On Saturday former NFL Football player Will Smith was shot and killed in what appears to be an incident involving road rage.
Smith was driving with his wife in New Orleans’ Garden District when his vehicle was hit from behind by a red H2 Hummer. The driver of the hummer got out of his vehicle and confronted Smith, who was still behind the steering wheel. Words were exchanged, the hummer’s driver produced a handgun and shot Smith six times. Smith’s wife also suffered two gunshot wounds to her leg.
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On Monday in an interview with USA Today, the NFL Coach of the New Orleans Saints, Sean Payton held nothing back when he talked about the senseless death of a man who he regarded as family. Smith played 9 seasons for the Saints as a defensive end and was set to join the coaching staff as an intern for the 2016 season.
Payton dove straight into the political hot zone when he made this statement.
I hate guns
As thought he hadn’t made his point clear enough, the Saints coach dispelled any ambiguity when he said:
If this opinion in Louisiana is super unpopular, so be it.
Payton went beyond criticizing U.S. gun control policies, he made it clear that he would prefer to live in a country without guns.
Two hundred years from now, they’re going to look back and say, ‘What was that madness about?’ The idea that we need them to fend off intruders … people are more apt to draw them (in other situations). That’s some silly stuff we’re hanging on to.
The Saints coach’s reaction is surely in part raw emotion from suffering the loss of a close friend, someone he had worked with very closely for almost 10 years. However, Payton’s statement regarding the likelihood of using a gun in self-defense versus using a gun to take an innocent life is a well-established fact.
The Los Angeles Times reports that an analysis conducted by the Violence Policy Center found that there were only 259 cases of “justifiable gun-related homicides.” These involved scenarios where the police found a legal gun owner’s use of deadly force was lawful. From the L.A. Times:
Oh, and match those 259 justifiable homicides with the theft of about 232,000 guns each year, about 172,000 of them during burglaries. That’s a ratio of one justifiable homicide for every 896 guns put in the hands of criminals.
Those 259 justifiable homicides also pale compared with, in the same year, 8,342 criminal homicides using guns, 20,666 suicides with guns, and 548 fatal unintentional shootings, according to the FBI’s Supplemental Homicide Report. The ratio for 2012, per the Violence Policy Center, was one justifiable killing for every 32 murders, suicides or accidental deaths (the ratio increases to 38-1 over the five-year period ending in 2012). That’s a heavy price to pay.
Payton’s frustration is shared by many reason-minded Americans who are sick gun violence in their country.
I’m not an extreme liberal. I find myself leaning to the right on some issues. But on this issue, I can’t wrap my brain around it.
Will Smith leaves behind his wife Racquel and his three young children: William, Wynter and Lisa.
Here’s the full radio interview via USA Today:[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/258564056″ params=”auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true” width=”100%” height=”450″ iframe=”true” /]
Here are two videos about this story.