The tragic death of former Saints lineman Will Smith continues to draw raw emotions from around the country, and it was only a matter fo time before New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton shared his reactions. In a lengthy interview with USA Today, Payton shared his thoughts on gun violence in and around New Orleans and said the city is broken and comparing it to the wild west.
“We don’t hear this noise when something happens in New Orleans East, or in the Lower 9,” Payton said to USA Today during a phone interview lasting over half an hour. “Now you creep into the Garden District… I just know this: Our city is broken.”
“It’s like our big little secret,” Payton said. “They don’t want to kill tourism. But right now, it’s like the Wild, Wild West here.”
Payton has come to know the city of New Orleans very well after coaching the Saints since 2006. During that time he has seen his share of highs and lows with a Super Bowl championship and a groundbreaking suspension from coaching, but the perils in the streets of New Orleans are by far much more serious compared to any struggle Payton has had on the sideline.
Gun violence continues to a be a rising problem that so often leads to debates over gun control that appear to do nothing to reach a solution to the problems this country faces. Payton, who claims to lean right on a number of issues and denies being an extreme liberal, said he is ready to share his stance no matter what reaction he may get.
“If this opinion in Louisiana is super unpopular, so be it… Two hundred years from now, they’re going to look back and say, ‘What was that madness about?’ “Payton said. “The idea that we need them to fend off intruders … people are more apt to draw them (in other situations). That’s some silly stuff we’re hanging onto.”
“I hate guns,” he said. “I’ve heard people argue that everybody needs a gun. “That’s madness. I know there are many kids who grow up in a hunting environment. I get that. But there are places, like England, where even the cops don’t have guns.”
Smith was shot by a .45, which Payton says was designed for use during World War I and is a machine capable of killing someone within minutes.
“We could go online and get 10 of them, and have them shipped to our house tomorrow,” he said. “I don’t believe that was the intention when they allowed for the right for citizens to bear arms.”