Lee Heidhues 4.3.2022
The Sunday morning massacre in Sacramento, California which left six people dead and many wounded is a typical American event.
On July 27, 1967, the black activist H. Rap Brown gave a rancorous speech at a press conference in Washington, D.C. that is widely cited as the origin of his well-known quote:
“Violence is as American as cherry pie.”
In a way, it was the origin. However, that seven-word aphorism is the shortened, popularized version of what Brown said in his speech.
What he actually said that day was: “I say violence is necessary. Violence is a part of America’s culture. It is as American as cherry pie. Americans taught the black people to be violent. We will use that violence to rid ourselves of oppression if necessary. We will be free, by any means necessary.”
Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr spoke eloquently about the scourge of violence in America. He experienced it all too well. His father, a university professor, was assassinated in Beirut, Lebanon in 1984.
Excerpted from The San Francisco Chronicle 4.3.2022
SACRAMENTO — Warriors head coach Steve Kerr didn’t think it was appropriate to talk about basketball ahead of Sunday’s game against the Kings in Sacramento. There were far greater issues that needed to be addressed.
At least six people were killed and 12 others were wounded in a mass shooting in downtown Sacramento early Sunday morning near 10th and K streets, close to Golden 1 Center.
“It’s devastating news,” Kerr said. “I didn’t know about it until this morning when I woke up. First and foremost, just thinking about the city of Sacramento and all the families who were effected, the victims, the survivors, the people who were injured. Just so many lives devastated. So everybody with the Warriors, we all share in your city’s grief. There’s not a whole lot you can do or say. But we’re all crushed to day as we prepare for this game.”
For Kerr, each senseless act of violence in this country hits close to home. His father, Malcolm, was assassinated in 1984 while serving as the president of the American University of Beirut. He’s been a strong supporter of stringent gun control and and background checks. He’s repeatedly used his platform as an NBA coach to express his disappointment with the government’s response to mass shootings.
His response to Sunday’s tragedy was no different.
“At some point our government has to decide are we going to have some common sense gun laws,” Kerr said. “It’s not going to solve everything, but it will save lives.”
Kerr discussed the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021, sponsored by Rep. Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena. It cleared the House with support from both sides of the aisle, but never reached the Senate floor.