The Killing of Kasandra Perkins

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It would be soothing (for some of us) to consider Jovan Belcher a man who simply snapped and murdered his ex-girlfriend. I guess in some way, he did. In another, more honest way, he did not:


Less than two months ago, Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher sent a foreboding text message to a secret girlfriend, expressing turmoil and frustration with his longtime girlfriend, Kasandra Perkins. In the message, Belcher said he "would shoot" Perkins "if she didn't leave him alone," according to police reports obtained by The Star

At the time, the secret girlfriend thought Belcher was joking.

Belcher claimed that his wife "threatened to take all his money and his child if they split up" and that she "knew exactly how to press his buttons and make him angry." This is the "look what you made me do" defense -- made to a woman with whom Belcher was having an affair, no less. 

It would seem to me that part of responsible gun ownership would not simply involve a knowledge of guns, but a knowledge of oneself. It's not enough to keep your piece on safety and under lock, if you are not employing such protections for yourself. If I have ceded control over my anger to my significant other, and have had thoughts of shooting her, perhaps I should not have guns in my house. Here are the possible results:

Police found a bullet hole in the bathroom floor under Perkins' body that went through to the basement, possibly indicating she was on the floor when Belcher fired that round. Shepherd said she heard a "thump" before the gunshots. Police found eight spent shell casings and three bullet fragments in the bathroom and one spent bullet in the basement. Police observed 10 apparent gunshot wounds on the front of Perkins body, including to her neck, shoulder and chest, and five wounds on her backside. The medical examiner said four bullets remained in her body.
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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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