What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions

The Sports Sewer: Episode 16 – ESPN, Alejandro Bedoya, and Gun Control

Editor’s Note: Be warned this post is a deviation from the world of sport. Normally I strive to avoid politics on this blog, but because ESPN decided to fill my morning SportsCenter with it’s opinions on gun control in America… 

I really can’t wait for the day I don’t have to bring this topic up again…but I don’t think that day is ever going to come. Obviously, this isn’t the first time I’ve discussed this issue, and sadly I’m sure it won’t be the last.

I’m just going to get it out in the open.  It’s time for all you assholes who are using tragedy to advance your own causes to stop it.  Stop it right now.  I’m tired of your self-absorbed pontificating, I’m tired of your phony pretense of having some sort of “moral high ground,” and I’m especially tired of your injecting politics into sports. Remember the days immediately after 9/11 when sports were viewed as some sort of collective salve America needed to promote healing in the aftermath of a horrible event?  It’s pretty clear those days are gone.

Once again, the fact that ESPN covered the story about some soccer player screaming about gun control in the wake of this weekend’s events…bear in mind no other sports outlet gave this nearly the attention the World Wide Bottom Feeder did…which only goes to show that ESPN’s new “no politics” policy is complete bullshit.  The real proof is in what Philadelphia Union captain Alejandro Bedoya said. After scoring a goal, he grabbed an on-field microphone and shouted the following into it.

“Hey Congress, do something now. End gun violence. Let’s go!”

Before we go any further, there’s no debating that we have a problem in this country.  There’s also no debating that we are far overdue for a solution.  But a major part of the problem is that in America today, debate is dead.  Face it, we euthanized civil discourse in this country a long time ago; now the rules are essentially “agree with me or go fuck yourself.” The last 35 years in America proves that.

To see that in action. let’s start with what Bedoya said.  By calling on congress to solve the problem, it’s pretty clear he’s looking for legislation; what else can Congress do? Legislation can only mean “gun control;” and by now anybody who believes gun control is a solution is clearly delusional. We’ve been layering on with gun laws for 35 years and yet, here we are.   But the gun control crowd wouldn’t be nearly as effective if they didn’t have comic foils in the stooge-ish National Rifle Association.  This is the classic American political “dog and pony show;” one plays off the other to galvanize it’s base and fill it’s fund-raising coffers.  That’s why you never hear either side talking about real solutions.

Think about it; when’s the last time you heard either side talking about honest-to-goodness effective solutions?  To be fair, the NRA is simply playing defense; they are defending the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.  But that’s also where they are missing opportunities. I can explain that by breaking down some of Bedoya’s extended commentary.

“It’s absurd, man,” Bedoya told reporters. “I’m not going to sit idly and watch this stuff happen and not say something. Before I’m an athlete, before I’m a soccer player, I’m a human being first. This stuff affects me. I got kids. I can’t be the only one here — all you guys, I’m sure feel the same way.”

Here’s another example of “look at me, look at how much more I care than you.” Look at that statement.  It’s just shy of sixty words of complete nothing, yet ten percent of those words are “I” or “me.” Then there’s the matter of the “I got kids” thing.  That’s the house of cards on which the gun control crowd perches itself; the faux moral high ground of “we just want to protect the children.” Then they bolster that with “…all you guys, I’m sure feel the same way.”

That’s what gets us right back to the death of debate.  They’ve set the table for argument that if I disagree with the “gun control” crowd, I’m in favor killing kids.  Let’s be honest, they’ve so much as said that.  Once you’ve demonized me as wanting your kids dead, there’s really no point in talking to me, right? That’s only correct if you want to talk about agendas and ideologies.  That’s exactly why I’d rather talk about solutions; I don’t want Congress to do something. I want something done that will work.

To that end, I will be the first to admit that I don’t know what that effective solution looks like. Further toward that end, I do know two things that don’t work. The first is gun control; that already obviously doesn’t work.

A while back in the aftermath of the mass murder at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school in Florida, my blog brother from another mother SportsChump posted a piece about guns in America. The Chump and I were actually born on the exact same day more years ago than either of us may care to admit, we are both bloggers and sports fans, but the similarities stop there. For purposes of this conversation, the important difference between us lies in our politics.  The Chump will be the first to admit he tends to lean leftward, whereas I’m slightly to the right of Genghis Khan.  Despite that, and despite the polarized, divided nature of this country, we still manage to agree on things. The current gun debate in America is one of those cases; it’s why the Chump and I can see eye-to-eye.  We are taking an intellectually honest approach with the goal being a workable and effective solution. It was after I re-read his post that I realized Chump has this nailed.

I’m not here to tell you not to own a gun.  Our Constitution grants you that right.  What it doesn’t give you is the right to kill someone in cold blood, senselessly and violently.

The events of this past weekend didn’t take place in a school, but because some of the victims were children, Bedoya played that card again to set the table for “agree with me or you’re a monster.” Chump was all over that too.

Allow me to clearly state for the record that we are ALL to blame for the lack of constructive dialogue.  Until that impasse is resolved, these senseless acts will continue and expound. Regurgitating statistics on gun violence to support one side or another resolves nothing.  I humbly present the only statistic that matters.  One shot kid at a school is one shot kid too many.

In other words, Alejandro Bedoya and his ilk are going to again beat the drum for gun control, but they’re not going to get anywhere, which also means I can’t look to them for a solution. There are three reasons why.

1) The “gun control” crowd have been exceptionally stupid

Face it, it’s really hard to argue against that “if it doesn’t fit, you must acquit” type of logic. The “gun control” crowd made their fundamental mistake by waiting for events like this to try to advance their cause. That means they get a few moments in the headlines in the aftermath of tragedies, while the NRA gets a long-running catch phrase with gems like “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” It takes almost no intellectual power whatsoever to come up with a slogan like that, and yet the g”gun control” crowd can’t counter it.

Not to mention, the “gun control” crowd have a fundamental problem. Gun control isn’t politically popular.  Since 1990, Gallup has been asking Americans whether they think gun control laws should be stricter. The answer is that they don’t.

“The percentage in favor of making the laws governing the sale of firearms ‘more strict’ fell from 78% in 1990 to 62% in 1995, and 51% in 2007,” reports Gallup. “In the most recent reading, Gallup in 2010 found 44% in favor of stricter laws. In fact, in 2009 and again last year, the slight majority said gun laws should either remain the same or be made less strict.”

However, that isn’t to say the gun control movement has no shot. The same people who don’t want stricter gun control laws are the typical waffling American, which means they will also talk out of the other side of their mouths and favor silly bits of feel-goodism like banning possession of semi-automatic rifles, when it is the fully-automatic jobs that are the big gun “boogie man,” despite the fact they are already illegal to possess without a federal firearms license.

The part that really drives home the stupidity of the “gun control” crowd is that while they keep making their appeals in the aftermath of yet another tragedy, mass shootings don’t change public opinion, according to the Pew Research Center,

There has been no significant change in public views on the issue of gun control and gun rights following the July 20th shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. Currently, 47% say it is more important to control gun ownership, while 46% say it is more important to protect the rights of Americans to own guns. That is virtually unchanged from a survey earlier this year in April, when 45% prioritized gun control and 49% gun rights.

Other recent major shootings also had little effect on public opinion about gun laws. There was no significant change in the balance of opinion about gun rights and gun control after the January, 2011 shooting in Tucson, Arizona in which Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was injured. Nor was there a spike in support for gun control following the shooting at Virginia Tech University in April, 2007.

The shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School was no different.  Nor was Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school.  Nor will be El Paso and Dayton.  To be successful, the “gun control” crowd needs to change its approach, and they have demonstrated time and time again they are too stupid to see that. They don’t understand that you can’t win converts with emotional appeals in the wake of publicized tragedies, because emotions fade and facts are forever.

2) Gun laws only exist to make the”gun control” crowd feel better

This is an undeniable truth about gun laws. The NRA will have you believing that guns laws only disarm law-abiding citizens, which while true completely misses the point.  The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states, “…the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” Some elements of the “gun control” crowd continually try to assault the Second Amendment, using logic like “it was written for muskets.”  Well, if the Second Amendment was written for muskets, I guess the First Amendment was only written for printing presses. That’s just pure silliness.

Technology doesn’t change principles; besides, there is a proscribed method for changing the Constitution.  If you don’t like it; avail yourselves of the process and do something substantive rather than pass toothless, unenforceable laws.

Let’s look at some pertinent facts which make gun laws pointless; look at this list and tell me which ones would have prevented (pick shooting event of your choice).

  • Under existing laws, the federal government performed 14 million background checks on gun purchases last year.
  • Another existing law, The Federal Gun Free School Zone Act of 1995, made it illegal for even licensed gun owners to walk within 1,000 feet of any school (kindergarten to 12th grade) while carrying a gun.
  • The majority of guns used to commit crimes were obtained illegally.
  • Federal law requires gun owners to report to law enforcement any guns known to have been lost or stolen.

Not to mention, about 80 million Americans legally own guns, which means 40-45% of households in the U.S. contain at least one gun. Do you know what means? That means despite the best attempts to advance the idea that America leads the world in “mass public shootings,” nothing could be further from the truth.  Despite building the “gun control” house of cards on the imagery of dead children, America rates far below the global average in this category.

When you consider all of this, why do the “gun control” people keep beating their heads against the same wall?  The only answer that makes sense is that gun laws are about making the “gun control” crowd feel like they have accomplished something, when in fact they have accomplished nothing.

3) Gun laws are virtually unenforceable

This is the big reason why gun laws are pointless. Go back to the statistic about 80 million Americans owning guns, which means 40-45% of households in the U.S. contain at least one gun. That’s just the guns we know about.  Stop to consider that, then combine that statistic with the fact that the majority of crimes committed using a gun involved an illegal obtaining of said gun.

It begs the question just exactly how many guns are there in America today? How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop? Nobody really knows.  The FBI estimates that there are over 200 million privately-owned firearms in the U.S. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms puts the number closer to 250 million. When you combine that number with all the guns owned by the military and law enforcement, the number of guns in this country is probably somewhere between 300 and 350 million, all of which can be acquired through legal sale, illegal sale, and theft.

Do you know how large a number 350 million is? That’s  more Big Macs than McDonald’s sells in six months. That’s twice the number of barrels of beer produced by Anheuser-Busch in a year. That’s more than enough for at least one gun for every man, woman, and child in America.

In other words, trying to get rid of guns in America would be like trying to soak up the ocean with a sponge.  If for no other reason, you’re simply too late; the gun genie is out of the bottle and there’s no putting it back.

Face it, the only way you can have real gun control is if you confiscate all the guns. That’s a pretty tall order considering nobody really knows how many there are to grab in the first place.  Not to mention, even if you did know, the only way to ensure you’ve collected them all is to start kicking down doors in some sort of Nazi-esque forced collection. The really fun part is that the minute you do that, you instantly legitimize all the right-wing militia kooks who have been saying all along that’s where this country was headed.  Then, the revolution really starts.

Doubt that? Ask yourself this question: Where will an attempt an gun confiscation cause a bigger bloodbath…armed resistance from the aforementioned right-wing militia types, de facto urban warfare in the housing projects of places like Chicago, or from a veritable and likely uprising of a legally-armed populace?  Like it or not, the only thing Americans love more than cars is guns, and they aren’t going to give them up.  39 states have laws permitting individuals with gun licenses to carry them concealed.  Most states do not require the registration of guns.  You are never going to get the guns out of America, so it’s time to look for another solution, because what the “gun control” crowd is doing now will not work, nor will it ever.  As easy as it has been to blame guns, it has been equally ineffective.

Why have we been so interested in blaming guns? Because it is far easier for “symbolism over substance” America to demonize inanimate chunks of metal rather than to come to grips with the fact that our society is producing murderous sociopaths.  It’s easier to blame guns than to look inward at why our culture is so diseased; curing that requires more than a quick bit of feel-goodism.

That brings us exactly to the second thing we already know doesn’t work; it’s precisely where the where the NRA is dropping the ball.  Despite all their blather, the “gun control” people are still perched on a house of cards because reasonable people who can see beyond a political agenda can also see the logical fallacy in their position.  That logical fallacy is also why the “gun control” crowd can never be the source of an effective solution to the problem; they’ve proven they are more interested in ideology than solutions.

The problem here is the NRA lets these people define them as a bunch of “gun nuts;” which takes us right back to the role of demonization in the death of debate in America.  In other words, the NRA keeps letting itself get sucked into “dog and pony shows” which can never be more than perpetual stalemates.  That’s why it needs to do the one thing it’s opposition can’t do: provide a solution.

Like I said, I don’t know exactly how that would come about, but I do know the start that would knock over the “gun control” crowd’s house of cards.  If the NRA were to allocate some of it’s immense political strength to force a revamping of the treatment of the mentally ill in this country, imagine what we could do.  We could get to a place where we find out about dangerous people before the shoot-up a Wal-Mart, we get them the help they need, and we get to the root cause of the problem, which isn’t guns.  It’s about people who want to kill people.

Seems to me that’s got a better shot to achieve a goal than some soccer player virtue-signaling into a microphone.

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About J-Dub

What your view of sports would be if you had too many concussions

3 comments on “The Sports Sewer: Episode 16 – ESPN, Alejandro Bedoya, and Gun Control

  1. jbsptfn
    August 5, 2019

    Ohhh geez. ESPN just shows again how really and truly pathetic it is.


  2. SportsChump
    August 6, 2019

    Love the shout-out.

    Speaking of shout-outs (shoot-outs?), when are we hitting the range?

    Which reminds me…. I still owe you a Hooper post.


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This entry was posted on August 5, 2019 by in Sports, Sports Media and tagged , , , , .

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