Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr labeled the nation’s inability to curb multiple-victim gun violence “disgusting” and a “shame” on Monday.
His words, said before Monday night’s game between the 7-3 Warriors and the 4-5 Miami Heat, came in response to the Sunday attack by a mentally-ill atheist on the congregants of the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, that left 27, including the gunman, dead.
Kerr, an outspoken advocate of gun control, referred, in the past, to American gun laws as “insane” and to “this totally outdated Bill Of Rights.” He offered more measured remarks on Monday:
To solve it, I think we almost have to look at it like a public health issue. Too often, we get caught up in political rhetoric, second amendment rights, NRA stuff. We have to look at this as having nothing to do with partisanship, political parties. It’s got to be a public safety issue, a public health issue. I read a great article today that talked about comparing this to the automobile industry. Apparently in the 1950s, about nine or 10 times more people died in auto wrecks than die right now. What changed over 70 years? Safety measures, right? Speed limits, auto regulations, seat belts, car seats, driver’s license registration and making sure people deserve to drive. All these things are safety issues, and I think we somehow get our government [to] cut through all the crap and get right to the point—the point of fact, which is safety. Which means a lot of things we can do without taking away people’s second amendment rights. Let’s do the sensible thing. But our government has to lead the way, and they can’t just cave into the NRA just because they want to make money. They have to put people’s safety and health over the interest of the gun lobby and the gun industry. Doesn’t seem like it would be that far of a stretch, but for whatever reason, we’re paralyzed and unable to do anything to protect our citizens. It’s disgusting and it’s a shame.
Apart from his basketball expertise, Kerr knows firsthand the pain of families losing loved ones to gun violence. Thirty-three years ago, Islamic terrorists shot his father, the president of the American University in Beirut, twice in the head. Unlike the killer in Sunday’s attack, the suspected Hezbollah murderers never endured any consequences from their cowardly act.
“Dr. Kerr, carrying his briefcase in one hand and an umbrella in the other, stepped off the elevator on the third floor and walked about 12 paces, heading for his office at the end of the hallway,” the New York Times reported in 1984. “His secretary, Ann Baasari, was on the telephone at the time with a dean who was waiting for Dr. Kerr. She told the police that she looked up, saw the president coming toward her and informed the dean: ‘Oh, here he comes now.’ Then she looked down again. A split second later the two gunmen stepped forward, either from the elevator or the stairwell just to the right of it, and one of them quickly pumped two bullets into Dr. Kerr’s head with a silencer-equipped revolver.”