Friday, May 09, 2008

Guns Don't Kill People, People With Guns Kill People

I can completely understand why professional athletes feel the need to carry firearms. With the murder of Sean Taylor and the mugging of the Chicago Bears’ first draft pick, Rashard Mendenhall, you would have to be stupid to think athletes aren’t at risk. Its hard to imagine, considering they are about twice the size of most people, I don’t know who would want to threaten these physical specimens. Yet, when confronted with a knife, I can understand why these athletes would want to protect themselves.

Considering this, carrying guns is asking for trouble. Recently, Marvin Harrison has been under legal investigation for being involved in a shootout in Philadelphia. While it is not definitive whether Harrison did anything wrong or illegal, he is clearly not in the ideal situation. To state the obvious, any time someone gets into a shootout and does not alert the police, something is wrong.

This is not the first time professional athletes have gotten in trouble with firearms. Tank Johnson, a defensive tackle for the Dallas Cowboys, was suspended by the league for his run ins with the law. He owned a small arsenal before it was confiscated by the police. Sean Taylor also owned and regularly operated a gun. The list is never ending.

Is this a problem? Yes. Is there anything the league or the government can do about it? No. The right to bear arms extends to everyone, professional athletes too. Because many of these athletes come from underprivileged inner city environments, and have connections to unlawful individuals, that doesn’t mean you can prevent them from obtaining firearms legally. The fact of the matter is they can often be in a dangerous situation, and if they feel the need to protect themselves, it is their right to do so.

Had Mendenhall been carrying a gun, he may well have tried to pull it on the mugger, and could have gotten seriously injured. Imagine if the Bear’s first round pick had been killed before he could step onto the field. It would be Len Bias all over again. Yet, it would have been impossible to blame him, since he was merely trying to protect himself from a dangerous situation. Luckily, Mendenhall realized his wallet is not worth his wallet or cell phone, and simply gave them up to the mugger.

This is a tragic side effect of being an athlete, and lets pray there is no Sean Taylor repeat. Because that is all we really can do about this unfortunate problem. Pray. 

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