Two weeks ago, Bob Costas called into question the NFL culture, the gun culture, and the domestic violence culture after the murder suicide of an NFL player and his girlfriend. He took a lot of flak for his comments with some calling for NBC to fire him. They complained he lacked any qualifications to speak about gun control. My question, what qualification do his critics possess? None! In both cases, someone is expressing an opinion. However, if that opinion questions gun laws or gun ownership then it shouldn’t be permitted according to the gun rights bullies in our country.
The NRA and others frequently quote the second amendment in these cases. Apparently, the second amendment is the only one worth quoting or protecting. The first amendment and the right to free speech is squashed by these second amendment intimidators…if you want to discuss gun control, you aren’t qualified to speak. If you support banning assault weapons, you are violating the Constitution. If you favor background checks, you’re invading their privacy. The list goes on and on.
Bob Costas spoke over a week before a gunman opened fire in an Oregon mall and twelve days before dozens of first graders and school personnel were massacred in Connecticut. He started a long overdue conversation. Before this week’s events, a few others spoke up and supported his comments. On Friday, the President finally stopped dancing around the gun control issue in his remarks regarding the school shooting. The words gun control have actually been heard in the news this week…even as some continue to say this is no the time for these discussions.
It’s time. It’s time we stop the bullies. It’s time we who support gun control speak up. Just as those who watch the playground bully without taking action are guilty in their silence, those of us who do not speak out on gun control and equally complaisant.
I will contact my legislators. I will not let other’s speech regarding the need to protect gun rights to go unchallenged. I will sign petitions and research and support organizations such as the Brady Campaign, Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, and Physicians for Social Responsibility, that advocate for gun control. I will follow Bob Costas’s lead. I hope you will too.