A Sorry Association

posted on January 4, 2016

When I first heard that the National Basketball Association (NBA) was teaming up with Michael Bloomberg’s radical gun prohibitionist machine Everytown for Gun Safety and extremist film director Spike Lee to produce an ad to air during games on Christmas day, I thought it had to be some sort of misunderstanding. Then I did what we all seem to do these days when there is any doubt—I went straight to my smartphone. Sadly, it turned out to be true. 

We are all too accustomed to having ignorant, emotional celebrities loudly taking up various feel-good causes that consume their elitist circles, gun control being no exception. It is certainly their right to embarrass themselves. However, we should all expect better from a professional organization like the NBA. I’m glad that I only used to be a fan. Maybe back then the NBA understood it had fans outside of the government-is-the-answer-to-all-of-our-problems strongholds like Boston, Los Angeles and Chicago.  Let’s be clear here once again: Everytown for Gun Safety is about anything and everything but gun safety.

The NBA says that the partnership is not political—that it’s not part of the pitiful movement in the country to erode uniquely American individual freedoms. Yeah, right. Of course, every major media outlet has predictably reported the message to be about one thing—more gun regulation of the type being shamelessly pushed by President Barack Obama and Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton every time there is a report of evil in action around the country. One NBA spokesperson claimed the campaign was all about an effort to “make our communities stronger and safer for kids and families.”  

Let’s be clear here once again: Everytown for Gun Safety is about anything and everything but gun safety. Its leaders make no secret of the fact that they believe there is no “good” gun. To them, they are all “illegal” guns. If they could all be collected and melted down, Everytown leaders would be the first ones to fire up the smelters. There is no gun-control proposal the group does not back, and no gun-rights legislation it does not malign.  

The National Rifle Association is the organization that is, in fact, about gun safety. Its safety training for children and adults is responsible for today’s historic low number (far more impressive than rate) of firearms-related accidental deaths among both populations. This is at a time when there are record numbers of both gun owners and privately owned guns. If you hold your breath until the pansy NBA brass decides to partner with The NRA Foundation in a real safety ad campaign, I guarantee that’s not going to end well for you. Yep, this whole thing isn’t about politics at all.  

Why do Steph Curry, Carmelo Anthony, Joakim Noah and Chris Paul have to talk about gun violence? Why can’t these star players simply talk about discouraging all violence if this isn’t about guns and more regulation of them? Does anyone really believe that a murder victim’s family experiences any less pain if a car, knife or blunt object is used to kill their loved one? Violence is violence, and we should all seek meaningful and effective ways to end the conditions that help to cause it. 

This cheap talk about guns doesn’t accomplish anything. The gang members and drug dealers doing the vast majority of the killing in the streets of Noah’s Chicago or Paul’s Los Angeles talk about their (already illegal) guns all of the time. They are an integral component of their existence. They choose to live and die by the gun, and no 30-second spot during a timeout on Christmas Day is going to change this.  

Talking about other things is what can make the difference. These other things are the hard things that don’t make people particularly popular when they attempt to deal with them in a forthright, adult manner. It’s so damn easy to blame all that is terrible on an inanimate object that will do nothing but rust into dust if left untouched for a thousand years.

Instead of the NBA advocating for more gun control, maybe it could talk about the fact that most murders are committed by high school dropouts with little hope of gainful employment. If it is going to get into the business of peddling public policy, maybe it can advocate for more effective prosecution of the violent criminals who live among us. It is no secret that most murders are committed by those already accustomed with violence. Many have already committed aggravated assaults, rapes and robberies. They logically graduate to killing if allowed to remain outside of prison walls. The NBA could talk about how a bad guy can’t kill our loved ones using a gun or any other weapon if he is kept locked up instead of benefiting from the revolving-door justice that thrives in too many NBA towns. 

There is a typical killer, and it’s not someone who has never been convicted of a violent offense or involved in violent crime before. These are the facts. If the goal is really to reduce violence, doesn’t it seem logical to start here? I guess that’s just too hard. 

The NBA might join the lazy in pursuing simple solutions that aren’t really solutions at all, but it should be above joining the liars. In the ad, a number of family members of victims simultaneously state that “88 people die of gun violence every day.” This is a lie, primarily because 56 of those 88 are suicides. The gun-control zealots include suicides—and for that matter, even deaths from armed self-defense episodes—in discussions about “violence” because they don’t care about the truth and they know the inflated number will dramatically increase emotional appeal.  Why can’t these star players simply talk about discouraging all violence if this isn’t about guns and more regulation of them?

Do we talk about “prescription medication violence” when people intent on ending their lives overdose? What about ropes, bridges, running vehicles in enclosed spaces and razor blades? NBA executives are intelligent enough to appreciate the absurdity associated with this sham. But this isn’t about politics, remember. 

The NBA should be better than advocating that good citizens be helpless against violence. In the ad, Anthony smugly states, “The gun should never be an option.” Really? Why don’t you tell that to the stalking victim who shot and killed her perpetual tormentor after he kicked in her bedroom door and attempted to strangle her while she was on the phone with 911? Why don’t you tell that to the janitor working an honest job who used his permitted concealed handgun to shoot and kill two men trying to beat and choke the life out of him? Thousands of good people in America turn to the gun as their only option every year, Carmelo.  

I guess it makes sense for hypocrites to flock together. Michael Bloomberg sees guns as more than an “option” with his extensive, omnipresent, armed security team; and Carmelo and his buddies in the NBA turn to the gun every time they have their bodyguards nearby. Guns are good for them, but no one else. That they often spread their dangerous, elitist message to an urban population that is most in need of being protected from violent crime is particularly despicable.  

The NBA should stick to doing what it is supposed to do—creating a fair means of determining the best professional basketball team in North America. It shouldn’t lie about gun violence, and it shouldn’t advocate that good people be denied the most efficient and effective means of self-protection. NBA officials can say this isn’t about politics and advocating for gun control until the cows come home. Maybe the most offensive thing about all of this is that they believe the people—their customers—are dumb enough to buy it. 

The NBA would have us simpletons see the timing of this ad, intended to sway public sentiment, as a mere coincidence. Polling shows that support for gun rights and opposition to gun control pushed by President Obama is at all-time highs. More and more citizens are seeing the silliness associated with the gun controllers attempting to ignore what the FBI reports is a historically low violent crime rate, while gun ownership is at an all-time high. 

The president has announced he is about to once again act like the emperor he says he’s disappointed he is not, and unilaterally impose gun controls defeated time and again by the elected representatives of the people in Congress. Moving forward, we should all assume there is more than meets the eye whenever President Obama sits courtside at a Bulls game.


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