The scenario reported by Vecsey had Arenas laying out four pistols on a table in the locker room. He left them there for teammate Javaris Crittendon to find, along with a note that read, “Pick one.” Seems the two Mensa candidates had been betting at cards aboard the team plane a couple of days earlier. Crittendon’s response (which he of course denies, but was confirmed by two eyewitnesses) was to slip a magazine into his own pistol, and chamber a round. Would Crittendon have gone as far as blowing Arenas’s brains all over the locker room wall? Probably not. But then, I never would have predicted a mass shooting on a U.S. Army base, either.
Who’s lying? The witnesses, who have nothing to lose but the possible friendship and trust of a couple of dung-headed teammates? Or a couple of spoiled, wildly overpaid twenty-somethings who have been handed the world on a silver platter? Hmm. Let me think about that one.
Arenas has been suspended “indefinitely” by NBA Commissioner David Stern, who said the player is “not currently fit to take the court in an NBA game.” This decision came down after Arenas was seen clowning with his teammates courtside, pointing his fingers like guns, laughing. He has since issued a lawyer/agent/sychophant-crafted apology, but obviously the guy could do with some maturity and perspective. I think a full-season suspension would be a proper response, and it needs to be done quickly to send a message to the rest of the NBA, and to professional athletes in general. Enough with the guns already. Who do you guys think you are? Rappers?
A lot of sports stars like to think that they function as an island, free to live however they please, having to answer to no one. Well, that’s bullshit. Pro jocks are role models, no matter what Charles Barkley says. When a gifted, accomplished player like Allen Iverson, say, embraces the violent, thuggish side of rap culture, his young fans take after him whether he wants them to or not. To the extent that the rap community has glamorized gang killings, selling and using drugs, and treating women like a lower form of life, I think it’s a dumb move to align yourself to that culture. Now, I ain’t saying that Carmelo Anthony needs to start listening to Trace Adkins and add Wranglers to his off-court wardrobe, but I do think that these spoiled millionaires should stop trying to come off like ganstas from the ‘hood.
Pro athletes packing heat has become a tired cliché, and many ball players from Plaxico Burress to Delonte West have been arrested for playing cowboy. Do you really need to bring a Glock into the nightclub with you? Isn’t that what bodyguards are for? Are you insecure because you get paid millions of dollars simply because you have above average hand-eye coordination? You’re young, you’re rich, you’re in peak physical condition, and you’re a world traveler. Believe me, you don’t need a gun to make you more attractive to the ladies. Just ask Tiger Woods.
I think it goes back to the basic human reason that men feel the need to own handguns in general. It’s like Seth Rogan, the cop in Superbad, said to McLovin when the high schooler asked what it felt like to carry a gun. “It feels…awesome! It’s like having two dicks, if one of your dicks could kill someone!”
Of course, there’s the argument that men (let’s face it, male handgun owners far outnumber female gun owners) buy handguns to protect their domicile. This reason to own a weapon (along with the non-answer, “it’s my constitutional right”) is shouted long and loud by the awesome two-dick handgun crowd. But how often does this really happen, I wondered. A quick Google search did, indeed, turn up a handful of instances over the last few years where a homeowner was lucky enough to get to his piece and blow away a burglar or intruder or unfortunate drunk who’d stumbled into the wrong house. Interestingly, a disproportionate number of these killings occurred in Texas, by the way, where the “Castle Law” is evidently the most popular legislation the state has passed since the controversial “full set of teeth” tax in 1972.
It’s hard to rally behind any gun control legislation when your opposition is heavily armed and generally paranoid. All I can do, as a human being who’d like to see most of his fellow human beings reach their life expectancy (with the possible exception of Perez Hilton), is to not own, shoot, or glorify handguns.
I wanted to find out how many kids have been killed accidentally by guns at home and was flabbergasted to discover that both the gun lovin’ NRA and the gun hatin’ Children’s Defense Fund set the number at around 200. (That’s kind of like seeing an Ann Coulter/Jon Stewart sex tape turn up on the internet.) That’s about ten classrooms full of school kids. I have two young kids in my house. I can guarantee with 100% certainty that they will never find a handgun here and accidentally shoot themselves or someone else. If you have a handgun in your house, for whatever reason, no matter where you keep it, you cannot give the same guarantee. However infinitesimal, there’s still a chance that your handgun is going to be used to kill you or someone you love. Do you have a right to own a gun? Sure. Is it worth the risk to you and those around you? That’s up to you.
Our culture’s love affair with the gun is a poisonous one, yet we as a nation cling stubbornly to a woefully outdated Second Amendment as an excuse for guns to proliferate. From first-person shooter video games to horrifically bloody movies to gangsta rap to professional sports, guns are everywhere. I hope I live to see the day when our society as a whole wises up enough to realize that the answer to a less violent nation is fewer guns, not more.