Bob Costas Calls for Ban on Acquaintances
(AP) – Following widespread reports that the gunman in the Oregon mall shooting used a rifle that authorities claim was “stolen from an acquaintance,” sportscaster Bob Costas has publicly called for a ban on acquaintances.
“If the killer had not had any acquaintances, his victims would still be alive,” Costas told reporters at a Los Angeles memorial service he had organized for broadcasting legend Vin Scully. The reporters, who had initially gathered to inform Costas that Scully is not dead, were instead subjected to an impromptu speech about the dangers of acquaintances.
“For too long, our country has allowed the reckless accumulation of acquaintances,” Costas said. “Anyone can just go out and get an acquaintance, any time, for any reason. There’s no background check, no safety training, no waiting period. How many more innocent lives must end before we do something about this national shame? I, for one, am taking a stand. No more acquaintances, period. I’m telling everyone I know, if you’re not related to me by blood or marriage, fuck off.”
Predictably, Costas’ statements have thrown the conservative right-wing blogosphere into a hysterical tizzy. “Acquaintances don’t kill people, people kill people…unless the people doing the killing are another person’s acquaintance, in which case, yes, I suppose acquaintances do kill people,” right-wing conservative blogger Hutton Safford told the AP. “But that’s still no reason to ban them.”
Most experts disagree. Joshua Lubinsky of the Berkeley School of Law’s Center for Repressive Policies told the AP that while the Constitution does protect political and religious freedom of association, it does not explicitly mention a right to have acquaintances. “We’ve seen past instances in which the court has ruled that there can be reasonable limits on acquaintances, and what’s more reasonable than stopping mass murder?”
“Just show me where it says ‘acquaintances’ anywhere in the Constitution,” television personality Piers Morgan tweeted Wednesday evening. “It just isn’t there.” “The acquaintance lobby is the new KKK,” sportswriter Jason Whitlock tweeted Thursday morning.
Legal scholars have already coined a term for the fringe elements of the conservative right who are obsessed with the belief that the Constitution protects their right to have acquaintances. “We call them ‘acquainters,’” Lubinsky told the AP, “and they might seem like a fringe movement today, but they shouldn’t be written off as harmless. They have the ability to do a lot of damage, and take a lot of lives, with their reckless acquainterism. Just think if Timothy McVeigh never had Terry Nichols as an acquaintance? Or Harris and Klebold at Columbine? We can see how acquaintances lead to mass killing, but the far-right acquainters simply don’t value human life.”
Costas has received support from several high-profile politicians. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced a new policy, to go into effect on January 1st, in which New York City restaurants will be prohibited from seating diners at the same table if they’re not related by blood or marriage. “The days of going out to eat in New York with an acquaintance are over,” Bloomberg declared at a Thursday-morning press conference. “For the safety of our citizens, New York City dining is now acquaintance-free.”
For his part, Costas isn’t backing down. “The acquainter fanatics can attack me all they want, but I’m standing my ground. And frankly, I can see the positive benefits to society already. Now that I no longer hang out with or speak to any of my former acquaintances, they all seem really happy.”