G.L.Piggy [at] gmail.com
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Several things swirling around lately. The internet is buzzing with articles about unmarrieds and never-marrieds and single mothers. Ross Douthat has a piece that received a lot of attention. Philip Cohen of the University of Maryland wrote a piece that gained attention among feminists showing that while the incidence of single motherhood has increased over the past few decades, violent crime and murder have decreased. He also called for an apology to single mothers for the blame they’ve unfairly received. Many of those articles – including Amanda Marcotte’s response – were focused on the unelected Mitt Romney’s remarks in one of the debates on the topic of gun control. Romney asserted that family stability is one effective crime control method.
Then we have Jovan Belcher, the Kansas City Chiefs linebacker. He killed the mother of his child in front of his own mother after an argument in which Belcher’s girlfriend reportedly told him that she was going to leave him and fight for child custody and child support. He shot her dead and then drove to Arrowhead Stadium and killed himself in front of his head coach and general manager.
Jason Whitlock and Bob Costas both used the tragic incident as a springboard to criticize gun ownership and “gun culture”. Costas quoted from Whitlock’s article during halftime of last night’s game between the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles:
Back to Whitlock:
Our current gun culture simply ensures that more and more domestic disputes will end in the ultimate tragedy, and that more convenience-store confrontations over loud music coming from a car will leave more teenage boys bloodied and dead.
In the coming days, Belcher’s actions will be analyzed through the lens of concussions and head injuries. Who knows? Maybe brain damage triggered his violent overreaction to a fight with his girlfriend. What I believe is, if he didn’t possess/own a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today.
O.J. Simpson didn’t use a gun. Of course, he also didn’t kill himself. So, really, the gun increased the likelihood that Belcher would have killed himself. Otherwise the case doesn’t get discussed by the sports media. Besides that, logistically, Whitlock is criticizing what seems to have been a perfectly legal ownership of a gun. The article in question is receiving a lot of blowback because it issues a blanket statement for a highly contentious topic. Whitlock is clamoring for the complete eradication of gun ownership when more precise measures of gun control, such as screening for mental health issues or prescription drug usage or, say, childhood family structure might be a better policy.
As Keoni Galt points out, Javon Belcher is the product of a single mom.
Belcher told the newspaper he credited his mother, Cheryl Shepard, and three older sisters with giving him support. “My mother is a hardworking woman,” he said. “To see her overcome some things and succeed, it makes me look at things and say, ‘This isn’t even hard.’ I didn’t really have a father figure, so they provided nice guidance for me.”
Whitlock doesn’t usually shy away from such PC-infused topics. He wrote about Vince Young’s failures in the NFL:
It’s not about color. It’s about fitting the profile of someone who can handle all that goes along with being an NFL quarterback. If I’m an owner, I spend my quarterback dollars on young men who were raised by strong fathers. It wouldn’t be an infallible system, but on average I bet I’d hit more winners than if I turned over the leadership of my team to a kid who isn’t used to having a strong male authority figure.
But a culture influenced by a large centralized government that is also heavily influenced by progressives and social radicals is one that will allow individuals to do whatever they want to do all while providing subsidies for the behavior. That is taken as the default, the new normal, in our society. It can never be considered a root cause of any errant behavior. Essentially, the federal government gains power by keeping individuals on the dole – needy and supplicant – while limiting their strength as represented by gun ownership rights. Violence cannot be attributed solely to any single cause, but regardless of the “right” allocation, there is a constant pressure to downplay the role of family structure while focusing more attention to gun ownership.