It’s been a little over a week since the tragic news of the death of Kansas City Chiefs player Jovan Belcher, who shot himself in front of Arrowhead Stadium after admitting that he killed his girlfriend in the early morning of December 1st. The reaction that followed this event in regards to domestic violence and gun control got me thinking about unfortunate incidents similar to what happened here. And here are my thoughts.
When I first heard of this event, I was shocked but not surprised. Unfortunately, domestic violence incidents are more common in the U.S. then many want to admit. One might hear about something in the news about a domestic dispute and think nothing of it because it occurs frequent enough that we have become numb to it. But what I find interesting is how domestic violence/murders take the national spotlight when someone well known or famous dies as a result of it. I remember being in San Diego in the Summer of 1998 in a random hotel room when I saw the news that Phil Hartman was killed by his wife, who took her own life shortly after. The footage I remember seeing on television was the cops taking the kids from the house to safety. I felt bad for them because I knew that their lives changed in a blink of an eye. They had to stay with family or someone close by, but for them to go on without their parents is just something unimaginable. Looking at the Jovan Belcher incident, he and his slain girlfriend leave behind a 3 month old girl, who will probably now be taken care of by Jovan’s mother, who moved from the east coast to Kansas City to help them take care of the child. But the question that surfaced from this event was this: Could the deaths of Jovan Belcher and his girlfriend have been avoided?
The question of this whole situation be avoided is a tricky one to answer. The reaction I heard from sports analysts to sports radio hosts were wide in range. But thanks to NBC’s Bob Costas’ comments about gun control, the reaction and discussion was centered around that. Bob Costas gave his reaction during the halftime of Sunday Night Football about the murder/suicide of Jovan Belcher. His last sentence was something along the lines of, “maybe Jovan Belcher and girlfriend Kasandra Perkins would still be alive if he didn’t have a gun.” Was he advocating gun control? Not sure, but his comments and this sentence sparked a debate across the nation that caused Costas to backtrack from his statement a few days after his rant. He didn’t directly say that he was taking back his statements, a spokesperson for Bob Costas made that statement for him. My only thought to the idea that gun control would have saved Belcher and Perkins is this. O.J. Simpson didn’t use a gun to kill Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman back in the 1994; he used a knife. So no matter how much we can discuss gun control, there are other methods to kill a person. In fact, Bob Costas and sports writer Jason Whitlock made such a stance on gun control, someone wrote an open letter to them saying that guns and the 2nd Amendment is the reason that she is alive. Read the open letter here. But what no one is talking about is how the dispute started that caused the murder of Kasandra Perkins and led Jovan Belcher to take his own life.
Jovan Belcher may have been seeing someone else besides the woman who just had his 3 month old girl, Zoey. According to newsday.com, Jovan was found in his car outside of an apartment complex by police. Reports say he went into an apartment with an unidentified woman. Here’s the link to the article. I don’t want to jump to conclusions here, I just try to piece the whole story together as best as I can. So, maybe Jovan got to his home early in the morning after being at the apartment of the unidentified woman when a dispute came about between Kasandra Perkins and Jovan, which led to the the shooting of Perkins (and we know the rest of the story). So that question of could this have been avoided? I don’t know for sure.
The one thing I always noticed in stories related to this is that the victims are always forgotten because everyone focuses on the person who did the killings. Kasanda Perkins the girlfriend who was killed by Jovan Belcher is a victim in this who probably hasn’t received much attention. But I think the true victim in this whole thing in the 3 month old daughter Zoey. She, like I mentioned earlier, will probably be raised by Jovan’s mother and will never know first hand what her parents were like because of this incident.