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December 14, 2012

On The Rebound: Belcher situation tragic

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — After Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher tragically took his life and the life of girlfriend Cassandra Perkins, NBC sportscaster Bob Costas took the opportunity to rail against our right to bear arms. Although Costas has a right to his opinion and a forum to express it, it does not mean we have to agree. Nor does it mean he is right. The same can be said for this sports writer and his opinion.

The recent tug and pull between those that own guns and those that would ban them has reached an impasse that will never be breached. This leaves states like Kentucky, where we are outdoorsmen raised with guns, to pass laws to further protect our rights. The rush to buy guns when President Obama was elected grew from the fear that these guns would be taken away. I have spoken to people that are burying guns near their home so they can never be confiscated. A little outlandish, but we live in outlandish times.

Just after the tragedy in Kansas City, there was another sobering incident in the NFL. An accident involving two members of the Dallas Cowboys led to the death of a passenger and arrest of the driver for DUI. Yet there was no outcry for the abolishment of alcohol sales. Details about the Belcher murder-suicide later include the fact Belcher had a “wild night of partying” before committing his crime. Belcher had also undergone financial trouble and relationship counseling. So to blame the gun for this incident is like blaming the rain for the leak in your roof. There were plenty of issues before Belcher picked up the gun.

It is more an indictment of the times when jobs, financial, and relationship stress are often more deadly than a bullet. I do not remember murder suicides generations ago when guns were just as prevalent, but peace of mind more attainable. We lived simply, loved more unconditionally, and forgave.

If I were raised in New York or Los Angeles the opinion might differ. If my only knowledge of guns were that when someone picks one up then someone else dies. Instead I was raised where we are taught at an early age to respect guns and opinions.

I pray the families find some comfort in this tragedy and the child that has been orphaned is raised with love. I still do not blame guns for the events that unfolded. I blame the times we live in today.

mhoward@sentinel-echo.com

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