There are several perspectives from which the Bill Cosby rape allegations situation can be viewed from. One of those perspectives is what I call the 50,000′ view. This perspective is exercised by those who have absolutely no vested interest in the case and who don’t have an opinion regarding the allegations because they realize they simply do not have the facts. Another perspective is that of those who admire Bill Cosby and will be by his side no matter what. Yet another perspective is that of those who believe the accusers are doing the right thing by finally coming forward. In other words, completely neutral or the choosing of one side or the other. The latter two perspectives each offer a veritable plethora of opportunities for those seeking to find a highly-publicized event for which to accentuate/justify their own cause. Depending on your particular agenda, you likely have adopted one of these perspectives. I use the word “agenda” very specifically because every single person discussing this situation has a reason they are discussing it, myself included.
It’s all about opportunity in one form or another, and this situation affords itself a cornucopia of opportunity. While this case should only be about truth, it has become much more to to so many. For that subset of people looking for justification to solidify their predetermined ideas and the opportunity to further their personal causes, this case is about race, sex, feminism, money & power.
For anyone to go through what the women who have come forward are saying they experienced is morally, ethically and legally wrong. Justice should be and needs to be handed down, there is no doubt about that. But, before you jump the gun and make an assumption of what I mean, read on. If Bill Cosby did as he is accused, justice needs to be served by him. If the accusers are making false allegations, then justice needs to be served by each and every one of them. There is an abundance of wrong doing in this case and each side has something to lose and/or gain. The stakes are high & therefore the extent to which each side will go to win cannot be ignored. But to keep things in the proper perspective, we must realize that winning the legal case doesn’t always equate to what really happened. That, in and of itself, is demonstrative of our need to look deeper (assuming our agenda is truth and not opportunity).
From a structural standpoint, the legal case involves the defendant and his legal team & the prosecution & their legal team. The defense has 1 job and that is to defend their client & get a not guilty verdict. Everything they do is done with that end-goal in mind. This means, in part, looking for loopholes, looking for a lack of credible evidence, looking to discredit accusers & prosecution witnesses, etc. Loopholes have always been an interesting concept to me. For example, if a policeman enters your home without a warrant, searches your home and finds illegal drugs, the drugs aren’t admissible in court because the officer didn’t have a search warrant. Therefore, no charge. And yet, the fact is drugs were in the home.
The prosecution also has 1 job and that is to win the apposing guilty verdict. They too look for, in part, loopholes and ways to discredit all defense witnesses. Establishing the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt is up to the prosecution and must be done within the rules of law. As previously established, law enforcement can’t afford to make any mistakes or they risk critical evidence being dismissed and potentially a not guilty verdict (even though guilt may be factual).
As is often the case, the only people who know what actually happened are those who are directly involved. In this case, it is only Bill Cosby and each of the accusers who know. Every other person on the planet can believe they know & worse, can & do tell others as if they know. Regardless, the fact is we don’t know. We believe what we believe and we think what we think. It’s our own moral make-up that comes through when it comes to our chosen narrative.
The correct and appropriate narratives at this point should go like this:
- It’s not “he’s guilty”, it’s “if he’s guilty”
- It’s not “I know he did it”, it’s “I think he did it”
- It’s not “she’s lying”, it’s “I think she’s lying”
- It’s not “they’re all taking advantage”, it’s “I think they’re all taking advantage”.
- It’s amazing how different it is when we add that one word “think”.
In full disclosure, I grew up a huge fan Bill Cosby. I watched every one of his shows and had almost every one of his albums. The highlight of my summers during school was staying up until 2am to listen to “Comedy Spot” on the radio just so I could hear Bill on the radio. However, I realize that these allegations could be true, and I realize they could be false. I don’t think I will ever know for 100% certain as our justice system doesn’t guarantee that. However, I enjoyed growing up with Bill Cosby and any outcome in this case won’t change the enjoyment I experienced at those times. Will I continue to watch him on TV & buy his albums? I suspect that decision (justifiably or not) has already been made for me.
As for my agenda in all of this, I simply want to encourage people to think.
–John J. Simpson