On Saturday, Jovan Belcher, an inside linebacker for the Kansas City Chiefs, shot and killed his 22-year-old girlfriend, Kasandra Perkins. He then drove to Arrowhead Stadium and committed suicide, shooting himself in the head in front of head coach Romeo Crennel and general manager Scott Pioli. Sadly, there is another element to the tragedy. Belcher and Perkins leave behind a three-month-old daughter named Zoey, who was being looked after by Belcher’s mother in the same house where the first shooting occurred.
The initial reaction to this news was to feel anger and rage that someone would steal life from another, and then take their own, avoiding consequence at the hands of others and abandoning another human whose caretaking was their natural responsibility. Then, a brief moment of consideration revealed that there is never a simple explanation to the motivation behind any of our actions, least of all the most heinous. That isn’t meant to excuse what Belcher did, only to state that such heart-rending happenings leave little room for our own poorly-informed judgment.