Ask 1,000 people what they think about guns and you’ll probably get as many different answers. Maybe that’s why guns make so many people so nervous so often.
Gilbert Arenas, an exciting star player for the Washington Wizards NBA basketball team, is on a hot seat because he brought handguns into his team’s locker room. He dug a deeper hole when he made light of the incident and seemed not to be apologetic. Arenas is in a pickle for several reasons, especially because the NBA is ever anxious about the image of its players, the league’s marketable commodity. The NBA brass tries to dampen impressions that the NBA is filled with thugs. Now here’s Arenas, drawing pistols inside the arena.
Arenas faces suspension by the NBA. Plus, Washington, D.C., has strict gun laws, and police are investigating. Teammate Javaris Crittenton was involved in the gun incident too, and the Washington Post reported that Crittenton even chambered a round in his pistol, according to witnesses.
Everyone knows that criminals use guns to aid in their crimes, which of course makes all of us nervous. No one wants criminals to be allowed to pack heat. The Second Amendment provides our right to bear arms, but it’s fairly universally agreed that gun-violence criminals forfeit the absolute right to carry guns. So it is that knuckleheads such as Arenas and Crittenton, not criminals, are the biggest problem for responsible gun owners. They make people nervous. Who wants to be around anyone waving a handgun in a public place?
Karl Malone, the retired Utah Jazz basketball legend, blasted Areneas in a Sports Illustrated piece this week. But Malone, a hunter and National Rifle Association member, also defended guns and gun owners in general. Even so, Malone exhibited some of the inconsistencies and contradictions that come out during any gun controversy. He said, for instance, he’d never think of bringing one of his firearms into the arena; but he said he would never go out in his car without his concealed-carry weapon.
OK, I wouldn’t want to be near Malone with his sidearm either in an arena or near his car. Personally, the location doesn’t make much difference to me. My attitude is, please keep your guns away from me, concealed in your jacket or waving it around in a basketball arena. The Arenas case makes a caricature of the issue, but the everyday fact of the country’s gun-packing trend has been there to examine all along.
We also had an interesting gunplay story this week in Ogden. Ruben Valadez of Ogden held a burglar at gunpoint in his home until the police arrived. He later posed for a Standard-Examiner photographer, holding the pistol he had trained on the suspected burglar. Valadez seems to represent an image of what Second Amendment and NRA advocates would want to promote: A law-abiding homeowner using a firearm to defend his property. Still, the image of the homeowner with his gun in a photo in the paper made some readers uncomfortable.
We’ve become a “Make my day, punk” nation.