In what is in every way a tragic death, Washington Redskins player Sean Taylor was recently murdered in his home. Taylor was something of a miscreant, while being supremely talented, but seemed to be turning his life around and maturing as a player and a person. On November 26th, Taylor's home was broken into, and armed only with a machete Taylor was shot in the leg by the intruder, severing his femoral artery and leading to his death. Taylor was 24 years old, a world class athlete, a new father, fabulously wealthy and now he is dead for no apparent reason.
That brings us to my team, the Cleveland Browns (a suprising playoff contender...). I check the Cleveland Plain Dealer on a regular basis for news on the Browns as well as the Indians. While reading a column of news blurbs on the Browns, I came across a jaw-droppingly ignorant statement attributed to Browns coach Romeo Crennel. Now Crennel is no stranger to ignorant statements and actions (i.e. taking a timeout to decide to challenge a play, challenging and losing that challenge and thus burning two timeouts on one play). But this crosses a line into ignorance that is amazing even for Crennel:
Think about that. Taylor's house had been broken into eight days earlier. When an intruder breaks in again, Taylor, his girlfriend and their 18 month old daughter were at the mercy of this intruder. Taylor was attempting to defend his life, his family and his home with a machete. If Taylor had a firearm and knew how to properly use it, perhaps he still would have died, but there is a good chance that he could have defended himself and his family. The idea that American citizens should be encouraged to "turn in their guns" as a reaction to the death of a co-worker who was unable to defend himself precisely because he was not armed with a gun is the height on insanity. The surroundings that Crennel advises his players to be aware of, in the case of Taylor, was his own home. Taylor was not out at a club waving a gun around. He was in his own home, and was trying to confront a burglar armed with a gun with only a machete? That is the fate that Crennel would like his players relegated to?
Rather than heed Crennel, I would hope that his players all seek professional training in the safe and responsible ownership and use of firearms and seek to arm themselves with the hope that they never need use them, but that is called upon to do so they find themselves able to.