It’s Tuesday, December 18th in Oakland, CA. Fifteen minutes before the Warriors and Hornets tip-off. 18,000 of us remove our hats, bow our heads and share a moment of silence for the 20 children, 6 staff members and mother who lost their lives four days earlier in Newtown, CT.
After tragedy strikes, we often find comfort in the relief that live sports provide. Playing and watching sports create a sense of community. Through sports we find common ground to build friendships upon, whether that’s on the fields and courts or next to the water cooler. The camaraderie that comes from sports is universal—able to break all social and generational barriers.
But no one can shake the painful fact that we’ve had too many moments of silence like this one this year. In a four month period beginning in April, three NFL players committed suicide: former Atlanta Falcon Ray Easterling, former San Diego Charger Junior Seau and Tennessee Titan OJ Murdock. Then, just 17 days ago, Kansas City Chief Jovan Belcher took the life of his girlfriend before taking his own.
After tragedies, we also look for quick fixes to make sure it never strikes again. We passed through metal detectors at the Oracle Arena gates, which aren’t at every home game. The news can’t stop talking about gun control and the exact opposite, arming teachers and other school staff.
The sad truth here is that there is no answer. No matter how much we want to run away from reality by watching sports and enjoying other escapes while our politicians argue about which extreme reaction is correct, no one can prevent bad things from happening.
We can minimize the damage if we can come together around politics the same way we do with sports. As a nation, we have the right to own guns. But we shouldn’t be able to own semi-automatic assault rifles or high-capacity magazines. What self-respecting hunter could possibly need that much firepower? Our teachers and movie theater ushers don’t need to carry guns. That just creates crossfire and more casualties.
There have been, and always will be bad people who will do bad things. There will also be good people who do bad things. We can never have a perfect world. Life doesn’t work like that. But we can prevent the bad things that will occur from being as catastrophic as what happened at Sandy Hook.
While we continue to mourn the mother, children and educators who lost their lives, let’s not continue to fight over whose political stance is right or wrong. Let’s meet at the water cooler and realize that in end, we’re all playing for the same team.