Monday, April 16, 2012

Should we leave guns outside the home to the police?

It's for very good reasons that Bill Cosby is a treasured American icon. His contribution to my generation alone, via Fat Albert and The Electric Company, is palpable, and his stand-up comedy has always been refreshingly obscenity-free. Cosby received heat from some quarters for The Cosby Show in that it was uplifting the ideals of Reagan—but those of us who have at least half a working brain in our heads know that those are ideals worthy of uplifting and those quarters should be ignored if not mocked. Cosby, in that sitcom and in his own life, showed how blacks are just as capable as any other racial or ethnic group of engineering an upper middle-class or wealthy lifestyle through dedicated study and hard work (as opposed to specious talents).
Cosby has weighed in on the Trayvin Martin-George Zimmerman scenario. The actor-comedian said the issue relates to guns, especially with respect to taking them out in public instead of keeping them in the home. While Cosby supports an individual's right to keep guns in his or her home, he has said that when the same individual carries a gun outside the home, "sometimes their mind clicks that this thing ... will win arguments and straighten people out."
We can argue the merits of carry-and-conceal statutes, and it's little wonder that those who attack police officers often receive a Darwin award for their idiotic efforts. However, I also agree with Cosby that possession of a gun can preternaturally embolden many individuals. Money and power can go to people's heads; so, we must admit, can guns.
Cosby's son Ellis was shot during an attempted robbery in 1997, so we can certainly understand Cosby's attitude toward having guns in public.
With respect to what happened in Sanford, Florida on the night Martin was shot, Cosby questions Zimmerman's logic. He said, "When you tell me that you're going to protect the neighborhood that I live in, I don't want you to have a gun. I want you to be able to see something, report it and get out of the way."
If Zimmerman had done that, and taken the advice of the 911 dispatcher to leave the matter to the police, then Martin, angel or not, would still be alive and Zimmerman would not be facing second-degree murder charges. Charges the prosecutor was forced to make, in my humble opinion, but for the purposes of this piece, that's neither here nor there.
We do not know if Martin was aware that Zimmerman had a gun. We do not yet know why Zimmerman felt the need to pursue Martin. The fact that Martin beat Zimmerman up (as well as his previous use of social media) proves he is not the choir-boy the media insists on portraying him as. It's apparent that Zimmerman shot Martin for the very reason you would have a gun in the first place—self-defense.
Could it be that Cosby is right, though? Did Zimmerman ignore the dispatcher's advice because he felt invincible with a gun at his side?
Hopefully all the facts will surface during Zimmerman's trial. But if Cosby's overall point is that some people, regardless of race, can be prone to being trigger-happy, then that's difficult to argue against.
Like Cosby, I fully support the Second Amendment. Without it, the rest of the rights enshrined in the Constitution are pretty much mooted. And I like having an armed police force. But that doesn't mean I want everything the National Rifle Association wants. Police have guns and, under normal circumstances, any potential need for them should be left to law enforcement. There's got to be a balance when it comes to firearms.
But the issue is such a polarizing cauldron, I wonder if that balance will ever be achieved.


goddessdivine said...

I actually have a concealed-weapons permit and I own a gun. I haven't carried it yet because I'm going to have my dad do some target practice with me first.

There are stupid people in the world, with or without guns. Tragedies like this should not forfeit the right of others to carry. I know plenty of people who carry and are uber responsible. Personally, I feel better knowing they are out there.

The Founders feared removing guns from the citizens' hands.

Nightdragon said...

I understand, and I largely agree with you. But I can also understand where Cosby is coming from.

Beth said...

Having a weapons permit is a good thing. Owning a gun can be a good thing. Knowing how and when to use the gun is an extremely good thing. Doing the job of the police when police were called and en route not a good thing.

Nightdragon said...

I agree, Beth. Thanks for the comment.