Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Bill Cosby on "the gun"

From Deborah Simmons at the Washington Times. Bill Cosby weighs in on the Trayvon Martin killing:

“The gun.” 
Those two simple words flowed easily from the mouth of social commentator Bill Cosby during an exclusive interview Friday regarding the Trayvon Martin case, arguably the most high-profile, citizen-on-citizen U.S. slaying facing the Obama administration.
Trayvon was killed Feb. 26 in Sanford, Fla., by neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman, who told police that a “confrontation” with the unarmed 17-year-old led him to shoot in self-defense.
“We’ve got to get the gun out of the hands of people who are supposed to be on neighborhood watch,” said Mr. Cosby, whose remarks were the first he has made publicly about the case. 
“Without a gun, I don’t see Mr. Zimmerman approaching Trayvon by himself,” Mr. Cosby explained. “The power-of-the-gun mentality had him unafraid to confront someone. Even police call for backup in similar situations. 
“When you carry a gun, you mean to harm somebody, kill somebody,” he said.
An award-winning actor and great American humorist, Mr. Cosby, 74, is best know for the ground-breaking NBC sit-com “The Cosby Show,” stand-up routines and recorded performances, all of which are infused with familial humor. 
Scheduled to perform April 28 at the Kennedy Center, Mr. Cosby continues to grace multiple platforms, and is scheduled to tickle funny bones as co-emcee at the April 12 gala celebrating the reopening of the historic Howard Theatre in Northwest Washington.
But it was at another celebration, the NAACP marking of the 50th anniversary of the landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education school-desegregation decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, that saw Mr. Cosby take a spot on the forefront of controversial social commentary. 
In his remarks at the 2004 event, Mr. Cosby pointed out to the audience that blacks had essentially created a new lower rung on the socioeconomic ladder by failing to police their children. Since then, he has traveled the nation and used social media to expound the virtues of personal accountability, responsible parenting and a sound education.
Cosby is a great example of a public figure who has consistently urged civility, reconciliation, and responsibility in matters of race. "Personal accountability, responsible parenting and a sound education" are the prerequisites for a good life and for a peaceful just society. Our policies should be aimed at strengthening the family and keeping our neighborhoods safe.

He is certainly right about the gun in the Martin killing. It obviously was central to the tragedy. I do not favor gun control, generally speaking, for two reasons: the Second Amendment, and because there is no evidence that it prevents killings. But I understand Cosby's point, and I agree that a neighborhood watch zealot heading out the door with a gun to chase a "suspect" is a disaster waiting to happen.

By the way, you may recall the tragic death of Cosby's son Ennis, who was murdered by a white man during a robbery. Cosby didn't invoke any racial issues in his son's murder, and in fact he pleaded against the death penalty for his son's killer. Cosby is a class act.

Bill Cosby is a very good and wise man. We need to hear a lot more from him, and a lot less from the professional hate-mongers who stoke racism for their own personal gain.

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