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December 8, 2012

Armed and dangerous

NORMAN — Those of you who believe you should be able to “pack heat” or whatever expression people use to describe carrying a deadly weapon are about to get really heated up by what comes next: Bravo Bob Costas.

Congratulations for using your forum on NBC’s Sunday night “Football in America” broadcast and having the courage to be direct about the nation’s “gun culture” when commenting on the tragic murder-suicide of Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher and his girlfriend, Kasandra Perkins.

For the record, all that Bob stated was the obvious, that “If he didn’t possess/own a gun, he and Kasandra would be alive today.” But that was enough to cause apoplexy among those who believe in a somehow-sacred right to possess their instruments of death.

The right wing has gone ballistic. On Fox News, host Brian Kilmeade angrily wondered whether it was “appropriate for Costas to make his remarks,” or whether he abused his position by taking advantage of a TV platform that amplifies his individual opinion to the point that it reached 20 million people. In other words, he should keep his points of view abouteverything but football to himself.

Actually, it’s an arguable position. Why should we care what a celebrity thinks other than being surprised that he or she really thinks? Why should those who are nonbelievers be forced to watch Tim Tebow and so many other athletes demonstrate their religious fervor each and every time they score a touchdown or hit a home run? Why should we really care which stars supported Barack Obama or Mitt Romney, or which ones come to Washington to testify before Congress about their favorite cause?

But we do care about what they have to say, and if that’s the case, Costas was entirely appropriate when he took a stand. How pathetic it is that our political leaders, among them President Obama, are so timid in the face of the gun lobby kowtowing to those who have made America’s love affair with guns a murderous obsession.

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