When it Comes to Gun Violence and Mass Shootings, Steve Kerr is Angry and So Are We
By Gerry Chidiac
Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr is one of the most esteemed personalities in the National Basketball Association. After yet another school shooting in the United States, this time at an elementary school in Texas, which followed a mass shooting at a grocery store and another at a church, Kerr displayed righteous anger toward the politicians in his country who refuse to pass legislation to require background checks for gun ownership, even though most Americans would like to see that put into law.
During a pre-game press conference, Kerr did not talk about basketball. Instead, he stated:
“We are being held hostage by 50 senators in Washington who refuse to put it to a vote, despite what we, the American people, want. They won’t vote on it because they want to hold onto their own power. It’s pathetic. I’ve had enough.”
He then stormed out of the room.
The arms industry is very wealthy and powerful, and they make generous contributions to the politicians who make sure that their coffers will continue to expand. Gun violence is out of control in the United States because of the well-funded lobby of the arms industry on all levels of the American government. This has led to some very dangerous trends in the United States.
According to the advocacy group Public Citizen:
• The United States is the only country on the entire planet with more guns than people.
• Americans endure more mass shootings than all other developed countries combined.
• The frequency — and body count — of mass shootings has increased in recent years.
• Thirteen of the 20 deadliest mass shootings since 1982 happened in just the past decade.
• There were 118 school shootings in 2018, doubling the previous record of 59. Then 119 in 2019. Then 114 in 2020. Then 249 (not a typo) in 2021. And already 137 so far in 2022.
• The three deadliest years for school shootings in the past half-century are 2018, 2021, and 2022.
• Guns have become the leading cause of death among children in the United States.
The United States is not the only country in the world with school shootings, but they are much less frequent elsewhere because of the collaborative efforts of school administrators, law enforcement agents, politicians and other significant players to prevent them. These countries have studied the school shooting incidents, their causes, and have developed effective means of responding to them. They have implemented plans and protocols to keep our children safe. No system is perfect, and we always need to be on guard, but the data illustrates what is working and what is not.
Steve Kerr is a reasonable and honorable person. Most people in the United States agree with him. Gun control –maybe better called gun safety — is only one of several issues on which American elected officials are far out of sync with their constituents. Democracy is by its nature an imperfect form of government, but a government cannot continue to function as a democracy if it does not eventually bend to the will of its people.
Like Steve Kerr, we need to let it be known that we’re angry with the status quo.
Gerry Chidiac is a Canadian educator and a columnist for Troy Media.
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League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
Vanderbilt Sport & Society - On The Ball with Andrew Maraniss with guest Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director for League of Fans and author of How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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