Saturday, November 29, 2008

Plaxico Burress Might Be the Dumbest Player in the History of the NFL

"Only two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. And I'm not sure about the former." - Albert Einstein

There is a broken and developing story about the New York Giants' problematic receiver, Plaxico Burress. The story, as I'm sure you've heard/read, is that the man accidentally shot himself in the leg with, presumably, a handgun. Shot himself in the thigh and spent the night in the hospital.

I am staggered by the indescribable stupidity required for such an act.

Until shortly before my eighth birthday, my family lived in St. Louis, MO. While there, we'd spend summers in the more rural parts of the State. If you've never lived in the Midwest, there's a good chance you have no idea what "rural" means. This was a place where you could spend weeks, ranging far and wide on foot or by river, without ever encountering another human-being.

These are the places where six-year-olds learn to shoot a .22 rifle.

For the last two decades, my family has lived in the suburbs of San Francisco. Suffice it to say the attitude towards outdoor riflery is not the same. Nor is it really feasible. Instead, my dad and I shoot most weeks in an indoor range. We've also graduated to handguns, three .45s to be exact.

A 1911 Gold Cup, a Les Baer Thunder Ranch Special, and a Wilson Combat Tactical Supergrade.

I have been around guns all my life. You can debate the merit/intelligence of this all you want, but you cannot debate what I am about to say: anyone who could accidentally shoot himself without a truly spectacular freak occurrence is terrifyingly reckless. And that makes him dumb, exceedingly so.

You either have or have not been around a gun.

If you have not been around one, the very idea should and does inspire the utmost caution if you are even semi-reasonable. If you have been around a gun and operate a functional central cortex, the power of a loaded gun terrifies you into exercising even more caution than that. Plaxico falls into one of the above categories by definition.

And yet he accidentally shot himself. In the thigh, not a toe or a finger or some other outer extremity. The thigh.

Maybe there is some totally reasonable explanation. I gotta say though, I struggle to conceive of one. The problem with a ricochet theory is that it's almost impossible to get one if you exercise reasonable caution. Step one of reasonable caution is finding a place where such ricochets are almost impossible.

Like a gun range.

If it wasn't a ricochet, that means he was carrying around a loaded, chambered, and cocked firearm. There are just no words to describe how insanely moronic that is. Your average retard might leave a gun laying around with ammunition in the clip/cylinder. That's dumb enough. To actually be carrying around a chambered round is ludicrous.

Unless you're a cop or some such occupation where it's part of the job.

But a weapon that's ready to fire? Subject to the above exceptions, you just don't do that. Ever.

Now, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe it wasn't a handgun. Maybe it was a rifle or a shotgun. Maybe it was some totally reasonable, totally freak accident. Maybe it wasn't even an accident. Except for the freak accident, would any of those scenarios make this better?

If it wasn't an accident and this is his cover story, what the hell was the real one?

As for the freak accident, does anyone really believe that's likely? Remember, I'm not even sure one exists that could explain it. And if it wasn't a handgun, the probability of a reasonable accident shrinks to almost zero.

Most of the stupidity in the National Football League only results in catastrophe when mixed with equal parts lack of self-control. Here, catastrophe was only averted through luck. A gunshot wound is never a laughing matter, but one in the thigh (where a major artery runs) is especially dangerous.

Had catastrophe struck, it would have been one of the more serious tragedies in recent memory. Even by the NFL's unfortunate standard. And it would have been the product of sheer stupidity. That alone.

Only luck saved Plaxico Burress from himself. And this time, the penalty could have been infinitely more costly than a suspension.

Consider how happy he must be to be in a hospital, done for the year, and stuck watching his team defend their Super Bowl Title. Something that looks at least probable at this point.

The Dumbest Player in the History of the NFL is a lofty title and one for which there are many worthy candidates.

But Plax gets mine.

1 comment:

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