Bill Cosby: Trayvon Martin’s Death More About Gun Ownership Than Race (Or, Why Bill Cosby is Right)

Ever since the infamous “Pound Cake Speech” of 2004, it’s safe to say that when Bill Cosby speaks, not too many black folks are happy with his remarks. His recent comments on CNN’s State of the Union with Candy Crowley has served to be yet another source of angst for many of my colored cousins. Asked by Crowley to share his thoughts on the Trayvon Martin case, Cosby replied with what is seen by some as more of the same Uncle Tom jig from the once beloved Dr. Huxtable, by asserting that the homicide has more to do with gun ownership than it does race. A notion that’s unpopular with many.

Check it out via CNN:

Now I must admit, I get exactly where Bill is coming from on this one. The way I see it, the larger point he made has to do with conflict resolution; and, the ease with which the gun has been used as a tool to do just that in our society. Cosby’s larger point, is that this is not a problem exclusive to the black community — instead, it’s a societal problem. Yes, use of the gun is as American as baseball and apple pie. Heck, when you think about it, this country was founded in large part due to gun violence. This is the exact reason why I agree with Cosby, but only in part.

Now where I take issue, is with Cosby using Zimmerman’s decision to pull the trigger to make his point. I think in doing so he supports the notion that Zimmerman somehow felt super-human or above-the-law by virtue of being in possession of a gun when he encountered Trayvon. To me, this idea does very little to dispell the held belief by some that Zimmerman willfully shot Trayvon with the fullness of malice and intent, to kill Trayvon because he was black. I don’t believe this is exactly what happened. I mean, who exactly dials 911 before planning to do bodily harm and maybe even death to another individual?  OK, so Joe Horn did exactly that in Texas; but even so, he was within his legal right to protect himself, and his home. If he wasn’t, I believe he would’ve been indicted, but he wsn’t.

Personally, I believe Cosby told an inconvenient truth. You may not agree with me, but I believe Trayvon Martin’s death had as much to do with the color of his skin as much as Reginald Denny being hit in the head with a brick during the L.A. riots because he was white. Now don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t mean I support a ban on guns or limiting gun ownership to certain people here in the United States that are of legal adult age. Nope, I’m not; and, I happen to take the right to bear arms as seriously as I do all of our Constitutional rights and protections.

Yep, and last time I checked, Zimmerman was in legal possession of his hand gun at the time of Trayvon’s death. So likening Zimmerman’s possession and subsequent use of his gun that night to the actions of a drug addicted criminal as Cosby did, is a not acceptable in my opinion. Now if Zimmerman’s gun was not registered, or if he didn’t have a concealed weapon permit, then that’s a different story. But then again, this is the same Bill Cosby who once said that black folks were shooting each other in the back of the head over pound cake. Funny, but not exactly accurate, no?

We can argue until the cows come home over whether Zimmerman’s actions were motivated by the race of Trayvon Martin. But at the end of the day, though believed by many, it’s just something that cannot be proven in court given the evidence as we know it. Now when the Feds who did their own independent investigation brings forth charges against Zimmerman for the violation of Trayvon’s civil rights, then I might say that some of you were right, and as usual, that Bill Cosby was wrong.

In America, one of our biggest problems is being able to identify problems without the ability to offer solutions. There has been much talk about guns and gun control since this case has drawn national attention. Hell, an NRA official even recently said that, “George Zimmerman is the NRA,” in defense of assaults on the organization. While all of this political wrangling is going on, what’s funny is that I have yet to hear anyone suggest a ban on neighborhood watch groups, or hoodies for that matter.

Speaking of race, how come there aren’t many black people at NRA events? Of course I realize the NRA is seen as a right-wing lobbyist organization, but does that make then racist by proxy since the GOP is seen as unaccommodating of black folk? What, are thee no minority legal gun owners?