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two dead, one orphaned
December 4, 2012 5:04 PM   Subscribe


 
blaming guns for crime is like blaming helmuts for headbutts.
Ted Nugent is a moron.
posted by anewnadir at 5:11 PM on December 4, 2012 [46 favorites]


The Crunk Feminist Collective points out that his girlfriend has a name and it is Kasandra Michelle Perkins.

(This isn't a critique of your post, OP, but something I think should be added.)
posted by clavicle at 5:12 PM on December 4, 2012 [117 favorites]


I'm not sure I understand the gun control argument in this case. Surely a lot of evidence points to the crime happening in the heat of the moment. It does not, however, point to the heat of the moment leading to Belcher procuring the gun and then shooting his girlfriend.

Moreover, the nydailynews.com article explains that, while the couple had ongoing issues, they had sought reconciliation, counseling, etc. And that Belcher was described as having "no major issues."

As near as I can tell, gun control plays no part in whether or not this tragedy would have happened.
posted by Brak at 5:13 PM on December 4, 2012 [5 favorites]


Between this and the Dutch Referee being killed this seems to he a day for horrible sports stories.
This is the second time in as many days I have heard about Traumatic Brain Injuries too.


"He had no major issues," the coach said.

I think that statement may be wrong.

From the NY Daily News link:
Shown is the bloody gear shifter inside the Bentley of Kansas City Chiefs player Jovan Belcher ...

Really? Did they need to show that. It's not particularly graphic, but it's also morbid. I can't see why they would run it.
posted by Mezentian at 5:16 PM on December 4, 2012


It's a horrendous thing, a murder-suicide, and interestingly differently reported depending on the gender of the perpetrator (in heterosexual couples).
posted by ambrosen at 5:17 PM on December 4, 2012 [6 favorites]


That Bangor Daily News article, aside from not even mentioning Kasandra by name, reads like a grade seven speech. "In conclusion, Jovan Belcher was a man of contrasts. Thank you."
posted by The Card Cheat at 5:19 PM on December 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


For those missing the Dutch Referee reference, here is the sad story.
posted by DreamerFi at 5:28 PM on December 4, 2012


Sports Illustrated had a story on this, which I saw from a link on Deadspin. Deadspin focused on a couple parts of the SI story, pointing out that people who visited their house saw guns lying around (a pistol on a table, a rifle leaning against a chair).

For anyone saying guns are not the problem, I'm sure the next step to fall back to is that guns, properly taken care of, are not the problem.

Or, you know, making it harder for people to amass a small arsenal without any concept of gun safety? That might work, too.

The whole situation is fucked. Even reading about it makes me feel like an awful person. For other awful people like me, Deadspin is doing a pretty solid job of reporting on the story.
posted by Ghidorah at 5:31 PM on December 4, 2012 [6 favorites]


Between this and the Dutch Referee being killed

And a member of the Cleveland Browns ground crew committed suicide at the practice center.
posted by Drinky Die at 5:31 PM on December 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure I understand the gun control argument in this case. Surely a lot of evidence points to the crime happening in the heat of the moment. It does not, however, point to the heat of the moment leading to Belcher procuring the gun and then shooting his girlfriend.

Gun control as practiced in Australia, for instance, means that people don't have "several legally owned guns" (kansas city link) sitting around in their house that they can just pick up 'in the heat of the moment', thus reducing the risk of impulsive murder or suicide.
posted by jacalata at 5:32 PM on December 4, 2012 [37 favorites]


blaming guns for crime is like blaming helmuts for headbutts.

Seems pretty straightforward to me: you can't shoot someone without a gun, just like you can't headbutt someone without wearing a helmet.
posted by Nomyte at 5:33 PM on December 4, 2012 [10 favorites]


blaming guns for crime is like blaming helmuts for headbutts.

Guns, like helmets, may not be responsible for the violence associated with them but in many cases they do contribute to making the problem worse. A good comparison.
posted by Drinky Die at 5:33 PM on December 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


As near as I can tell, gun control plays no part in whether or not this tragedy would have happened.

It's a lot easier to kill someone in the heat of the moment with a gun than any other way, unless you are both standing near a cliff. Knives kill but they take more effort and the victim has a better chance of escaping; beatings kill, but they take lots more effort and the victim will fight back. Human beings are surprisingly hard to kill.

Unless you have an instrument that will put several holes in them from a distance in a few seconds.
posted by emjaybee at 5:35 PM on December 4, 2012 [13 favorites]


Gun control as practiced in Australia, for instance, means that people don't have "several legally owned guns" (kansas city link) sitting around in their house that they can just pick up 'in the heat of the moment', thus reducing the risk of impulsive murder or suicide.

Is there a legal requirement in Australia to keep guns locked away, or secured in some other deliberate fashion? That's something that might have helped in this case, though I suppose it would depend upon how strictly such laws were enforced.

Look, I am a proponent of gun control, better gun handling, education, all of that stuff. And in a culture where we promoted better responsibility around guns in general, you can make a compelling case for minimizing situations like these. And I'm all for it. I just look at this case, and find it hard to imagine how you would legislate yourself out of this one, without that greater societal change that, IMO, transcends the mere label of "gun control".
posted by Brak at 5:38 PM on December 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Here's my thing on the guns. It takes somewhere around three minutes or more to strangle someone. A death happens really fast with a gunshot.

To me that seems to be the difference between "What am I doing?" and "What have I done?"
posted by Trochanter at 5:40 PM on December 4, 2012 [60 favorites]


Nicely done chela and everyone else. This is why I wait for the Metafilter version, before I buy the NY Post cover story.
posted by StickyCarpet at 5:41 PM on December 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


No doubt it is pretty easy to hurt someone in the heat of the moment by hitting them with something, or stabbing them but I think it is much easier to actually kill someone in the heat of the moment with a gun.

There has got to be stats on this.
posted by Ad hominem at 5:41 PM on December 4, 2012


without that greater societal change that, IMO, transcends the mere label of "gun control".

Did Bob Costas call for more gun control? He just pointed out that Belcher didn't have a gun, his daughter's parents would probably be alive today. For making that trivial comment he was pilloried.

"The greater societal change" starts with people accepting common-sense statements without knee-jerk responses.
posted by leopard at 5:46 PM on December 4, 2012 [14 favorites]


[To the extent that this is an interesting/troubling story, it might be best to focus on what's specific to it, Belcher, his career, etc. rather than having another general argument about gun control.]
posted by cortex at 5:47 PM on December 4, 2012 [11 favorites]


in front of the team's coach and general manager

That's making a statement, I'd say.
posted by Egg Shen at 5:49 PM on December 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


It is part of the post, cortex.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:49 PM on December 4, 2012 [7 favorites]


I think this is a tragic story, but it's one about domestic violence, not gun control. The gun issue, to me, is a red herring. He could just as easily have beaten her to death, strangled her, bludgeoned her, stabbed her. It doesn't matter how he did it or what weapons he had at his disposal, and I think the fact that that's now the media focus is leading us away from the crux of the problem.
posted by mudpuppie at 5:49 PM on December 4, 2012 [25 favorites]


I saw an old high school friend (who LOVES guns) talking about this on Facebook yesterday. He wanted to know why Bob Costas wasn't being punished while EPSN fired Hank Williams Jr. when he compared Obama to Hitler in an on-air remark (which he said was not even controversial in comparison to what Costas said). He rambled on; something about biased news reporting, something about trampling Second Amendment Rights, something about my head inverting inwards on itself and then poofing like an overblown, ripe dandelion and sending my goodwill towards men floating away on the breeze.
posted by Windigo at 5:54 PM on December 4, 2012 [5 favorites]


"The greater societal change" starts with people accepting common-sense statements without knee-jerk responses.

I wholeheartedly agree. And Bob Costas is almost certainly right when he says that those two would probably be alive today, if Belcher didn't have a gun.

It's easy, safe, and idealistic to say, "A world without guns would be a safer world for everyone." And it's probably true. Ideologically, I subscribe to that point of view.

My point is centered around the reality of firearms laws in the U.S. I would argue that, unless you're talking about waving a magic wand and saying that firearms either do not exist or are patently and enforceably illegal, I'm having a hard time conceiving of the legislation that would effectively have stopped this man in this situation.

I won't belabor the point any further, since it's one of nuance, which generally doesn't stand up to arguments from either extreme in ideological threads. Carry on.
posted by Brak at 5:55 PM on December 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


He could just as easily have beaten her to death, strangled her, bludgeoned her, stabbed her.

For the umpteenth time, it's harder to bludgeon (or stab, or stangle, or beat) someone to death than to shoot them. At the very least, it takes longer, so using something other than a gun gives the perpetrator a chance to reconsider his action. Judging from his subsequent behavior I don't think Belcher was basking in the glow of a job well done after he shot Perkins.

(This reminds me, why do people need guns for self-defense anyway? You know, you can just as easily defend yourself by strangling anyone who invades your home.)
posted by leopard at 5:55 PM on December 4, 2012 [37 favorites]


Amanda Marcotte: Thoughts on the Murder of Kassandra Perkins
posted by flex at 5:57 PM on December 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


...He made the sign of the cross before he pulled the trigger on himself. Jesus, what an asshole.
posted by notsnot at 5:59 PM on December 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm having a hard time conceiving of the legislation that would effectively have stopped this man in this situation.

I agree. But when Bob Costas states an "easy, safe, and idealistic" truth and thereby drives half the country into a frothing rage, I can't help but think we live in a sick culture, and that this event would be less likely in a culture that was less sick. This is not the same thing as saying that we should wave a magic wand.
posted by leopard at 5:59 PM on December 4, 2012 [11 favorites]


(This reminds me, why do people need guns for self-defense anyway? You know, you can just as easily defend yourself by strangling anyone who invades your home.)

Can't strangle someone if you're smaller and physically weaker than they are (like, you know, small women).
Not defending the ridiculous rates of gun ownership in the US--I'm pro-gun control--but why some people would want guns (especially in a society where a lot of people own them already) should be easily apparent.
posted by Papagayo at 6:02 PM on December 4, 2012 [5 favorites]


It's a horrendous thing, a murder-suicide, and interestingly differently reported depending on the gender of the perpetrator (in heterosexual couples).

I've often thought about this. I feel like some people are so reluctant to admit that their judgement about a man was wrong that they'll do anything they can to whitewash that man's reputation after death. I'd much rather hear somebody say "Well, I thought he was a good guy, but it turns out he was a monster" than "let's not dwell on the people he killed - remember how adorable it was that summer he worked with Big Brothers/Big Sisters."

Conversely, there seems to be an "I knew it" vibe among some people when a woman commits the same kind of murder. "She seemed nice when she was working with Big Brothers/Big Sisters, but I always knew there was something off about her."

He was a talented football player, but that doesn't balance out the fact that he was also a murderer and that he made his own child an orphan. He inflicted horrific emotional distress on his family, friends and co-workers. So yeah, we don't owe it to him to remember his positive deeds at this particular moment.

We owe it to Kasandra Perkins to remember that he was a murderer first and everything else second.
posted by Joey Michaels at 6:03 PM on December 4, 2012 [25 favorites]


Gun control as practiced in Australia, for instance, means that people don't have "several legally owned guns" (kansas city link) sitting around in their house that they can just pick up 'in the heat of the moment', thus reducing the risk of impulsive murder or suicide.

Yeah, but the USA is already so far from that kind of society it would take a government crackdown larger than the wildest libertarian survivalist's fantasies to get rid of all the guns we already have. It's hard to imagine any real-world gun laws or other changes possible in the last twenty years that could have prevented this.
posted by straight at 6:03 PM on December 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Which probably explains some of the outrage. When an actual gun owner hears Bob Costas say, "If only he hadn't had a gun," they wonder, "What exactly are you proposing that could accomplish that?"
posted by straight at 6:05 PM on December 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Shown is the bloody gear shifter inside the Bentley of Kansas City Chiefs player Jovan Belcher ...

Really? Did they need to show that.


You know the drill. The media needs O.J.'s glove.
posted by sourwookie at 6:05 PM on December 4, 2012


Have you ever had a friend or relative get killed in a way that is covered by the local news? I have, it's an incredible experience. For a few days you are hanging onto the television for every latest development; it's an incredible resource and the presentation is harrowing. Then a couple of days later they move on, and you never hear a fucking peep about it again. Somebody else got killed, new story. Fresh! Fresh! The talking heads are always so very serious about all of it.

I can only imagine the dog and pony show that ensues when a story gets picked up nationally. I'll just go ahead and say no one actually cares, even if they say they do. Sometimes terrible things happen for which there is no explanation and little recourse. These things then in turn become examples that support the political arguments of complete strangers. It's like a strange semblance of community where you can often forget that the basis of discussion is exploitation for ratings and profits, not... actual concern.

As an amusing aside, to paraphrase the comedian Patrice O'Neal, what's the name of that girl that was killed in Aruba by that guy Van der Sloot? [Audience screams: Natalie Holloway!!!] Ok, so what's the name of that girl he killed in Peru? [Silence.] Exactly.

So my sympathy goes out to those affected.
posted by phaedon at 6:06 PM on December 4, 2012 [23 favorites]


It's hard to imagine any real-world gun laws or other changes possible in the last twenty years that could have prevented this.

Look into what Australia did to crack down on gun ownership after the Port Arthur massacre. That was in 1995.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:06 PM on December 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Meanwhile, over 900 people have died on Tennessee roads this year. 900!

And yet, this pair of deaths is getting about fifty times more headspace by everyone than the nine hundred people that died just in Tennessee, from an activity that's supposed to be safe.

Quit buying into the media bullshit. This is sad, but you're being misled by fear and spectacle into thinking it's important.
posted by Malor at 6:12 PM on December 4, 2012 [6 favorites]


Whew! Thanks man.
posted by Trochanter at 6:13 PM on December 4, 2012 [9 favorites]


I hate what happened but I think hating Belcher is anticlimactic. He did a terrible terrible thing and then literally could not live with what he did.


From many accounts both he and his victim were well loved and respected people. What I am trying desperately to parse is how such a man could do such a terrible, terrible thing....when I read people calling this man a piece of sh*t or other such names, I think perhaps it is a desperate attempt to distance oneself from the frightening idea that perhaps any one of us could do something equally heinous.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:14 PM on December 4, 2012 [24 favorites]


Meanwhile, over 900 people have died on Tennessee roads this year. 900!

Tennesee has at least that many gun deaths by assault (919 in 2010), and deaths by suicides (932 in 2010), each year. This incident is one of each. What's your point?
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:19 PM on December 4, 2012 [36 favorites]


Egg Shen: "in front of the team's coach and general manager

That's making a statement, I'd say
"

Well, it does, but I think your comment could come over as having a go at the coach and GM, although I assume that's not what you meant. The linked article (and all others I've seen) specifically say that he thanked those two people for giving him a chance in the NFL and asked them to look after his kid. They were clearly important to him in a good way.
posted by Jakey at 6:20 PM on December 4, 2012



Quit buying into the media bullshit. This is sad, but you're being misled by fear and spectacle into thinking it's important.


Right-wing playbook bootleg+hail mary. Hut-hut-hut-hut!
posted by srboisvert at 6:29 PM on December 4, 2012 [9 favorites]


blaming guns for crime is like blaming helmuts for headbutts.
. . . England, where no one has guns: 14 deaths. United States, and I think you know how we feel about guns - whoo! I'm gettin' a stiffy! - 23,000 deaths from handguns. But there's no connection - (and you'd be a fool and a comunist to make one) -There's no connection between having a gun and shooting someone with it, and not having a gun and not shooting someone
-Bill Hicks
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 6:33 PM on December 4, 2012 [43 favorites]


I think the gun control argument is not the one to have at this time simply because I think most everyone's mind is made up on that issue. Either you think deaths due to gun violence are an acceptable price to pay for the right to bear arms or you don't, but this incident doesn't really shed light on gun violence; it's far too common for that.

I do think talking about domestic violence or the effects of repeated head trauma will could make sense because we haven't had those conversations nearly as often (we here being American society, not Metafilter) and so I think there's a productive conversation to have. I think right now is early to have those conversations. I've heard that Belcher and Perkins argued a lot in the months before he killed her, but I haven't heard a specific narrative of domestic violence leading up to the murder. It's also obviously too early to know if Belcher was suffering from CTE or another head injury related disorder, but given what we know about football and what we know about how those disorders affect behavior, I think it's worth finding out.

It still seems possible that the only take away here is the fact that tragic things happen. Maybe Belcher was a normal person suffering from normal anger who made the terrible decision to act on that anger and, understandably, couldn't live with it. Maybe there is a domestic violence angle, maybe he was suffering from CTE, maybe he was suffering another mental illness that is part of the reason that this happened. Right now, I just don't think we know yet, and I think people's reaction right now say more about what they believe then what happened.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 6:33 PM on December 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


On the whole gun control thing, I always think of the idea that "the blade itself incites to violence". There's definitely less time for thought and more room for regret when lethal weapons are easily to hand. It's clearly not the whole answer, as per capita gun ownership of similar levels in other countries does not lead to the same lamentable (in a very non-snarky meaning of the word) outcomes.
I understand the arguments about arming the potential victims, but it would seem to me that doubling-down on the policies that brought you to this point is unlikely to yield the result that you crave. The western neo-liberal consensus has followed this "more-of-the-same" plan on the war on drugs, the war on terror, the war on Keynsianism, the war on the poor, because the rightness of what we're striving for shines so bright that we can't see the soft glow of the evidence to the contrary.
There's a huge inertial edifice of law, policy and perceived public opinion that is firmly rooted in the Calvinism of the "deserving" and "undeserving" and "rights" and "wrongs" that are 100 years out of date. It's tying us in knots. We need to have some grown-up debates about what it is that we actually want, and how we evaluate the proposals for getting us there, and how we pack that in our rucksacks with all of the baggage that we already have in there.
posted by Jakey at 6:36 PM on December 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


He graduated from the University of Maine in 2008 with a degree in child development and family relations

Most embarrassing degree since Harvard graduated George W Bush from their business school?

Oh and if you liberals want gun control - and tax cuts for the wealthy for that matter you don't ask for concessions - you threaten with taking EVERYTHING away from them. Propose to outlaw ALL guns from private ownership, get fucking serious about it, create a groundswell, THEN, you'll GET concessions.
posted by any major dude at 6:39 PM on December 4, 2012


No, not anyone could do this. There is a very real culture of male privilege and entitlement that takes root in some men's heads and destroys their motivation to treat the women they are in intimate relationships with like they are real people. This is domestic violence at its end, and not everyone is capable of being violent towards the people they ostensibly love. Domestic violence doesn't need to be waved away as something that we're all just susceptible to or as some kind of mystery. They are not victims of some unseen force that could touch any one of us. They're perpetrators who choose to end someone else's life.

And yet when it's domestic violence, there's a lot of understanding and a lot of "well, people liked him..." Is anyone seriously worried that they'll shoot someone tomorrow in order to joyride in their car? No, that would be unthinkable. So why does murdering the mother of your child get all this understanding and "there but the grace of god go I"? I think I know why: the underlying refusal of our society to take domestic violence seriously as violence instead of as a special category of romantic interaction that, you know, is bad and all, but it could happen to anyone and he's well-liked, so...
posted by the young rope-rider at 6:42 PM on December 4, 2012 [58 favorites]


Maybe there is a domestic violence angle

He murdered his girlfriend, who was the mother of his children. How could there not be a domestic violence issue? He didn't kill the coach or the GM, after all.
posted by jeather at 6:42 PM on December 4, 2012 [19 favorites]


It's clearly not the whole answer, as per capita gun ownership of similar levels in other countries does not lead to the same lamentable (in a very non-snarky meaning of the word) outcomes.

There are no 'similar levels' in other countries. The USA has a gun ownership rate (88.8 per 100 residents) that is 30% higher than the second highest ranked country (Serbia; 58.2 per 100 residents).
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:48 PM on December 4, 2012 [14 favorites]


Some stuff about guns.

Guns in the home

Homocide rates and suicide.

From Think Progress

I have a friend who asked "how would this have stopped O.J.?" To say that's beside the point belies the fact that it COULD stop many people.
posted by Max Power at 6:54 PM on December 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


Knives kill but they take more effort and the victim has a better chance of escaping; beatings kill, but they take lots more effort and the victim will fight back.

More importantly, they take time and physical contact-- there's no doubt in my mind that a great percentage of gun murders wouldn't have happened if the aggressor had to physically plunge a blade into another person and feel their blood, or batter them repeatedly.

They'd certainly consider it, wish in the moment that the other person was dead, and then realize the ensuing legal and ethical complications and stand down. A certain percentage would go through with it anyway, but not all. And I suspect not most.

Guns are, essentially, labor-saving machines which automate and depersonalize killing; whether it's an animal, an assailant, or your spouse.
posted by Mayor Curley at 6:54 PM on December 4, 2012 [32 favorites]


He murdered his girlfriend, who was the mother of his children. How could there not be a domestic violence issue? He didn't kill the coach or the GM, after all.

I mean a long term domestic violence angle. Obviously, any time you kill your girlfriend it's domestic violence, but whether or the story is "long time domestic violence escalates to murder" is unclear to me, at least, at this stage.

So why does murdering the mother of your child get all this understanding and "there but the grace of god go I"? I think I know why: the underlying refusal of our society to take domestic violence seriously as violence instead of as a special category of romantic interaction that, you know, is bad and all, but it could happen to anyone and he's well-liked, so...

I for one tend to think "there but for the grace of God go I" about all crimes, even one's I'm not likely to commit, because I am, broadly speaking, sympathetic towards criminals; for me at least, it has nothing to do with domestic violence.

For people generally, I think the thing about some crimes including certain types of domestic violence is that they are seen as a crime that comes from an emotional place that many people have. I'm 100% sure that I'm not going to murder someone to steal their car because I've been around people with cars and never once had even the slightest urge to murder them for it. I can't say that I've never been so angry at someone that it's conceivable that I could murder them. I can't personally say that I am 100% sure that I'll never cross that line. The odds are really really low, but anger is powerful and can be really difficult to control, so it could happen. I think we see the sympathy in cases of crimes that come from that emotional place, of which domestic violence is one, but not the only type.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:01 PM on December 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


Why did he kill his girlfriend?
posted by polymodus at 7:02 PM on December 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


The tragic fact of the matter is that women are at far more risk of being murdered by their intimate partner than they are by a stranger. Many of these men who kill their female partners then take their own lives. I live in MA - in my state since 2003, domestic violence homicide perpetrators have killed 261 people - 60% of whom were female domestic violence victims killed by male partners and 29% are friends and family members of the domestic violence victim.  In 28% of these incidents, the domestic violence homicide perpetrator also committed suicide. (numbers from Jane Doe, our state DV/SA coalition)

I, too, think that the gun control angle and the head injury contribution are red herrings - killing your partner and rendering your child parent-less is about narcissism, entitlement, and the distorted way of thinking that abusers demonstrate in their (sometimes lethal) decision making.
posted by boofidies at 7:03 PM on December 4, 2012 [8 favorites]


For the umpteenth time, it's harder to bludgeon (or stab, or stangle, or beat) someone to death than to shoot them. At the very least, it takes longer, so using something other than a gun gives the perpetrator a chance to reconsider his action. Judging from his subsequent behavior I don't think Belcher was basking in the glow of a job well done after he shot Perkins.

Well, not so much. I mean, what did OJ use ?

And, hell, I've been stabbed. Sure, I won that fight and lived to tell about it. If he hit half an inch higher, and I would have bled out before I hit the floor.

Point is that yeah, this situation would have been better served had he not had ready access to a firearm. Maybe.

Look, if someone is pissed off enough they are gonna find a way. Even a drive of 45 minutes isn't enough sometimes those were friends of friends that died that night

The constitution protects gun ownership. Full stop. Even more clearly than it protects abortions, contraception and gay marriage. The solutions to this problem are cultural not legislative - and will never be perfect anyways - lest you forget hans breivik and others.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:07 PM on December 4, 2012 [5 favorites]


Oh and if you liberals want gun control - and tax cuts for the wealthy for that matter you don't ask for concessions - you threaten with taking EVERYTHING away from them. Propose to outlaw ALL guns from private ownership, get fucking serious about it, create a groundswell, THEN, you'll GET concessions.

Oh, there would be a groundswell in response to proposing a gun ban, just not the one you are thinking of.
posted by Drinky Die at 7:07 PM on December 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


I just read this post on What About Our Daughters about the reaction to the murder-suicide--the worst ones which blame Perkins. Throughout the post the author brings up this statistic:
According to the CDC, black women have a maternal homicide risk about seven times that of white women. Black women ages 25-29 are about 11 times more likely as white women in that age group to be murdered while pregnant or in the year after childbirth.
In the few stories that I've read, it's surprising how much the authors gloss over the fact that this is an incident of domestic violence, and that this is part of a pattern we've seen before: Men (black or not) killing their intimate partners. They are eager to find a proximate cause, but don't want to situate this crime within the larger problem; it's too uncomfortable, too messy, to say "domestic violence" when it means you're naming someone respected as a perpetrator of it.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 7:08 PM on December 4, 2012 [14 favorites]


first the humor: No Helmut is Heinz sight.

now the honest: I feel guilty for not being able to remember her name. I fear if I make another effort, I'll feel even guiltier.
posted by surplus at 7:09 PM on December 4, 2012


There are no 'similar levels' in other countries.

Not to mention that in many of the countries the guns are primarily rifles rather than handguns.
posted by srboisvert at 7:13 PM on December 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


No, not anyone could do this. There is a very real culture of male privilege and entitlement that takes root in some men's heads and destroys their motivation to treat the women they are in intimate relationships with like they are real people. This is domestic violence at its end, and not everyone is capable of being violent towards the people they ostensibly love. Domestic violence doesn't need to be waved away as something that we're all just susceptible to or as some kind of mystery. They are not victims of some unseen force that could touch any one of us. They're perpetrators who choose to end someone else's life.


But-you can't tell by looking who is and is not capable. Many abusers are some of the nicest people you will ever meet, in public. We paint these people as monsters and don't understand that not only do monsters walk among us, but in all too many of us, the monster resides.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:16 PM on December 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


"It's hard to imagine any real-world gun laws or other changes possible in the last twenty years that could have prevented this."

Tax gun sales and resales enough to pay for gun violence.
posted by klangklangston at 7:18 PM on December 4, 2012 [5 favorites]


Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey: " . . . England, where no one has guns: 14 deaths. United States, and I think you know how we feel about guns - whoo! I'm gettin' a stiffy! - 23,000 deaths from handguns."

And Switzerland, most males between the age of 18 and 30 has ready access to a fully automatic weapon (provided by the state) and they are allowed to keep that weapon (converted to semi auto) when discharged from the militia. Yet their death rate is ~10th that of the states.

Minus the State issued automatic weapons a similar disparity in gun ownership and violence rates exists between Canada and the US.

Gun violence in the States is a violent culture problem not a gun control problem.
posted by Mitheral at 7:19 PM on December 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


I just read this post on What About Our Daughters about the reaction to the murder-suicide--the worst ones which blame Perkins. Throughout the post the author brings up this statistic:

Maybe this is my background, but when I read a sentence that says "Jovan got into a heated argument with Kasandra around 7:50am stemming from her arriving home at 1am following a Trey Songz concert" I don't see that as blaming her at all. I see that as "killed her because she stayed out too late" which looks like fairly textbook domestic violence to me. Maybe people are reading that to blame Kasandra, but if you do that you're probably going to take that reading away from any account of the event.

I also think that ignoring that possible role that brain injuries might have played in this is crazy. We know that brain injuries can change people's personalities and make them more prone to acts of violence so there's a chance that they played a role here. That wouldn't excuse what Belcher did, obviously, but it might help another football player who is suffering from these kind of brain injuries to understand what's going on with them. It might help convince some kid somewhere not to play football because he doesn't want to murder his girlfriend. That seems worthwhile.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:23 PM on December 4, 2012


in front of the team's coach and general manager

That's making a statement, I'd say.
posted by Egg Shen


I think not the statement you think he's making or are insinuating he was making. He went to the stadium, thanked Pioli and Crennel for the opportunity they'd given him to pursue his dream, and said something to the effect of "I have to go now" and then shot himself.
posted by nathancaswell at 7:31 PM on December 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


And Switzerland, most males between the age of 18 and 30 has ready access to a fully automatic weapon (provided by the state) and they are allowed to keep that weapon (converted to semi auto) when discharged from the militia. Yet their death rate is ~10th that of the states.

All the people you cite were trained to military standard in the safe use and storage of guns. Once discharged, they're basically required by law to keep their guns in a locked safe. I think this has an effect on the death rate, in that accidental (and to a certain extent, impulse driven) deaths are avoided.

Also, Switzerland has a poverty rate that is less than half of the US rate, and a similarly low crime rate. All of that would also have a knock on effect on gun crime.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 7:37 PM on December 4, 2012 [7 favorites]


Oh, there would be a groundswell in response to proposing a gun ban, just not the one you are thinking of.

I'd rather die fighting for brains and benevolence than live in a country dominated by guns and fear
posted by any major dude at 7:38 PM on December 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Obviously, any time you kill your girlfriend it's domestic violence, but whether or the story is "long time domestic violence escalates to murder" is unclear to me, at least, at this stage.

Statistically, it's very likely that there was long-term violence in their home. From an earlier thread on domestic violence about an excellent checklist for police, I learned
"Between 40 and 50 percent of female homicide victims are killed by their husbands, boyfriends, and exes. And, for about half of these victims, police had been alerted to previous incidents of abuse."
How often do you think a man murders his partner without there being prior violence? Just a sudden burst of killing instead of a steady escalation of violence? It's far more common for previous violence to have gone unreported because the victim feels that no-one will believe her because he's such a great guy to everyone else.

I'm not in the position of a judge or a jury, so I'm going to go with the probable cause unless I hear any details that would disprove it.
posted by harriet vane at 7:38 PM on December 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


And Switzerland, most males between the age of 18 and 30 has ready access to a fully automatic weapon (provided by the state) and they are allowed to keep that weapon (converted to semi auto) when discharged from the militia. Yet their death rate is ~10th that of the states.

Oh, I forgot. Even with the fact that most males of army age have guns because of the Swiss militia thing, Switzerland's gun ownership rate is half of the US rate.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 7:40 PM on December 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


And Switzerland, most males between the age of 18 and 30 has ready access to a fully automatic weapon (provided by the state) and they are allowed to keep that weapon (converted to semi auto) when discharged from the militia. Yet their death rate is ~10th that of the states.

Minus the State issued automatic weapons a similar disparity in gun ownership and violence rates exists between Canada and the US.

Gun violence in the States is a violent culture problem not a gun control problem.


So maybe every US citizen should be allowed to keep their weapon "when discharged from the militia". And nobody else should have their guns. At that point, it might be a reasonable comparison you're making, and the "violent culture problem" might appear differently.

On the other hand, maybe I'll run down to Virginia and pick up a gun on my lunch break tomorrow. Or maybe it'd be easier to just wait for a gun show this week. Decisions, decisions.
posted by inigo2 at 7:45 PM on December 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


Oh obviously there's a good chance that there was escalating violence, there's a reason I suggested it as a possible narrative. I just, personally, would rather find out (not in a proved in a court of law sense, just in a common way) before we put any particular narrative over the bare events, as they are known.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:45 PM on December 4, 2012


We paint these people as monsters and don't understand that not only do monsters walk among us, but in all too many of us, the monster resides.

Yes, many men commit domestic violence. That doesn't mean that literally anyone could just up and decide to kill someone. It's a super fucked up thing to do and it should not be normalized or treated as "well, it happens, who knows why, any one of us could do it really". Your comment isn't the only one demonstrating this kind of normalization, so I don't mean to just criticize you here, but it's a good example of the attitude that is the problem with domestic violence (which, by the way, tends to carry a lesser penalty than violence against strangers, again because it's normalized and treated as understandable).
posted by the young rope-rider at 7:47 PM on December 4, 2012 [14 favorites]


it might be best to focus on what's specific to it, Belcher, his career, etc. rather than having another general argument about gun control

Optimist. The Great Permanent Usenet Gun Control Debate didn't die, it just moved to the web.
posted by Justinian at 7:50 PM on December 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


That doesn't mean that literally anyone could just up and decide to kill someone.

In most cases that have ended in murder, the red flags were present beforehand. It's just that people ignored them instead of treating them with the importance they deserve. Controlling behaviour, threatening with a weapon, obsessively frequent phone calls when they're apart, preventing the victim from spending time with family or friends... we brush them under the carpet with "oh they're so dramatic, those two" or "he's all talk, he's a big softy really". And then act surprised when the situation turns deadly, as if a guy being nice to most people hides the fact that he's horrible to his wife or girlfriend. The truth is that we can tell which people are violent abusers, it's that we choose not to.

Bulgaroktonos, I see where you're coming from now. From my point of view, this case looks like every other domestic violence or murder-suicide case you can read about in the paper everyday. The only difference so far is that the perpetrator is famous, which I'm sure you'll agree is largely (although not entirely) irrelevant. It's possible this is one of the outlier cases, for sure, but I'm coming from the direction of wanting proof that it's different from the standard incidents rather than proof that it's the same.
posted by harriet vane at 8:02 PM on December 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


Maybe this is my background, but when I read a sentence that says "Jovan got into a heated argument with Kasandra around 7:50am stemming from her arriving home at 1am following a Trey Songz concert" I don't see that as blaming her at all. I see that as "killed her because she stayed out too late" which looks like fairly textbook domestic violence to me.

To me, what the author meant by that sentence is ambiguous. I don't agree with everything in that blog post, but I think that overall, the author has a point.

I also think that ignoring that possible role that brain injuries might have played in this is crazy.

There's no evidence that brain injury played a role, though. People are reacting to this crime as if it's inexplicable unless there's some reason, like brain injury, that Belcher "snapped" and killed his girlfriend. Yet, we know the statistics about domestic violence. This is not an inexplicable crime; it's an all too common type of crime, and the possibility of brain injury is being used to avoid discussing that.

The sad thing is that brain injury in athletes is all too often ignored because it might get in the way of people enjoying their game, but people are happy to talk about it when it means avoiding a more uncomfortable issue.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 8:03 PM on December 4, 2012 [9 favorites]


At the University of Maine, it was the athlete-heavy dorms next to the athletics complex where people were getting beaten up or raped all the time.

I think any attempt at figuring this out should start with discovering why there is such a macho, violent bent among athletes.
posted by dunkadunc at 8:04 PM on December 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


St. Alia of the Bunnies: ".when I read people calling this man a piece of sh*t or other such names, I think perhaps it is a desperate attempt to distance oneself from the frightening idea that perhaps any one of us could do something equally heinous."

On the contrary. If I were to ever do something like this, I hope everyone calls me every terrible thing they can think of.
posted by notsnot at 8:09 PM on December 4, 2012 [10 favorites]


Analyzing a database from the San Diego Tribune, Justin Peters,Slate, it showed that of 32 NFL teams, 21 of them have, this year, had at least one player who's been charged with domestic violence or sexual assault.


Dismal statistics, head injury, priviledge or a combination of both. The last Sunday NYTimes had an article by Harvey Araton about the rape of Kathy Redmond by a football team mate of her now husband...


The entitlement of some of these people is stunning, not surprised how they're coddled and molded by certain clubs, it's big money, so they avert their eyes. It's about time for some accountability for criminal behavior including those who cover up and protect them.
posted by alicesshoe at 8:12 PM on December 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'd rather die fighting for brains and benevolence than live in a country dominated by guns and fear

Umm, I'm not talking about fighting or dying, just a bad political move tossing a ton of centrist Democrats out of office.

A total gun ban would be extremely unpopular at this time and would require amending the constitution. There is no benefit to proposing it in a climate in which any mention of even minor gun control is political suicide. Work to convince the people first is always my suggestion. When you have that done, then you work on the politicians.
posted by Drinky Die at 8:12 PM on December 4, 2012


I think the reason brain injuries are part of the discourse is that they've been in the news a lot already including in cases of athletes committing suicide or engaging in acts of violence. There's no direct evidence that he suffered from this sort of problem, but there's plenty of reason to speculate and investigate that possibility. I'm not sure how much the domestic violence part of it is being ignored; the Chiefs had a moment of silence for domestic violence victims that made every highlight real that I saw. It is part of the story.

Also, there's plenty of room for multiple causes. Suicide is common, too, but Junior Seau's death was about both head injuries and suicide; it's possible Belcher was both a domestic violence perpetrator and someone whose actions were influenced by head injuries, macho culture, or whatever other role you think football might have played..
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 8:16 PM on December 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'd have preferred that Kasandra shot Jovan in self-defense.
posted by lathrop at 8:17 PM on December 4, 2012


dunkadunc: "I think any attempt at figuring this out should start with discovering why there is such a macho, violent bent among athletes."

"Why are physical competitors physically competitive?" Beg the question?
posted by notsnot at 8:20 PM on December 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


I live in Victoria and you can find my state's gun regulations and other info here. Basically, you need to be licensed for each category of firearm, and you need a "genuine" reason to get a license. These reasons are:
  • Sport/target shooting
  • Hunting
  • Primary production
  • Professional hunting
  • Handgun or clay target shooting (including licences held on behalf of juniors)
  • Employment as a security and/or prison guard
  • Official, commercial or prescribed purpose or for a purpose authorised by an Act or Regulation.
Note that "self defense" is not a reason. The license form requires that, e.g., if you are a target shooter you provide evidence of belonging to a target shooting club; if you want to hunt then you own land large enough to hunt upon, or belong to a hunting club. It's not just a matter of ticking boxes.

Each firearm must also individually licensed; it takes 28 days (by law) to get your first license, and then 10-15 days to receive any further licenses. The firearms and ammunition have strict storage requirements: the firearms themselves must be kept in a locked cupboard or safe bolted to the wall (and if you're a security guard this must be at your employer's premises, not your own); the ammunition must be in a separate locked container outside this cupboard or safe; and the key must either be on the license-holder's possession person or stored in a different room to the cupboard/safe. (N.B., this is a bit oversimplified)

All this regulation seems to have worked; here's a graph showing firearm homicide and suicide rates together with markings showing the years that new rules were introduced. As you can see, the rates are now much lower than they have been at any time in the last century, probably lower than they have been since European colonisation of Australia.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:25 PM on December 4, 2012 [19 favorites]


I completely agree with the idea that people ought to be allowed to own projectile weapons for safety and self-defense purposes to deal with potential attackers who are larger/stronger than them or who are armed.

I do not agree that these projectile weapons need to be designed to kill people. If lethal projectile weapons were banned, then we would very quickly have the best and most efficient non-lethal weaponry the world has ever known.

However, society's love of guns has far less to do with safety and self-defense than it does with loving the idea of having the ability to easily kill another person.
posted by flarbuse at 8:25 PM on December 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


Analyzing a database from the San Diego Tribune, Justin Peters,Slate, it showed that of 32 NFL teams, 21 of them have, this year, had at least one player who's been charged with domestic violence our sexual assault.

That's just begging to be compared to general population statistics by someone more knowledgeable. I'll just do the bare bones and look at Wiki:

a survey of 16,000 Americans showed 22.1% of women...reported being physically assaulted by a current or former spouse

An NFL roster has 80 players at the start of training camp, 53 during the regular season and 10 more on the practice squad. Having at least one player involved with domestic violence seems inevitable in light of the statistics on the percent of women who experience abuse. I wish I could say it would be less inevitable if the NFL and the law clamped down harder, but I don't know.

Both men and women can get emotional and do really terrible shit. Men have more power and a greater responsibility to reign in that power, but it can be hard to learn those lessons when you are in a profession that rewards violence and passion with money and fame.

We have a habit of defining men by profession first, but I think personal and family character is a much better measure. Celebrity will always alter how we see a person though, there are plenty of fat, poor, nonathletic men out there that are better role models than your average athlete or banker or politician or actor or *insert profession here".
posted by Drinky Die at 8:28 PM on December 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think this argument is happening because you're all very bad at combining apparently conflicting explanatory models.

Each one of these--domestic violence, abuse/bullying, misogyny, american sports, gun control, mental illness, and more--is a lens. The point is that one lens is insufficient for seeing the problem in its entirety. If you find yourself continuing to argue for, or against, one of these, that's missing the point. This is an intellectual obligation.

One other thing: empathy is not finite. It is possible to feel for both the victims and the perpetrators (as if there were only one possible such partition when in fact if you take a open-systems view it is clear that such a demarcation is an oversimplification). Now we are not required to be nice to everyone, but if someone else is being kind to another, don't snuff out their fire for being so.
posted by polymodus at 8:29 PM on December 4, 2012 [11 favorites]


Analyzing a database from the San Diego Tribune, Justin Peters,Slate, it showed that of 32 NFL teams, 21 of them have, this year, had at least one player who's been charged with domestic violence or sexual assault.

He concedes in the article that he has no idea if this is a meaningful number, which makes me think the whole thing is just sort of grar, football players are violent, and I'm someone with a pretty low opinion of football players. (2% doesnt seem crazily high to me, but I have no idea, never mind the issue of whether "partners of NFl players" is a demographic more or less likely than average to report domestic violence.)
posted by hoyland at 8:30 PM on December 4, 2012


It takes somewhere around three minutes or more to strangle someone.

Actually, properly executed, it takes a lot less time than that, but your general point still stands: it takes a lot longer than a gunshot.
posted by Edgewise at 8:32 PM on December 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: very bad at combining apparently conflicting explanatory models.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:21 PM on December 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


...He made the sign of the cross before he pulled the trigger on himself. Jesus, what an asshole.

Oddly enough, I thought he was an asshole for shooting his girlfriend to death.
posted by BrotherCaine at 9:22 PM on December 4, 2012 [10 favorites]


Propose to outlaw ALL guns from private ownership, get fucking serious about it, create a groundswell

Oh, you'd get a groundswell. Probably not the kind that you want, though. It would be literally worse as a political stance than announcing that you're a Marxist-Leninist and want immediate land reform and collectivization. (Mostly because a huge percentage of the electorate wouldn't know what that meant on its face, while they know exactly well what "Imma gonna take your guns" means.) So that's just a non-starter and you can forget it. A hamhanded attempt at Overton Window-shifting isn't the solution to every problem in the country. Hell, even Joe Bageant -- not exactly a right-winger -- spends a whole chapter in one of his books basically telling lefties to drop the damn gun control thing already because it's killing them among people (mostly working-class whites) who otherwise have no reason to support conservatives, but who will absolutely vote against their own interests on basically every other issue in order to defeat a candidate who wants to mess with their guns. That's how serious business it is. And attitudes on this have not markedly changed since he wrote that (in 2004, after the Bush II reelection); if anything they've hardened.

So the gun control thing is stupid. It's a distraction, a blind alley, leading nowhere but to an argument that everyone has had a thousand times and isn't going to go anywhere or do anything except make people less likely to cooperate on issues that they do have common ground on, and would make a difference: like how we deal with domestic violence versus other types of violence, and on reducing crime generally by eliminating some of its root causes. But it's difficult to do that when everyone has retreated to opposite trenches to slug it out over the relative merits of gun control.

There are issues on which there ought not to be any real disagreement — I think most reasonable people can agree that the way many police departments treat domestic violence, or the double standard for domestic violence versus being attacked on the street, are wrong, or that poverty contributes to crime which contributes directly to violence — but as a country we rarely hear about that sort of stuff, because we're too busy talking past each other about issues that we're never going to convince each other to see the light on.

As for violence by athletes, I think it's time to have some serious studies (if none have been done already) about the propensity for violence by elite athletes in various sports compared to the rest of society. It certainly seems as though there's a link, but it could also just be confirmation bias due to media exposure.

However, if there really is a higher rate of violence and crime among pro athletes, particularly in sports that reward aggression and physicality, then I think we should take a hard look at those sports and the role they play socially. Certainly if we can have Congressional investigations into pro athletes' steroid use, on the grounds that their behavior sets an example for others to follow, then there should be even more scrutiny of any trend towards violence or criminality.

And if it's all just confirmation bias and there really isn't a significant difference in behavior, then we should be careful to view crimes by athletes in that context: not as some man-turned-monster Jekyll/Hyde dynamic, but as something that occurs all too commonly and we need to fight on a broader level than by over-analyzing the attacker's personality.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:22 PM on December 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think this argument is happening because you're all very bad at combining apparently conflicting explanatory models.

No, this argument is happening because we disagree, not because we're incapable of understanding that every incident is the result of multiple factors.

For example, while I've been arguing that the reporting hasn't given enough weight to this crime's context within a larger pattern of domestic violence and maternal homicide, that does not mean I think that it's impossible brain injury, gun access, athletic culture etc contributed to this incident. Likewise, I doubt that Bulgaroktonos thinks that brain injury is the sole -- or even primary -- explanation.

The same goes for those of us who are discussing the gun access issue.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 9:31 PM on December 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hmmmmm, maybe it's not guns or people. It's Americans.
posted by wrapper at 9:43 PM on December 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


American people with guns?
posted by Drinky Die at 10:04 PM on December 4, 2012


I do not agree that these projectile weapons need to be designed to kill people. If lethal projectile weapons were banned, then we would very quickly have the best and most efficient non-lethal weaponry the world has ever known.

There's an interesting point there. These particular gun-control conversations tend to center on handguns, but rifles are far more lethal. In simplified terms, the key factor in how damaging a wound will be is the speed of the projectile. Handguns will propel a bullet at around 1,000 feet per second. A bullet fired from a rifle can easily achieve two or three times that speed.

In other words, it tends to be the less-lethal firearms that people talk about banning. Now, pure lethality is only one factor and I'm not trying to bait anyone into answering, "Well, what about concealability?" There are other factors. But it's an interesting point to consider on its own.

In serious self-defense conversations (ie, in classrooms and training centers) what's talked about is incapacitation, not lethality. The point is to incapacitate an attacker, not to kill him/her. And in the realm of available tools, handguns are relatively bad at accomplishing that. One study will tell you that combat accuracy is only 38 percent at distances less than three yards and it drops fast as distance increases. Another will tell you that the mental-incapacitation factor of a handgun is only 24 percent, compared to 80 percent for a shotgun.

In my state, you can own a handgun for self-defense but you cannot own an electronic weapon. Without necessarily advocating tasers, that's an interesting contrast. Handguns are designed to punch a hole in something. Tasers are designed specifically to incapacitate.
posted by cribcage at 10:08 PM on December 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


The deadspin article is illuminating. Football is a violent sport that gives (in money) as it takes away (in brain injury). If your job makes it so that you have to drink heavily and take painkillers, guns are an even higher risk than they otherwise would be.
posted by snowbuffalo at 11:15 PM on December 4, 2012


So the gun control thing is stupid.

Unless you think women are people.
posted by Space Coyote at 12:04 AM on December 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


One of the articles notes that while at the University of Maine, Belcher broke a glass panel while arguing with his girlfriend.

Clavicle, thanks for naming Kasandra Perkins.

Kasandra Perkins was trying to break up with Jovan Belcher, putting her at great risk of harm. Reauthorization for the Violence Against Women Act is currently blocked. It funds, among other things, a lot of legal aid for women and men who are victims of abuse.

And, am I the only one who thinks it's really weird that they went ahead and played the next game? Pro football is more business than sport, and canceling a game would be too expensive.
posted by theora55 at 12:24 AM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Y'know, I don't think I've ever actually been so angry I felt like killing someone! Maybe in my head I've imagined some act of violence but the chasm between imagination and action is so vast and deep, I don't know, I'd be surprised. I mean, even when I visualize that kind of violence, I feel sick to my stomach, it doesn't feel cathartic, there's no reason I would translate that into action except maybe a serious break from reality. I've never been so angry at an intimate partner that I wanted to hurt them, even when I'm livid. I find the "it could happen to anyone, it could even be me" narrative deeply sickening, unless you are speaking as someone with anger issues or issues with violence, in which case you should seek treatment, not walk around musing introspectively about the hair's-breadth you are away from shooting someone to death.

Which is to say again that this is really not a vague, mysterious pattern-- it's a very clear pattern of escalating abuse, usually. It can be terrifying to find out that someone you previously regarded is an abuser, but that doesn't mean it can happen to anyone, it means they have the profile of an abuser.
posted by stoneandstar at 12:41 AM on December 5, 2012 [10 favorites]


Kasandra Perkins was shot nine times. Not once and oh my god, baby, what have I done. Nine. I just think that should be mentioned, because it shocked me as much as the fact of the murder itself.
posted by swerve at 3:56 AM on December 5, 2012 [14 favorites]


Why should they cancel the football game over the deeds of one asshole? Nobody cancelled the World Series or the Superbowl after 9/11.

It's sad, true, but soldiering on was the right thing to do. Perhaps the attendees and players can wear some ribbons or such to commemorate awareness of domestic violence. That would go a small way in alleviating the situation.
posted by Renoroc at 4:25 AM on December 5, 2012


They had a moment of silence "for all victims of domestic violence."
posted by nathancaswell at 5:50 AM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


I find the "it could happen to anyone, it could even be me" narrative deeply sickening, unless you are speaking as someone with anger issues or issues with violence, in which case you should seek treatment, not walk around musing introspectively about the hair's-breadth you are away from shooting someone to death.

Right? All the claims that this is normal, everyone gets mad, etc. are...sickening is a good word.

If you take many of the comments here at their word, you'd think that we all should get medals for not murdering our intimate partners. Just nonsense. This idea that a normal man just "snaps" and it's understandable is so familiar, too, because it echoes a lot of rape culture "well, you shouldn't rape anyone but I can see how it happened, and now his whole life is ruined" kind of thing.

The underlying message is that violence against women is theoretically bad, sure, but mostly it's understandable and so it's really important to provide sympathy and support to the perpetrator and identify with him. After all, everyone loses their temper! No mention of the kind of controlling and entitled behavior that leads someone to become homicidally angry over a grown adult coming home late, no. The important thing is that he was angry and that's understandable because we all get angry and we shouldn't rush to condemn someone who murdered the mother of his child, probably while she was terrified and begging not only for her own life, but for the life of her small child.

People here will condemn using Microsoft more strongly than they will killing your girlfriend. It's the sign of a deeply sick culture of violence and hatred towards women in the US.
posted by the young rope-rider at 6:03 AM on December 5, 2012 [11 favorites]


Right? All the claims that this is normal, everyone gets mad, etc. are...sickening is a good word.

I'm probably the closest that anyone has come to claiming that this is "normal" and it's still not even close to what I've said; you're creating a complete straw man. My point is, essentially, this: people who murder other people (including, but not limited to domestic violence abusers) are not an alien species, they are people from the same culture as the rest of us responding to emotions that many people have. Jovan Belcher is, to some degree, like the rest of us. Nothing in that says that it's acceptable, nothing in it says that not committing domestic violence shouldn't be the expectation, or that people who commit it shouldn't be punished. It's simply an acknowledgment that I belong to the same group (human beings) as someone who is capable of doing something that is morally abhorrent to me.

Further, the othering of the perpetrators of domestic violence would actually seem to deny the "sick culture of violence and hatred towards women" by making it something that the rest of us aren't responsible for, only the evil abusers who are nothing like me. That's wrong. There absolutely is a culture that makes domestic violence more acceptable than it should (which is, obviously, not at all), but I don't get to sit outside that culture by condemning Jovan Belcher; I'm still part of it in the same way that I don't get to claim that I'm not part of a culture of racism by condemning racists. Even if I've never been violent toward an intimate partner, I'm still part of that culture, and I should acknowledge that.

I do think we should feel sympathy for all people, including people who kill their intimate partners simply because I think we should have sympathy toward all people. There's no reason that feel sympathy for one person limits your ability to feel sympathy for other people that they've hurt. Feel sympathy for someone doesn't limit your ability to punish them for their actions that are deserving of punishment. Sympathy can be used as excuse to justify behavior, but it's not intrinsic to the act of feeling sympathy.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 6:39 AM on December 5, 2012 [7 favorites]


Kasandra Perkins was shot nine times.

Yeah. I find it hard to believe that anyone here would say "It could happen to any of us, it's understandable head injuries violent sport blahblahblah" if he had shot, say, a fan who criticized his playing nine times. Can you see yourself shooting some random person nine times because you wanted their car, or they said something shitty to you, or they stepped on your foot on the bus? We don't tend normalize that kind of violence.
posted by rtha at 6:44 AM on December 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


I find the "it could happen to anyone, it could even be me" narrative deeply sickening, unless you are speaking as someone with anger issues or issues with violence, in which case you should seek treatment, not walk around musing introspectively about the hair's-breadth you are away from shooting someone to death.

Right? All the claims that this is normal, everyone gets mad, etc. are...sickening is a good word.

If you take many of the comments here at their word, you'd think that we all should get medals for not murdering our intimate partners. Just nonsense. This idea that a normal man just "snaps" and it's understandable is so familiar, too, because it echoes a lot of rape culture "well, you shouldn't rape anyone but I can see how it happened, and now his whole life is ruined" kind of thing.


I'm not really seeing that. What I am seeing is that people understand how a string of bad decisions and poor impulse control can escalate into a violent act. We understand that people sometimes go nuts. "There but for the grace of god" is by no means "I would have killed someone if I had a gun on the coffee table."

I don't think anyone is saying that violence against women is any more understandable than violence against men. Understanding how someone can escalate into violence is not the same thing as finding it acceptable or excusable. Empathy is not permission.
posted by gjc at 6:54 AM on December 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm gonna interrupt this thread about gun control to mention that Belcher and Perkins had a 3 month old daughter, who because of a clause in the NFL's Collective Bargaining Agreement will receive annual benefits until she turns 18, or 23 (if she goes to college).

And, am I the only one who thinks it's really weird that they went ahead and played the next game? Pro football is more business than sport, and canceling a game would be too expensive.

The NFL offices said they left that decision to the Chiefs management, and the game would've gotten rescheduled so it's not like it would've cost them too much. People grieve in different ways, and sometimes it's better to settle back into your routine in order to start recovering. Also, I think the fact that he was a rookie no one really knew outside of the team, combined with the fact that it was a murder-suicide contributed to the decision. If Tom Brady gets murdered in a robbery Tomorrow there's no way the Patriots play this weekend. I think in this case I can understand them deciding to go ahead and play.
posted by DynamiteToast at 7:00 AM on December 5, 2012


People here will condemn using Microsoft more strongly than they will killing your girlfriend.

Nobody's impressed with your condemnation of girlfriend-killing.

I can't speak for everyone here, but I got the impression that those of us trying to understand the killer were doing so not to sympathize with him. We want to understand so we can predict, intervene, and prevent those kinds of things.

On a personal level, I'll never know why my uncle shot himself after he killed his wife. He survived, and somehow it got him out of prison way sooner. Weird, how justice works. He's dead now, and always claimed he wanted to kill himself, but I never believed him.
posted by surplus at 7:03 AM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


When it's raining outside, I put on a raincoat. It defends me from water falling from the sky. It doesn't stop the water from falling, much less stop it from landing on me.

So, I guess I don't like the self-defense argument for gun ownership. To my mind, if you buy a gun for protection, you're not just looking to defend yourself. You're looking to win. Isn't winning a fight different from merely defending yourself in a fight?
posted by emelenjr at 7:08 AM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


The NFL offices said they left that decision to the Chiefs management, and the game would've gotten rescheduled so it's not like it would've cost them too much. People grieve in different ways, and sometimes it's better to settle back into your routine in order to start recovering

I think, given that the people who presumably made the decision (the coach and GM) were also directly affected by this, we can assume the decision was made as part of a good faith grieving process. I'm guessing their thought process was that getting back into their routine was a better way for them to deal with things than postponing the game.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:13 AM on December 5, 2012


Why should they cancel the football game over the deeds of one asshole? Nobody cancelled the World Series or the Superbowl after 9/11.

Um... All of baseball was cancelled for like two weeks. I still think that was a terrible decision, but it did happen. We can find about a zillion examples of games going forward and not going forward shortly after a player's death, but the 2001 World Series isn't one of them.
posted by hoyland at 7:48 AM on December 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


My point is that we need to figure out why someone like Jovan would do what he did. And that we need to be aware that if we just put him in the category of "other" we are missing the fact that he is NOT other. Domestic violence is way more common than is thought, and although it does not always end the way this incident ended, it's points on a continuum that need to be interrupted. Jovan was not a monster in most of his life but he turned into one on the last day of it, and it is important we figure out why before the next Jovan picks up a gun or a knife or strangles a loved one.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 8:28 AM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


What I am seeing is that people understand how a string of bad decisions and poor impulse control can escalate into a violent act. We understand that people sometimes go nuts. "There but for the grace of god" is by no means "I would have killed someone if I had a gun on the coffee table."

"People make bad decisions and go nuts" is a very poor explanation of what happened. "People who break panes of glass while arguing with their girlfriend and seem to attempt to control them through threats and violence may fatally hurt their families" is much more accurate and less permissive, and it does not normalize what is extreme, tragic, and identifiable behavior.

From the last article, Drew Wing, executive director of Maine Boys to Men:

"For some reason, this athlete thought he had the right to control a woman to the degree that when she did something that perhaps he didn't like, he thought it was his right to take her life," Wing said. "This was a murder -- and these murders happen all the time."

There are two sentiments there-- first of all, that Belcher's view of his girlfriend and his apparent feeling of entitlement and control over her life was reprehensible, and second, that this excessive feeling of entitlement and control is too common among men.

We can say we want to "understand," but the people who do understand domestic violence and abuse put the blame squarely on the abuser, point out the entitlement, control and anger issues that contribute to the frequency of abuse, and do not attempt to relate abuse to everyday, non-controlling feelings of anger or frustration.
posted by stoneandstar at 8:57 AM on December 5, 2012 [5 favorites]


*and by people who do understand I mean people who make domestic violence prevention their life's work
posted by stoneandstar at 8:57 AM on December 5, 2012


We can say we want to "understand," but the people who do understand domestic violence and abuse put the blame squarely on the abuser,

No one here has put the blame anywhere else.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 9:27 AM on December 5, 2012


I think, given that the people who presumably made the decision (the coach and GM) were also directly affected by this, we can assume the decision was made as part of a good faith grieving process.

No we can't, that's absurd. The amount of money at stake was intense, the pressure for all the people who had to play to say that they "wanted" to play was intense. Had the question been asked in a non-public way, say, by secret ballot, we might have some idea of what the folks affected really wanted to do in re playing or not, but as it stands it's ludicrous to pretend like we know one way or the other.
posted by OmieWise at 9:41 AM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


After google image searching Kasandra and looking at twenty images of her with a huge smile on her face I looked at this one of James Harrison star linebacker for Pittsburg. One of those guns he is holding is a Smith and Wesson 460v about which the wikipedia states:

Smith and Wesson boasts that the .460 S&W is the highest velocity revolver cartridge in the world, firing bullets at 2330 ft/s.

The logic is clear: do not mess with me or I will fuck your shit up.
posted by bukvich at 9:56 AM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


I know we don't want to make this the next 'gun control' thread. But . . .

This murder-suicide happened in my town and in my neighborhood. The house where Perkins & Belcher lived is about three blocks from the elementary school my children attend and about four blocks from our church. Arrowhead Stadium is just a few minutes the other direction; our family goes biking and hiking on the stadium grounds often. My son and I bike through Perkins' and Belchers' neighborhood regularly; my younger kids' school bus drives through that neighborhood every day; we've gone trick or treating there. Etc.

This is basically what you would call an inner-ring suburban area, single family homes almost exclusively. Median household income is maybe 10% above the state average. My point is, it's not the most expensive/exclusive suburb but it's not the slums or the dreaded 'inner city' either. It's not the type of place you think of when you think of gun violence. It's considered a low-crime area. It's just fairly normal suburban America.

(In fact my comment to my wife on finding out the area they lived in was, "I guess NFL players' salary ain't what it used to be?" But, I digress . . . )

In our normal, low-crime, all-American suburban area I tend to spend a lot of time outside. And outside, over the years I have often heard loud booming 'gun' noises. You know, like what you hear deer hunting or on the gun range. Not every day, but you know--a couple of times a week maybe? Way too often to be random gunfire in my mental model of a sane universe.

So for years I dismissed these "booms" as not possibly gun shots. I mean, even though they sound EXACTLY like gun shots, they're probably cars backfiring, trees falling. Maybe they're icebergs cracking. Whatever.

But.

* A few years ago, a bicyclist was hunted down and shot by a pair of young men in a car. Hunted down as in, stalked, ambushed, shot, missed, stalked again, ambushed again, shot, killed. This happened about four blocks from my girls' preschool.

* Last year a neighbor was shot dead in his driveway about four blocks from our house. No reason discovered, assailants never caught.

* This summer a jogger was shot dead on the sidewalk alongside a major road--that just happens to be right outside the bank we go to a couple of times a week. Again, no reason, no motive, no assailants ever caught. Just your basic random gun violence.

* A few weeks ago we had a domestic shooting and standoff very similar to the Belcher/Jenkins incident, just a few blocks from our home. (Police helicopters circling around the area were our first clue about both incidents.)

* When I searched the news to try to find more info about that incident (never did find it--too commonplace to report, I guess), instead I found out about another incident just on the other side of town, where an armed robber type guy was lurking around a neighborhood. He jumped over a fence and came upon a couple of guys standing on their porch. One of those guys just happened to be armed, too, and so they proceeded to have a wild-west style shootout right there in the neighborhood.

I mean, you come across two guys on a porch. What are the odds that one of them is armed. Apparently around here, the odds are quite high.

* Last Christmas break I was standing on our front steps when I heard the familiar "boom-boom" that I have always dismissed as being some car backfiring. But these happened to be a bit closer than usual and I also immediately heard the whine.

Of the bullets, approaching me. You can bet I hit the dirt PDQ and that's when I heard the cracking of the bullets hitting the trees just across the street.

And, that's when I became convinced that there were no cars backfiring, no trees falling, no icebergs cracking.

Apparently here in suburban Kansas City we live in a gun-addled society. People have guns, lots of them. And they shoot them at all hours of the day and night, for good reason or no reason at all.

Did I mention the .22 slug I found embedded in our back door one day? Apparently our backyard neighbor was plinking at varmints. On its way to our back door it had threaded its way through all the children's toys on the back porch. Upon which, luckily, there were no children at that moment.

My view, from both my front steps and my back door, is we've gone too far. We're beyond the pale. We've got far, far too many guns and we are using them for all the wrong reasons. I don't know what we need to change in American society, or how to go about it. But something is very, very wrong. We need to change.
posted by flug at 11:53 AM on December 5, 2012 [23 favorites]


The tragic fact of the matter is that women are at far more risk of being murdered by their intimate partner than they are by a stranger. Many of these men who kill their female partners then take their own lives. I live in MA - in my state since 2003, domestic violence homicide perpetrators have killed 261 people - 60% of whom were female domestic violence victims killed by male partners and 29% are friends and family members of the domestic violence victim. In 28% of these incidents, the domestic violence homicide perpetrator also committed suicide. (numbers from Jane Doe, our state DV/SA coalition)

...

I, too, think that the gun control angle and the head injury contribution are red herrings


Emphasis mine. Since you like stats ...

"The presence of a firearm in the home increases the risk of homicide for women by five times (PDF) and two-thirds of women killed with guns each year die in domestic disputes (PDF). When a domestic dispute involves a firearm, it is 12 times more likely to end in homicide (PDF)."
posted by mrgrimm at 12:17 PM on December 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


"Plinking" is a revealing term. Some people don't know what it means, because it isn't used everywhere. The fact is that in some parts of the United States, it's perfectly common to take a gun into a field or forest and casually shoot at bottles, cans, etc. (Once I found a child's car seat that had been plinked.) In other parts of the country, plinking is unheard of; you shoot inside the boundaries of a gun range, indoor or outdoor, or you don't shoot at all.

There are some contexts where discussing "American society" as a monolithic entity is useful, but I'm not sure this is one. Gun culture varies radically from one state to the next. Between some states it's a major point of social contention.
posted by cribcage at 12:20 PM on December 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Plinking" is a revealing term. Some people don't know what it means, because it isn't used everywhere. The fact is that in some parts of the United States, it's perfectly common to take a gun into a field or forest and casually shoot at bottles, cans, etc.

I'm not a big gun owner or anything, but honestly people taking their .22 out in an empty field somewhere, where you have a good backstop or hillside behind your targets, where you use all the gun safety procedures that the gun nuts are always yarping about--well go ahead, plink away all you want.

But what we're talking about here is plinking away in the backyard of a suburban neighborhood using a gun that can kill people as easily as it can squirrels. I mean, the backyards aren't just postage-stamp sized, but they're not huge either--not near big enough to shoot a gun in.

It's true that gun culture varies widely from state to state. But you know, it's pretty big in every state in the Midwest and West where I've lived. That's not the whole country but it's a pretty big chunk.

It tends to be biggest in rural areas, where there actually is a lot of practical use for guns (though even there, far more so for hunting weapons and less so for handguns) and infiltrates from there in to the cities.

One of my pet ideas is, I think people love to live in our Midwest suburbs because they like to imagine that they are living on their country estates. They'll choose the suburbs over the city every time because it reminds them more of the country where they grew up--or perhaps it was their parents or grandparents or great-grandparents, or whatever. Regardless, the longing for the small-town good-old-days and wide open spaces is what drives the decision about where to live--no jobs in the country, can't stand the 'big city', so we choose the place near the city and the jobs that reminds us of home. That's the suburbs.

(And the irony is that suburban living combines the disadvantages of both the city and the country with the advantages of neither--but that's another post altogether.)

However--'plinking' with a .22 in your suburban backyard is taking this idea a bit too far. It might be OK to plink at squirrels in the 200 acre field back behind your house in the country, but it's NOT OK in a 1/10 acre suburban backyard with a row of homes behind your target.

This seems like a derail, but I'm pretty convinced that one reason gun control makes no headway, leastways here in Missouri and the other western & midwestern states I've lived, is because everyone is still in the headspace of 50-75-100 years ago, when 90% or more of the country was rural, when you 'needed' a .22 to keep down the local squirrel population, .30-06 to bring home venison for the table, maybe some handguns to defend against border ruffians or outlaws, and so on.

Those days are long, long gone, especially for suburban and city dwellers. But in our minds they're alive as could be. And it's the mentality that keeps too many of our suburban homes stockpiled with lethal weapons that are all too easily available when people get angry or violent.

As pointed out upthread, the easy availability of these lethal weapons has a huge effect on our domestic violence and murder rates. Minus the weapons, the incident we're talking in this thread would have been a fight rather than a double fatality.
posted by flug at 1:57 PM on December 5, 2012


We can say we want to "understand," but the people who do understand domestic violence and abuse put the blame squarely on the abuser,

No one here has put the blame anywhere else.


Well, way to ignore the rest of the sentence? I think the second and third items I named in the sequence contribute to the blame bleeding out into "society" and "human nature," which is highly inappropriate, especially when you look at the difference between how violent crimes by women and men are reported in the media.
posted by stoneandstar at 4:48 PM on December 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


*and yeah, I think society is a contributing factor, but not in the sense that "we're all a part of the same sick culture and it could happen to anyone," because it's just really not that basic.
posted by stoneandstar at 4:52 PM on December 5, 2012


Jovan was not a monster in most of his life but he turned into one on the last day of it...

I'm trying very hard to understand this point of view, I really am. I don't think Jovan was a monster at any point in his life, even the day he shot his girlfriend for staying out later than he wanted.

My point of view is that he was a controlling, violent, entitled arsehole all the time. Not a monster, just an arsehole. No matter how nice he may have been to other people some of the time, he took out his shitty attitude on someone he saw every day and claimed to love. She didn't think he was entitled to control her, and so he killed her in a violent rage. He didn't suddenly become a monster one day - he had a lifetime of participating in a culture that let him believe he had the right to control her actions and punish her if she didn't obey.

I can see that everyone in this thread thinks domestic violence is a tragedy which needs to be better understood. We're not disagreeing on that. But shooting your girlfriend nine times because she came home late is not the action of a nice person who just lost their head all of a sudden.

We don't need to look for causes that would have made him snap out of the blue, we need to look at causes that made this couple think this was a normal, everyday way to relate to someone you love. Domestic violence is often a cycle, where victims become perpetrators. It happens in day to day routines, in the most banal way. Why didn't someone tell Jovan he was out of line long before things got to the point of him killing someone? I think it's because we refuse to believe the evidence in front of us when we see it.
posted by harriet vane at 5:58 PM on December 5, 2012 [10 favorites]


Brain Disease Found In NFL Players
"On the heels of the latest NFL suicide, researchers announced today that 34 NFL players whose brains were studied suffered from CTE, a degenerative brain disease brought on by repeated hits to the head that results in confusion, depression and, eventually, dementia. The study was released just days after the murder-suicide of Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher. It's not yet known what triggered Belcher's action, but they mirror other NFL players who have committed suicide."

Sorry if this is already buried in the links up-thread, but it seemed relevant.
posted by Mezentian at 6:07 PM on December 5, 2012


It may be relevant.

When professional wrestler Chris Benoit killed his wife and son and then himself in 2007, the media instantly characterized it as "roid rage." I understood both the logic (wrestlers take steroids, steroids cause violence) and the impulse (horrifying action requires explanation: drugs!) but this leap ignored what I thought was a glaring fact from Benoit's life: His finishing move as a wrestler, which he performed several times a week from roughly 1985 until his death in 2007, was to leap from the top rope and land on his forehead. Sure enough, tests on Benoit's body revealed that his brain damage resembled an 85-year-old Alzheimer's patient.

The research on concussions and brain injuries resulting from sports in the past several years is still "new," but it's not really new to anybody who reads the literature. Both the NFL and professional wrestling have begun changing rules to address the problem, but so far it's only been small steps and it's looking like a pretty large problem.
posted by cribcage at 6:37 PM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


My point of view is that he was a controlling, violent, entitled arsehole all the time. Not a monster, just an arsehole. No matter how nice he may have been to other people some of the time, he took out his shitty attitude on someone he saw every day and claimed to love. She didn't think he was entitled to control her, and so he killed her in a violent rage. He didn't suddenly become a monster one day - he had a lifetime of participating in a culture that let him believe he had the right to control her actions and punish her if she didn't obey.

I can see that everyone in this thread thinks domestic violence is a tragedy which needs to be better understood. We're not disagreeing on that. But shooting your girlfriend nine times because she came home late is not the action of a nice person who just lost their head all of a sudden.



You know, we can assume that but we don't know that. There are a lot of things being reported, such as he was with another woman that previous night, etc etc. I know a lot of normal noncontrolling people who might argue with a spouse if they were out late with a three month old baby at home, rightly or wrongly. Was he a controlling abusive man? Was he a cheater? Was he simply one of two immature people who made a baby and argued a lot? Was he a nice guy who because of brain damage and/or perhaps steroids or perhaps an undiagnosed mental condition wound up murdering someone?

We can speculate all day long here but we don't KNOW. And we need to know. We need to know what causes an otherwise normal seeming productive member of society to go off the rails. Whether he was an entitled sumbitch or simply emotionally labile or too drunk to think clearly with a fatal access to a loaded firearm.....I think it is lazy to simply write him off as an asshole. There are a lot of assholes out there, and most of them don't kill people. And there are some people who aren't assholes, who one day do something totally out of character, something that can never be repaired...

Besides that.....I would lay good money down to say that all of us on here know at least one abusive person-but we won't know they are abusive, because it is way, way too hidden under a nice guy or nice gal facade....because we all know "only assholes beat people, or murder people."
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:58 PM on December 5, 2012


The point is, most people who would kill their girlfriend by shooting them 9 times, aren't "going off the rails." You keep making references to someone snapping, and that's very unlikely. Yes, we don't know the whole story. But some assumptions are safer to make than others, and the assumption that there were warning signs, that he was in some way abusive to her previously, is not at all a crazy thing to say.
posted by agregoli at 7:01 AM on December 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


But some assumptions are safer to make than others, and the assumption that there were warning signs, that he was in some way abusive to her previously, is not at all a crazy thing to say.

Are you saying that we already know what causes domestic violence, that it's been well-documented in widely-accepted studies, so the details of this particular case are unimportant? Or maybe that this is just an anecdote and so in the grand scheme of things it doesn't matter (and maybe even misleading to dwell on) what caused this particular incidence of domestic violence?
posted by straight at 10:35 AM on December 6, 2012


Huh? Of course I'm not saying that.
posted by agregoli at 10:38 AM on December 6, 2012


I wasn't snarking. I think those are both reasonable reactions to this story (especially the second one). So then I guess I honestly don't know why you're saying it's OK to just assume what happened here rather than actually finding out.
posted by straight at 1:22 PM on December 6, 2012


I didn't say that either, so have no idea what you're going on about, sorry.
posted by agregoli at 2:03 PM on December 6, 2012


I'm going to have another try at clarifying what I think, because I get the feeling we all probably agree on more than we disagree.

Cheating and arguing are normal (and unpleasant) parts of an unhappy relationship. Killing someone by shooting them nine times is not a normal response to a disagreement, it's an extreme overreaction and therefore needs a proper explanation. So far, so good, I think we're all on the same page.

There's a million varieties of arsehole, and I don't want to get into those. I only chose that word as an attempt to indicate that I agreed with the idea of "Not a Monster" but not with "Murder Out Of The Blue".

I realise that we don't have all the details in this case. And if anyone was going to have brain damage or steroid complications, it'd be a pro athlete. But it is statistically and historically rare for a person to commit murder unless they've had previous experience with successfully using violence to solve their problems. Very few humans can bring themselves to use lethal force unless they've had practice at near-lethal levels of force. This is why psychologists consider smaller, non-lethal incidences of violence (such as punching walls) as red flags for more serious incidents that may happen in the future. And it's why the checklist method used in Maryland (see the thread I linked earlier) has created a 40% drop in domestic murders - because there's a predictable pattern to domestic murders, so we can hone in on the early signs before it's too late.

So I'm coming from assuming he was an abusive arsehole, and wanting evidence before I'd believe it was brain damage or steroids. I guess other people are coming from the other direction of him being a nice guy with brain damage and wanting evidence that he was a wife beater before changing their minds. And other other people will reserve judgement until more is known. Those are all reasonable positions.

I just don't think that all the possibilities are equally probable. Domestic murders have a predictable pattern to them. If it turns out this is one of the rare cases of murder out of the blue, then I'll be wrong and I'm ok with that.

I do agree that we probably all know someone who is guilty of domestic violence, without realising it. It's sadly common, we make false assumptions about the type of guy who would beat his wife, and they're usually pretty good at hiding it too. All we can do to begin with is keep an eye out, and let our friends know we'll believe them and support them if they ever need our help. And maybe get our hands on that Maryland checklist.
posted by harriet vane at 4:39 AM on December 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


Ta-Nehisi Coates: The Seductive Dream Of Standing Your Ground
posted by tonycpsu at 3:06 PM on December 7, 2012


NFL: We now have more details about the domestic case that prompted Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs to surrender his gun collection to authorities. It's not pretty.

According to the domestic complaint obtained Friday by The Baltimore Sun, Suggs' longtime girlfriend, Candace Williams, claimed the All-Pro punched her in the neck and dragged her alongside a speeding car with their two children in the vehicle. The woman said she suffered "severe road rash" as a result of the incident.

As is standard protocol in the wake of a complaint of this nature, Suggs was ordered to turn over any firearms in his possession. The Sun reported he turned over seven guns. WBAL-TV reported Suggs surrendered nine.

Suggs does not face criminal charges stemming from the September incident.

posted by Drinky Die at 11:17 PM on December 7, 2012


Suggs does not face criminal charges stemming from the September incident.

Of course not. He probably just lost his temper. Nothing to see here, folks, just two people having a totally normal argument.
posted by the young rope-rider at 4:55 AM on December 8, 2012


Don't read on about the previous incident. :(
posted by Drinky Die at 3:05 PM on December 8, 2012


Chicago Tribune: Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman Josh Brent was arrested and charged with manslaughter on Saturday after practice squad linebacker Jerry Brown Jr. was killed in the crash of a car driven by Brent, police said. Both formerly played at Illinois.
-
Brent, referred to in the police report as Joshua Price-Brent, failed a sobriety test and was booked into Irving jail charged with manslaughter for driving while intoxicated.

posted by Drinky Die at 5:56 PM on December 8, 2012


These are horrible things that happen to (young, male) people. Young men have a pronounced dumb streak. I hesitate to ascribe too much of it to the fact that they play football.

What a terrible week for the league, though.
posted by Trochanter at 6:25 PM on December 8, 2012




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