The Cycle | December 03, 2012
>> that was nbc's bob costas at halftime of last night's eagles game offering his thoughts on the javon belcher tragedy after he took his own life this weekend as well as the life of his girlfriend, kasandra perkins, mother of his 3-month-old child. the murder suicide has reignited the violence in football, football and drugs and athletes and guns and, of course, guns and violence. let's backspin on it. i'm a little emotional after reading that. my first thought here is bob costas is in his right to say whatever he wants to say and hold whatever position he wants to hold. i personally have a pretty nuanced position on this issue in general. you know, i think the nra, gun owners of america go too far in imposing any kind of restriction on gun rights . they think you should be able to own anything in any number and carry it in any place at any time, and that i disagree with but what i would say is let's leave the constitution out this because i think that's a complicated argument as well. what i would say is if you want to infringe on liberty and say you can't do x, y or z, i think the burden of proof has to be on you for why there's a societal need for infringing on that liberty. i've looked into this because i'm sort of on the fence on the issue. i looked back at the 2008 landmark supreme court case about the handgun ban in d.c. justice breyer who was a dissenter in the case and considered a liberal justice looked at the evidence for whether a ban on handguns reducing violence and said that the upshot is a stet of studies and counterstudies that at most leave a judge uncertain about the proper policy conclusions. basically, you know, it's a very mixed bag as to whether totally eliminating guns, restricting guns actually gets at the problem that we're trying to address.
>> it doesn't.
>> guns are only used for one purpose, and that's killing. there's no other way to use them.
>> my dad uses them for target practice.
>> so do i.
>> they facilitate, amplify and escalate anger. they make killing easier. soldiers talk about very close killing people when you're close do them. it takes no courage at all to pull a trigger. so they make us less safer. we have 3,000 kids killed by firearms each year. that's more than the number of soldiers killed. one of the things we didn't quite was jason whitlock saying from bob costas saying handguns don't enhance safety and exacerbate flaws. that's true, and how many times do we have to hear of a troubled person grabbing a gun and taking their emotions out on somebody else with that gun. javon belcher is clearly a person who had a tremendous amount of pain in his life. he shot his girlfriend eight times. that is an extraordinary amount of anger spilling out of him. this is not what the founders envisioned, and this is not the best policy that we can have for our society.
>> that anger is what we should be talking about. we're talking about the weapons. we're not talking about domestic violence , and that does a huge disservice to the woman who is in that situation who his done no service by bob costas telling millions of nfl viewers that they have permission to blame guns instead of the person who pulled the trigger. so we're not going to talk about the reason for domestic violence . we're not going to talk about maybe whether or not this guy had psychiatric problems. we're going to talk about the gun. for whitlock or costas to give an inanimate object human capabilities, saying that handguns exacerbate our flaws and bait us into embracing confrontation is absolutely absurd, and i think that rather than talk about the guns, what we should be talking about is the root of the problem and bob costas has, i think, done something shameful and irresponsible and is going to have some blood on his hands in the future if we continue to talk about the wrong problem, what is not the problem. handguns.
>> well, i wish you'd grapple with some statistics before you say something like statistics --
>> i looked into this a lot, steve, and many --
>> s.e. --
>> very few are submitted in handguns.
>> in a house with a gun a domestic disturbance is 12 times more likely to end in a homicide. a woman living in a house with gaun is five times more likely to be murdered. two-thirds of all women who are killed by guns in this country, and by the way, that's five women a day, two-thirds of them are in domestic disturbances. so you don't say it's just about the gun here and we're ignoring domestic violence . there's a link here. a gun plus domestic violence turns what would be a horrible situation where a woman gets beat up but at least has a chance to get out with her life and to get away from that situation, it takes that and it makes her dead. that's -- when you add a gun to that situation, that's what happens.
>> most women are in danger in domestic violence situations because of fists and hands. what we need to be looking -- anything can be a weapon, steve. anything can be a weapon --
>> but i just established that that the difference between having the gun in the house --
>> not the object.
>> but there's a 12 times difference between those two things. that's statistically significant.
>> let me attempt to mediate this dispute here. i think one thing that, you know, liberals, gun control advocates do need to bear in mind is there are a lot of very responsible gun owners . my father is one of them, s.e. is one of them, and i think that it's easy to take things very personally when you are blaming the gun because you are in a way casting aspersions on everybody who owns a firearm, and so i think we do have to be very careful about the language that we use around that, about pointing out, you know, the root causes of domestic violence , that it's not just the guns, even though those statistics bear out that it does create a much more dangerous situation. so that's one thing that i would just caution us on.
>> i think bob costas could have really had a great moment if he realized that he had a captive audience, mostly of men, to talk about the horrors of domestic violence and really raise that as an issue instead of i think very recklessly just talking about the gun --
>> and ignore the element that takes domestic violence and makes it 12 times nor likely to lead to somebody dying. let's just ignore that.
>> filmmaker ken burns looks back at a story toure says is both old and, unfortunately, new again. i had enough