Auburn Hills — The news of the Las Vegas massacre hit hard for Pistons players and coaches, as it did the rest of the world late Sunday and early Monday morning: a shooter killed dozens of innocent spectators at a concert near the Mandalay Bay hotel and casino.
It’s another intersection of life and sports — and the Pistons were outspoken about the impact of the latest mass shooting.
“It’s heartbreaking. In this country, we’ve had so many instances like this over the years, that it’s almost numbing,” forward Anthony Tolliver said. “You wake up another day and it’s another tragedy. I pray the families of Vegas and people affected by that tragedy can find peace, one way or another.”
The incident was a topic of conversation between players at the practice facility, who wondered aloud whether they were safe even in places where they seem to feel secure.
With every mass shooting, the questions of gun control and mental health emerge, but as usual, there are few reasonable solutions that arise.
“Our fascination with guns in this country is mind-boggling to other people in the world — they don’t get it,” coach Stan Van Gundy said. “Now is not the time to get into a big political argument. If we’re not going to talk about gun control at some level, then I don’t think there’s anything you can do about it.”
The feeling of helplessness at not being able to do much about the bigger national issue is the most frustrating part. There’s plenty of discussion, but little legislation and changing of the thought process about guns — especially automatic weapons and the ease of their accessibility.
“I don’t know what we can do about it. I know there will always be the one-off people who go off and do stuff like that,” Tolliver said. “As a country, we have to be honest with ourselves and figure out the best ways and change things to prevent as much of that stuff as possible — whatever that may be, I’m for it.”
Van Gundy said he has a cousin who lives in Las Vegas and has yet to hear from her, though he will continue to send text messages to find out if she’s safe.