wouldn’t solve anything, people who are determined to drink will find a way to get drunk.  You could demonstrate that prohibition has been tried and it doesn’t work, it merely punishes responsible, law abiding users.

Hey, we can try something again…

Now sure, you could point out that far more people use guns responsibly than don’t.  You could argue that gun control laws wouldn’t solve anything, people who are determined to murder will find a way to kill.  You could demonstrate that gun control has been tried and it doesn’t work, it merely punishes responsible, law abiding users.

You could, but no doubt Costas and Whitlock would argue that guns are unique among inanimate objects in their ability to destroy lives.  Culture wars are a funny thing, huh?

I’ll wager the firestorm of this week compelled Costas to pen a stem-winder of a follow-up for tonight’s NFL broadcast on NBC to clarify and add nuance his remarks.  Now he’s got to act troubled over another NFL fatality which has absolutely nothing to do with guns.  Back to the drawing board, Bob.

Here’s one thing I can say with certainty, Bob Costas will tread very lightly on the subject of alcohol when discussing the accident that took Jerry Brown’s life.  He, and his network, will not say anything to upset Bud Light – the Official Beer Sponsor of the NFL.

What?  You didn’t know the NFL has an official beer?  Hell yes they do.  You’ve got to wonder if the NFL and Anheuser Busch dedicate as much of their time and their resources to promote alcohol safety as the NRA does to promote gun safety.  Or is it pretty much just Here We Go?

Perhaps the best lesson we can learn from these events would be that using the personal failures of individual human beings to advance one’s political beliefs is an incredibly bad idea.  Costas, Whitlock, the ball’s in your court.

Weekend Caption Contest™ Winners
Nick Newell Won A MMA Championship With One Hand