Steve Kerr abhors routine of mass shooting, followed by moment of silence

Tragedies, moments of silence become painful routine for Kerr originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

SAN FRANCISCO – Shortly before tipoff of the Warriors-Grizzlies game Wednesday night at Chase Center, there will be a moment of silence out of respect for the seven victims of a mass shooting on Monday 30 miles to the south.

Half Moon Bay.

Shortly before tipoff of the Warriors-Nets game on Sunday at Chase, there was a moment of silence out of respect for 11 people murdered last Saturday in a mass shooting 390 miles to the south.

Monterey Park.

Perhaps no one in the building will be more acutely affected than Warriors coach Steve Kerr, a crusading gun-safety advocate who 39 years ago lost his father to gun violence.

“That’ll be back-to-back moments of silence,” Kerr noted Tuesday, after practice. “I don’t know . . . if I had to count the moments of silence that I’ve been a part of here in the Bay that we’ve observed before Warriors games, it’s for sure double figures.

“It just feels like we’re just doing the same thing over and over again.”

That’s because we are.

Surely even those in the narrow-minded, compassionless stick-to-sports crowd can understand why such tragedies are not ignored at sporting events. There is sport, and there is humanity. Inasmuch as we have, in the end, but one community, the latter is and always should be of a higher priority.

There have been 48 mass shootings – described as a “single outburst of violence in which four or more people shot” – in the first 24 days of 2023. America is on pace for 730. There were 647 in 2022, 690 in 2021, and 610 in 2020.

This American epidemic has reached a point where many of us either knew a victim or a surviving relative. Either know or are familiar with a friend or co-worker who has been touched.

All because so little has been done to address a plague unique to this country.

Kerr, like many others, was hopeful that the 2014 Sandy Hook massacre, which killed 26 people, including 20 students under the age of eight, would be the tipping point. That it would generate enough outrage that government would be forced to take decisive action. Instead, nothing more than thoughts, prayers, and debates into the ether.

“It’s going to take the entire population of this country to get the pendulum to swing,” Kerr said. “More than anything, we need to have senators and congressmen on the republican side who can run on a campaign of gun safety and gun violence prevention and still think they can win.

“As long as all those candidates think they can’t win their election if they support gun-violence prevention, gun-safety measures, common-sense laws, it’s been proven that most of those people are going to put their job and their power ahead of the lives of their fellow citizens.”

Kerr urged those seeking to slow the bloodshed to participate in the gun-safety movement. He mentioned Brady United and the Giffords Law Center, both named for political figures who survived gun violence. He took note of March for Our Lives, which emerged after 17 were murdered in a mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Fla.

With two mass shootings in the Bay Area on Monday, Kerr also mentioned Live Free, a racial/social justice network of which local Pastor Mike McBride is the executive director.

Each group has a similar goal, one that practically everyone on the planet claims to desire: Fewer weapons, more peace.

“There’s a reason we don’t allow tanks in the streets,” Kerr said. “There’s a reason we don’t allow automatic weapons. So, why did we draw the line at semiautomatic weapons? Those have been unbelievably deadly in most of these mass shootings. There’s no reason.”

Until something is done, there will be leaders in sports, such as Kerr, recognizing our failures and pushing for action. There will be sporting events, such as Warriors-Grizzlies, during which an organization does the humane thing.

A moment of silence. And another.

Because mass shootings keep coming. And no matter how many bodies are buried, or how many tears are shed, political indifference keeps making allowances.

We do what we must – pray, plead, beg – in the hope there will be no need for a moment of silence on Friday or ever again. But we know the possibility is all too real and will remain so until effective measures are put in place.