Since the news broke that Kansas City Chiefs player Jovan Belcher had shot and killed girlfriend Kasandra Perkins before later taking his own life, the linebacker has been painted as somewhat of a monster. He's a man who shot, in cold blood, the mother of his child, then killed himself, leaving their 3-month-old daughter orphaned. But new details of the last moments of Belcher's life paint a new picture.
Monster is too simple, too easy. Would a monster have leaned over and kissed the woman he'd just shot and apologized to her? Would he have kissed his little girl?
Perhaps. Shooting oneself is a cry for help. Shooting someone else, taking another's life, is dark and twisted.
It's comforting to write Jovan Belcher off as a monster, an anomaly. It makes the murder/suicide seem like something singular to the Belcher family, that the evil inherent to what he did is no longer a threat to society because the perpetrator is dead and gone.
And yet, there's something about that last kiss for this girlfriend that can't be ignored. We have already heard that after the shooting, Belcher drove to the Chiefs' facility where he found coach Romeo Crennel and GM Scott Pioli and thanked them personally for taking a chance on a guy who was undrafted, a player from a small college who they'd called up and offered a free agent contract several years ago.
That thank-you doesn't sound dark or twisted. It sounds like the last act of a man who was heartsick, struggling. Kissing the woman he loved after killing her, apologizing, those too sound like the acts of a man who was less depraved, more depressed.
What happened in Kansas City may have been the act of one very troubled man, but sadly, it can happen again, anywhere, any time. Because what happened isn't simply the act of one monster. It's what happens sometimes with good people who have lost their way.
Jovan Belcher may have been a monster. Then again, he may simply have been a good-hearted man who went off the deep end. Sadly, his little girl will have to live with the consequences of his actions either way.
What do you think of this tragedy in Kansas City? Is Jovan Belcher a monster?
Image via Getty Images/Jamie Squire