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Nightmare at Arrowhead

Column

For The Parthenon

Published: Monday, December 3, 2012

Updated: Monday, December 3, 2012 08:12

Early Saturday morning, the Kansas City Chiefs organization had a disappointing season take a tragic turn for the worse. General manager Scott Pioli and head coach Romeo Crennel were at work early Saturday making final preparations for Sunday’s game with the Carolina Panthers. The tandem received a phone call telling them to hurry to the parking lot.

The men exited the building to find 25-year-old linebacker Jovan Belcher standing on the other side of the exit doors holding a gun to his head. They engaged in a conversation with Belcher, ending with Belcher thanking them for giving him a chance to play in the NFL. That would be the final words Belcher would say as the four-year player took his own life with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

The beginning of this tragic morning started just as it ended for Belcher, unfortunately with another person losing their life.  Kasandra Perkins, 22, was shot several times in her home Saturday morning. She was later pronounced dead at the hospital. The unfortunate connection in both deaths was Belcher himself.

Belcher shot Perkins several times in her home after the couple had a dispute. Perkins was Belcher’s girlfriend and mother of his three-month-old daughter. Authorities have yet to release information on a motive for the murder-suicide, only noting the couple had been arguing frequently.

Kansas City mayor Sly James commented to the Kansas City Star regarding the tragedy at Arrowhead. “He’s trying to do his job under probably more adverse circumstances than he’s ever seen in his life,” James said of Pioli. “He knows all the players. He knows that particular player; he’s very emotional.”

James could not imagine of being in Pioli or Crennel’s shoes, adding: “You have absolutely no idea of what it’s like to see somebody kill themselves. If you can take your worst nightmare and put somebody you know and love into that situation, and give them a gun and stand 3 feet from them and watch them kill themselves, that’s what it is like.”

“It’s unfathomable. Think about your worst nightmare and multiply it by five,” James said.

Players and friends of Belcher were stunned by the news, adding that he appeared happy in life and was a model citizen and a happy father.

Belcher’s agent, Joe Linta, told Sports Illustrated’s Peter King on Saturday: “Javon was a happy, proud father, with pictures of his baby on his Facebook page. This is shocking. Something went crazy wrong, and we’ll probably never know what it is.”

“I never take on anyone as a client I wouldn’t be proud to take home and spend time with my wife and kids,” Linta said to King. “Jovan was one of those type of people. There’s no word for this other than shocking. That’s all I can think of.”

While there are numerous victims in this tragedy, no one has been affected more than the three-month-old infant who is now orphaned and will never have the opportunity to know her mother and father.

Chiefs quarterback Brady Quinn told the Kansas City Star the team was so stunned, it was hard to digest what had happened.

“It’s hard mostly because I keep thinking about what I could have done to stop this,” Quinn said. “I think everyone is wondering whether we would have done something to prevent this from happening.”

The unfortunate part of this tragedy is so many unknowns that may never be answered.  Rather than to provide judgment in this horrific event, the victims should be the main concern moving forward. Pioli and Crennel witnessed something they will never forget and a three-month-old infant is left without her mother and father.

Having children of my own, this story hit close to the heart. I pray that this innocent girl will find happiness in her life and that she will be cared and provided for. Reports were discussed this morning that the Chiefs’ organization plans on playing a substantial role in her care.

No matter how one choses to remember Jovan Belcher, he is and always will be a murderer. However, the true reasoning that lead to this event may never be known.

No one plans for an accident, hence the reasoning of the name. While it is easy to point fingers and cast judgment, the events that occurred cannot be reversed. Only events in the present and future can be changed and learning from mistakes in the past can prevent future reoccurrences.

Depression and suicide are states of mind that may lead one to do something out of the ordinary. Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States claiming over 38,000 lives each year as reported by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Persons considering suicide or to learn more about the signs and symptoms of suicide call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or online at www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org or the National Hopeline Network at 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433).

James Collier can be contacted at collier41@marshall.edu.

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