Skurka's Spin: Primetime gun-control commentary takes aim at a touchy subject
Steven Skurka, CTV legal analyst, appears in this file photo.
Published Tuesday, December 4, 2012 8:55AM EST
NBC sportscaster Bob Costas used his platform as a commentator this past weekend to support gun control in America.
Quoting a piece by Fox Sports columnist Jason Whitlock, Costas spoke about the murder-suicide involving Kansas City Chiefs linebacker, Jovan Belcher, this past Saturday. Prior to shooting himself in the head in front of his coach and general manager, Belcher had shot and killed his 22-year-old girlfriend.
In a stirring commentary on the popular ''Sunday Night Football'' Bob Costas noted that: ''if Jovan Belcher didn't possess a gun, he and Kassandra Perkins would both be alive today.''
Costas pointed to a gun culture in America that captures teenage victims, as well as victims of domestic disputes.
Costas and Whitlock have dared to venture into territory that both presidential candidates assiduously avoided in the last election: Speaking out in favour of gun control risks the political cost of confronting the powerful gun lobby in America.
Bob Costas has been severely criticized for taking a public stand in favour of gun control -- and his very-public broadcast has overshadowed the initial column written by Whitlock.
One Fox News host called for his dismissal. And on Twitter, it was suggested that the Belcher murder-suicide actually demonstrated a need for guns. One person posted that if Jovan Belcher's girlfriend had a permit to carry a weapon, she might still be alive.
Still, in quoting Whitlock, Costas noted that: "Handguns do not enhance our safety."
Canadians can attest to that fact. It is significantly more challenging to legally acquire guns in this country and our crime rate is lower than our American neighbours. It is also rare that a lethal episode of gun violence that erupts in one of our urban centers is committed by a licensed gun owner.
Bob Costas demonstrated courage to speak the unvarnished truth about the unabated problem of gun violence in his country.
His poignant message about gun control is an important first step. It needs to be followed by meaningful reform.
Listen to Steven's radio show, Closing Argument, every Sunday afternoon at 4:00ET on NewsTalk 1010. You can also follow him on Twitter at @LegalAnalyst