OAKLAND -- As the number of mass shootings in America this year ticks toward 400, most of the general public is showing more and more signs of sheer exasperation with government inaction.
Count Warriors coach Steve Kerr among those who are past their threshold with the government limiting its reaction to these tragedies to such tired platitudes as “sending our thoughts and prayers” to the survivors while the powerful National Rifle Association lobby continues to assert authority over politicians.
After first expressing condolences to those affected by the mass shooting Sunday at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Tex. that killed with 26 men, women and children, Kerr on late Monday afternoon dived into problem-solving mode.
“To solve it, we almost have to look at it like a public health issue,” he said two hours before tipoff against the Miami Heat. “Too often we get caught up in political rhetoric, Second Amendment rights, NRA stuff. We have to look at this as it has nothing to do with partisanship or political parties -- it’s got to be a public safety issue, a public health issue.”
Kerr has long been a strong advocate for gun control, his passion on the topic undoubtedly stirred by the brutal 1984 assassination of his father, Malcolm Kerr, at the American University of Beirut.
What Kerr had to say Monday makes sense on so many levels. He reference an article he read earlier in the day that compared the inaction on gun control to the steps taken to address auto fatalities in the 1950s and 1960s.
With the addition of such seat belts, speed limits, air bags, driver’s licensing and other safety measures, death rates on American highways have been dramatically curtailed.
“All these things are just safety issues,” Kerr said. “We have to somehow get our government to cut through all the crap and get right to the point, the point of fact, which is safety. Which means (there are) a lot of things that we can do without taking away peoples’ Second Amendment rights. Let’s do the sensible thing.
“But our government has to lead the way,” he added. “They can’t just cave in to the NRA just because the NRA wants to make money. They have to put people’s safety and health over the interests of the gun lobby and the gun industry. It doesn’t seem like it would be that far of a stretch, but for whatever reason we’re paralyzed and we’re unable to do anything to protect our citizens.
“It’s disgusting and it’s a shame.”