I was thrilled to see that Aaron D. Wolf was poised to address the “ugly reality” behind the murder-suicide perpetrated by Kansas City Chiefs player Jovan Belcher (“Handgun Culture, Cultural Revolutions, January).  Unfortunately, instead of confronting the real problem, Mr. Wolf went on a puritanical tirade against cohabitation.

The “ugly reality” that the mainstream media refuse to address is that handgun violence stems from black (excuse me, African-American) culture in the United States.  Forgive me for stating the obvious, but for years rap music has glorified thuggery and waving around one’s “nine” in the face of one’s enemies.  Women are called “ho’s” or worse, and, as statistics readily demonstrate, black children are far more likely than white ones to grow up in homes without fathers.

The courageous thing to do would be to call this problem what it is—or is Mr. Wolf really worried that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady may fly off the handle and murder Gisele?

        —Michael Wilson
Boston, MA

Mr. Wolf Replies:

I’ve never been one to dance around race issues if and when they arise.  In this case, however, I failed to go the courageous route of plumbing the depths of inner-city hip-hop culture and its predilection for gun violence not because it’s gauche, but because it’s boring.

Given what was commonly known about Belcher, it’s no bold thing to state that a well-known black subculture (I refuse to speak in such unhelpful and misleading generalities as “black culture”) influenced his behavior.  This is no elephant in the room.  In fact, Bob Costas himself mentioned it in at least two subsequent interviews.  No one tuning in to MSNBC’s Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell had any doubt whom Costas had in mind when, in reference to the “gun culture,” he said that “it plays itself out in the inner cities, where teenage kids are somehow armed to the hilt.”  And speaking of NFL players in particular—who, as a group, are roughly 70-percent black), he relayed former coach Tony Dungy’s lament that 65 out of 80 players in his training camp reported that they owned at least one gun.  Said Costas, “Even if all of those weapons were obtained legally, you can’t have 65 guys in their 20’s and 30’s, aggressive young men subject to impulses, without something bad happening.”  As if that wasn’t a plain enough way of saying he fears that black guys with guns are subject to sudden outbursts of homicide, Costas added the next night, on FOX News’s The O’Reilly Factor, that America’s “gun culture” is in part a result of behavior “glamorized in gangster-rap videos.”

Bottom line, the interesting “race angle” on this story was not “black guy shoots baby mama” but “thinly veiled racist comments by Costas ignored because they serve the left’s agenda.”

My angle, however, was the hypocrisy of the leftist media who claim to care deeply about violence against women yet ignore the morally obvious and statistically documented fact that couples who shack up are more likely to experience violence and far more likely to experience lethal violence.  NBC is not going to have a Very Special Commentary on that, since it would mean torpedoing their entire prime-time lineup.  And as for Brady, whose talents behind center I admire, suffice it to say that his relations with the mothers of his children bear witness to the fact that a propensity for violence isn’t the only danger that befalls couples who live together outside wedlock.