I mentioned today's blog topic on Twitter earlier in the week, but feel like it's something I need to revisit in more depth. If you follow me on Twitter (if not, what's wrong with you I thought we were friends) then you may remember my mentioning a story about Larry McKelvey, a Dallas Cowboys fan who was arrested a week ago for using his stun gun on some Jets fans in the stands during the pre-game 9/11 remembrance ceremony.
Witnesses claimed that the altercation stemmed from McKelvey's refusal to stand for the national anthem and his decision to talk on his cell phone while "Taps" played to commemorate those killed in the 9/11 attacks. Not surprisingly, this aggravated several fans sitting around him, and when they confronted him by not clearing a path for him to get to the rest room, things naturally got physical and McKelvey claims to have been defending himself by using the stun gun he was carrying.
Now, I'll be honest and say my first impression of this story was that McKelvey was solely at fault if for no other reason than being a Dallas Cowboys fan. Those who know me for my hatred for Philadelphia Eagles fans may not be aware that my hatred for Cowboys fans is much older. Historically, "America's Team" has been comprised of every arrogant, preening, dirty-playing jerk off that could be found in the league. And their owner, Jerry Jones, would be my pick to replace Satan in the 9th circle of hell should I ever remake Dante's Inferno. So naturally, the kind of fan who would be attracted to such a team must be at least 45-55% jackass.
But judging a person at all without ever meeting them is already kind of a dick move (I'm still going to do it, mind you) but to do it solely on the basis of what football team he follows is a bit much, even for me. So I did a search on a few of the articles written about the incident, and as I've found more and more lately, my opinion lands in the gray area where everyone has some of the guilt.
By way of explanation for why he didn't stand up for the national anthem, McKelvey claims to be a Jehovah's Witness and that standing for the national anthem is against his religion, which seems to jive with the religion's views against "worshiping" anything other than their God, which includes allegiances to one's country.
However, I find it difficult to believe that talking one one's cell phone during the remembrance of the death of several thousand people is an argument of religious belief. And even if it was, hows about stepping out to the bathroom before the opening of 9/11 ceremonies. Did McKelvey really not think the powers that be would have something planned for the 10th anniversary of the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history? I don't give a shit if you were living under a rock for the last 3 weeks. You'd still have to know that tensions would be running a little high that day, especially in New York.
That being said, I'm sure that there is some guilt to be passed around to the Jets fans who got into it with McKelvey. I have nothing against them voicing their displeasure at McKelvey, but physically intimidating McKelvey crosses a line that really shouldn't be crossed unless McKelvey himself was already seriously threatening physical harm. Even if McKelvey stood up and told everyone in his section that everyone who died in the 9/11 attacks deserved to die, he'd be a complete piece of shit but he wouldn't have given legal cause for physical provocation.
And then there's the stun gun. Since the charges against McKelvey include illegal possession of a stun gun, I can only imagine that he should have never been allowed through the gate with it. So how the hell did he get it through on a day when security was likely at least a teensy bit tighter than usual. If we have to stand in line and be felt up any time we want to go watch a football game, I'd at least like to know that the procedure actually serves the purpose of keeping dangerous shit out of the stadium. But I guess that's too much to ask. Now, if McKelvey just whipped the thing out and started zapping people just because he didn't like the looks on their faces, then I'd wonder where his standing as a Jehovah's Witness would hold up. But again, I have no idea if he used the thing in self-defense or because he's a douche bag.
At this point, if you're not sure where I stand on this whole thing, it's because I really don't, either. It seems as though the authorities and public opinion have sided against McKelvey, but even though I'm inclined to agree I can't be sure since I wasn't there. The only thing I do know is that it's yet another instance of a group of people getting together and showing the rest of the world just how fucking ridiculous we can be as a species.
There were so many points in the day where this whole thing could have been avoided. McKelvey could have left the stun gun at home, or stepped out before the start of the ceremonies rather than make a show of his beliefs, which he knew would rile people up even ona normal day. Security could have actually been competent enough to find the illegal weapon that McKelvey must have had bulging out of the side of his pocket. Hell, the crowd around McKelvey could have just grumbled a few words to themselves about how he was being an asshole and let it drop at that. Instead, we wind up with the news clip above that once again makes me a little more embarrassed to be a human being.