Letter to the Editor

Alumnus criticizes Bob Costas’ opinion on gun control in light of Belcher incident

Bob Costas took time at the end of halftime of Sunday Night Football to offer an opinion based upon the Jovan Belcher tragedy that we should outlaw handguns. Costas would have been a fellow graduate in the class of 1974 at Syracuse University with me, but he chose to drop out. That decision did not impede his success, but it does indicate to me he committed at the least the second incidence of bad judgment in his life.

There has been no indication Belcher did not possess his gun legally. Costas’ justification is that where domestic violence exists we can save lives from making sure none of the rest of us has handguns. Given the bully pulpit that Costas enjoys, I could relate, on average, at least a dozen weekly incidents where a legal gun owner saved lives by preventing a deadly crime.

Unfortunately with Costas’ argument we cannot create laws that require judgment, outlaw mental incapacity or duress. He concludes by stating that without handguns, neither of these victims would be dead. This is naive since domestic violence occurs regularly with physical assault, knives and blunt objects. An NFL linebacker certainly has the means to commit manslaughter without a handgun. Costas’ argument may have merit in regard to the suicide, but little can be done to stop someone who has intent to kill themselves with plenty of options.

Had I the opportunity Costas had, I would wonder about the more obvious sports angles. The intimacy of a sports locker room makes me question — why did no one see a potential problem here?

Or this. Domestic violence is not uncommon among NFL athletes. Newfound wealth for young, formerly economically deprived men now have perceived unreasonable demands put on them by friends, girls and otherwise. Should the league have a task force to address this issue like the one for concussions?

There are plenty of other true sports angles that a seasoned journalist like Costas could have ventured into. Instead Costas chose to editorialize about eliminating a right granted under the Constitution.

NBC has opened all venues of programming to promote an agenda — as I do not expect Costas will be fired for his on-air remarks. In days past, that is what happened when a personality went rogue on air. So this must be the corporate line.

The problem with rights in our country is some choose not to exercise all of the rights to which they are entitled, and yet object to those who do.

I took that constitutional law elective as a senior. Maybe Costas should have stuck around for that extra year.

Robert Burwell
Management ’74


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