Lonnie Ball is a guy, so he follows sports. He sure paid attention to the news the past few days, after a Kansas City Chiefs player killed his girlfriend, then minutes later killed himself the day before an NFL game against the Carolina Panthers.
Ball found one of his co-workers last year after her boyfriend killed her, then himself. Linda Dixon, 53, was known as “Dixie” to people at Terminix where she worked. The coward who shot her was nothing more than a killer.
Just like Jovan Belcher, the NFL player.
“Cold-blooded murder, and the player is a cold-blooded murderer and there is nothing else to it,” Ball said. “Guy who shot Dixie was a killer, too. Right after the news, I thought about Dixie. Same thing happened to her.”
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Yet there was no national media spotlight in March 2011, in rural western York County, because the killer who shot himself was not well known. The victim was not, either.
The gun-toting coward was just a punk boyfriend who shot a mother and grandmother named Dixie, then killed himself. For the record, his name was Goldsmith, and like this football player Belcher, he should always be known as “brutal killer.”
But because this latest killer played pro sports – and almost all sports media worship the players, grovel before them and try to make a killer into a victim who may have had problems – there is so much wonder about why this player might kill.
The player is a murderer. Period. He killed a woman named Kasandra Perkins and left a child an orphan. Just like the guy named Goldsmith, a nobody, who killed Dixie and then took the coward’s way out by shooting himself.
Patti Redden of York knows that the NFL killer leaves an orphan child because Dixon was her sister – and her family of children and grandchildren and sisters was left, too.
“Murder leaves the family to deal with it and that’s all this latest thing is, is a murder,” said Redden. “He killed the woman, just like my sister was killed. Nobody is talking about what murder does to the family that is left.”
Back in March 2011, a tender preacher named the Rev. Tom Sherer from Rock Hill’s Covenant Presbyterian Church went out to the Terminix building and gave a service for Dixon’s stunned and grieving co-workers.
He talked about anger and how we as people cannot seek revenge. He talked about seeking respite through God.
Sherer believes that still, and he too saw the news about this awful NFL murder-suicide that is just like Dixon’s murder. Sherer knows also that one issue worth talking about is the gun used by this NFL killer.
A very few bring up the gun because a lot of sports fans love guns, too. A lot of sports fans love violent hits and collisions.
So when a player uses a gun, they want discussions that do not mention what happens when people have and use handguns. What happens is, killers such as Belcher and Goldsmith blow holes in the heads of women.
Yet America needs a national discussion about handguns, Sherer said. Dixon died by handgun violence and this woman in Kansas City died by handgun violence – and all the people who claim to need handguns for safety can crow and yell and scream about gun rights all they want.
But tell that to the families of the dead.
Sherer had to stand before all those tough Southern people who have grown up around guns at Terminix last year who cried because of what handguns did to Dixon. He did not flinch from talking about what guns can do, and what people with a proclivity toward violence can do if guns are at hand.
“I understand the argument for security with handguns,” Sherer said, “but clearly there are cases where a person with a handgun acts as judge, jury and executioner.”
If the gun is not at hand, he said, the opportunity for the killer to use it is not there, either.
The sports world and media has also thrown around the word “tragedy” this week.
“This is no tragedy,” said Ball, who found the body of his friend last year after she was gunned down. “It is murder. Cold-blooded. Sick.