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.
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #32 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Prolific Author Joe Posnanski Joins the Show – Posnanski is one of America’s best sportswriters and has twice been named the best sports columnist in America by the Associated Press Sports Editors. We chat about his new book, “Why We Love Baseball,” his new Substack newsletter called Joe Blogs, and we cover topics including how baseball treats its fans, MLB’s numerous rule changes this past season, how the sport can become more fan-friendly, the greatness of Negro Leagues champion Buck O’Neil, and much more.
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Episode #31 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Foul Ball Safety Is Still an Important Issue at Ballparks – Our guests are Jordan Skopp, founder of FoulBallSafety.com and Greg Wilkowski, a Chicago based attorney. We discuss the historical problem of foul balls injuring fans and why some teams are still hesitant to put up protective netting in some minor league and college baseball parks.
Episode #30 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The State of College Athletics with Dr. David Ridpath: Problems and Potential Solutions – Ridpath is a sports administration professor at Ohio University and a member of The Drake Group, a college sports reform think tank.
Episode #29 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Honorable Tom McMillen Visits League of Fans’ Sports Forum – McMillen is a former All-American basketball player, Olympian, Rhodes Scholar and U.S. Congressman. We discuss the state of college athletics today.
Episode #28 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Chat With Mano Watsa, a Leading Basketball and Life Educator – Watsa is President of PGC Basketball, the largest education basketball camp in the world. We discuss problems in youth sports today.
Episode #27 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Kids’ Sports: How We Can Take Back the Game and Restore Quality Family Time In the Process – Linda Flanagan is author of “Take Back the Game: How Money and Mania Are Ruining Kids’ Sports and Why It Matters.” We discuss how commercialized and professionalized youth sports are hurting kids and their families.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
- Reed Appears on Ralph Nader Radio Hour League of Fans’ sports policy director, Ken Reed, Ralph Nader and the New York Times’ Tyler Kepner discussed a variety of sports issues on Nader’s radio show as well as Reed’s updated book, How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan. Reed's book was released in paperback in February, and has a new introduction and several updated sections.
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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