I’m sure that most of you have heard of CrossFit.  If not I’d like to know what rock you have been hiding under.  Some of you however may not have heard of the CrossFit Games.  What started out ten years ago as a backyard BBQ event at a ranch in Northern California has turned into a World Class Event held at the Stub Hub Center in Carson, California.  Tens of thousands of spectators, many, many more watching on the live web feeds and ESPN and athlete prize money in excess of $275,000 per each First Place Individual Man and Woman and additional prize money for Teams and Masters.  In total there is over $2,000,000 in prize money.

This year Glock guns offered to give the 1st place winners a certificate for a handgun.  The Director of the Games, Dave Castro, is an Ex-Navy Seal, and he enjoys recreational gun use.  I know what you’re thinking already but hear me out.  Keep in mind these guns in total are probably worth about $4,000.00

Yes, we are all raw from Orlando and all of the other mass shootings that have taken place both in the USA but also around the world just in the last year.  My recollection however is that most, if not all of those events were perpetrated with assault rifles, not pistols.  Secondly they were done, for the most part, by radicalized religious zealots and let’s not forget the event that just happened in Nice, France.  80+ people killed BY A TRUCK.  In my mind I don’t see any connection between gifting a few Athletes a gun IF THEY WANT IT, to any of the preceding events.  Apples & Oranges.

There are a lot of anti-gun people out there.  Everybody is entitled to their opinions.  But the outrage that has been expressed on Social Media and the mainstream news has been vitriolic and, in my mind, irrational.  Would people be so outraged if CrossFit was gifting each 1st Place Athlete a white Box Truck like the one used in Nice?  That whack job killed more people than all of the mass shootings we’ve had recently combined.  This circles back around to the saying “Guns don’t kill people, people do”.

CrossFit has grown into a multinational company with members and athletes from close to 100 Countries.  Many of these cultures are anti-gun and there are numerous countries where you simply cannot bring a gun home.  From a multi-cultural standpoint I can see how some cultures might find it odd that a gun would be used as a gift, but this is an American company and this event is being held in California.  Guns, and specifically the gun in question, are legal here.

When I read the Facebook postings I feel slightly ill.  First, most of the writers have their facts wrong.  They are calling Glock a “Sponsor” and calling the Guns “Prizes”.  Glock is NOT a sponsor of the CrossFit Games and the guns are “Gifts” not “Prizes”.  If any given athlete is offended by that part of what they receive as winners then they can simply refuse it.  Keep in mind these are the first place winners so some of them will have over $275,000 in prize money in addition to many gifts including clothing and shoes, sport supplements, and now a gun.

Sure it’s not your every day gift but it’s legal, there are millions of legally owned guns in the USA, and the kinds of events that people are linking this gift to are not perpetrated by a handgun.  It would be refreshing if people got their facts straight before they started spewing hate, especially the mainstream media, most of whom have screwed up the facts as bad or worse than the foaming at the mouth housewives that have also chipped in on this issue.  Seeing all of the falsehoods being spread around the internet pulls my opinion of the people writing them down and, again, it makes me feel ill that there are so many people out there just waiting to jump on an issue because what they have to say is SO IMPORTANT.

I think it’s an extremely brave act to offer Guns as gifts to the top ranked athletes.  I’m guessing that a few of the people involved had a gut feeling that there might be some blowback from this but CrossFit is known for not apologizing when they are right.  Coach Gassman has gone after big Soda because they are poisoning the world with their sugar laden drinks and that too has been controversial but that has not stopped him.  Since there are no legal, moral or ethical reasons not to accept these gifts from Glock and pass them onto the Athletes why are people so angry?

We do have a problem in this country.  Our murder rate is one of the highest in the world, the mass murders we have seen in the last few years are shocking and disturbing, and there are areas in some cities where it’s not safe to walk at night and people regularly get shot whether they are part of the drug and gang activity going on there or someone just walking home from work.  There are South American Countries where parents are sending their adolescent or younger children north to the United States because the murder rates are so high.  Gangs have virtually taken over the entire country.  Now that’s a problem.

But if you consider that there are over 300 million privately owned guns in this Country, the problem is not the gun, it is the person behind the gun.  With a population as large as ours there are going to be some disturbed people.  We probably should do a better job of preventing them from having access to weapons.  The perpetrator in Orlando had been investigated for ties to terrorism on more than one occasion but he still filled out the paperwork and was able to buy an assault rifle.  To me that is far more fucked up than giving a handgun out as a prize.  A quick search on the internet will show that guns are used not just as gifts, but as prizes and fairly commonly.  In other words, what CrossFit is doing is NO BIG DEAL.

I just wish that our society could collectively harness the energy that gets expended when something like the CrossFit controversy arises and focus it on social change that will actually accomplish something.  Educating poor kids and giving them opportunities to find work, providing affordable health care to everybody like they do in every other developed country in the world, reducing the amount of crap that gets into our oceans including the one billion plastic bags that get used every year.  That might actually make a change in our world.  Quit yapping over something that has no downstream consequences and start looking around at what we can really accomplish if we set out to do so.

Joe Jeter   July 16, 2016