Is Bill Cosby Innocent Until Proven Guilty? That question is at the heart of a virtual conversation I had over the weekend with a gentlemen on Facebook.
In a Facebook status update posted Saturday morning after I had already “unfriended” the gentleman for reasons I will explain later in this piece, I shared the words below:
Debate is a lost art to many. A short while ago, I challenged a Facebook “friend” who had used a few dozen words in a status update to try — as in “hold a virtual trial” — and convict Bill Cosby. When I mentioned the fact that his finding of guilt — before any grand jury was convened and/or any criminal trial took place — reminded me of what Ferguson protesters seemed to want, he demanded an apology and threatened to block me. I saved him the trouble and clicked “UNFRIEND.”
What prompted me to share the words in blue above? The fact that this now-former Facebook friend — whom I’ll refer to as “Bubba” throughout the remainder of this piece — posted something on his Facebook page that made him appear eager and willing to serve as judge, jury and executioner for Cosby, the 77-year-old comedian and actor facing a flood of sexual assault allegations. After I commented on his status update, things went sour.
A short time after unfriending Bubba and posting the words in blue above on my Facebook page, Bubba caught wind of them and responded with his own comments. He could still do that, because my Facebook page is public and my settings allow it.
With only minor formatting changes and the removal of both the time element and “Like” button info, I share the virtual conversation (“Part One”) below, beginning at the point when I took notice of Bubba’s status update:
Bob McCarty Writes: Bubba – I must have missed the trial. When did it take place?
Bubba: 20+ women….and successful women that are not after his money have described in detail what he did. Bob, you have a lot more confidence in our system than I do. He CAN pay off a judge. Wake up, man! I wouldn’t let my kids watch him growing up. He has always been controversial. You believe what you want, but I am going to believe the drugged women that swears he raped them!
Bob McCarty Writes: Wake up? Bubba, I’ve waded through many records of trials involving sexual assault charges. Heck, I even wrote a book about one of the cases. Am I confident that the legal system would produce a fair result? Hardly. At the same time, I shudder to think anyone would believe the outcome in today’s “court of public opinion” that finds a man guilty based solely on the words of individuals whose motives may or may not be pure.
Bubba: I also said a judge can be placed and bought! I just want the truth known. Bob, I have written a lot, too, but that don’t make me the expert. You have your opinion and I have mine. That’s what I love about the 1st Amendment.
Bubba: Oh, and I do want a trial in a changed venue!
Bob McCarty Writes: So, you want a trial without a grand jury decision first? If so, you would fit in well with the Ferguson protesters. But I doubt that’s the case. Hope it is anyway.
Bubba: I never said I didn’t want a jury…that’s precisely what I want, with a fair and impartial judge.
Bubba: Bob, if you compare me to that Ferguson gang again, I will “block” you from be so ignorant on my page!!!! That one deserves an apology.
Bob McCarty Writes: I’ll save you that step. [Translation: I “unfriended” him on Facebook.]
Again, Bubba could still comment on the words in blue near the top of this piece, and he did.
In addition to rehashing the words in Part One above, he added more — and so did I. The conversation I’ll refer to as “Part Two” appears below:
Bubba: Bob, I appreciate that. You are a typical, book writing, know it all. I have not read any of your books, but I do hope for the sake of the ones that do, you don’t write with the same arrogance that you wrote here with.
Bubba: I am that so called “Ferguson sympathiser” Bob mentions. I think every one of them that disobeys an officer of the law should be jailed on the spot, tried, and let the judge or their peers decide their fate. Bob “skews” things. I wonder if he does that in his books??? Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis, Bubba
Bob McCarty Writes: Gonna have to block you now, Bubba. You’ve gone lib on me with name-calling and personal attacks. Suggest you take a debate class. Adios.
Bubba: Oh, that is the complete conversation i posted for ole Bob above. I am an open book…got nothing to hide. Please read the conversation and you decide. Feel free to look at my page. If you like it, send me a friend request. Bubba
I added one more thing (see below) before deleting his comments so that I could post this long-winded piece:
Bob McCarty Writes: The one thing Bubba forgot to include in his comments was his initial post that got things started.
After that, I kicked myself for failing to take a screenshot of the original Facebook status update in which Bubba skewered Cosby.
While I can tell you that it included a photo — from a linked news item, I think, but I’m not sure. The photo showed a protest sign that labeled Cosby a “pervert,” but I can’t tell you much more about it apart from the message it conveyed to me before any legal process had taken place: “Cosby is guilty!!!”
In short, Bubba’s status update reminded me of what Al Sharpton and so many others demanded on the fire- and smoke-filled streets of Ferguson, Mo., before any grand jury decision was announced. They wanted someone to pay a heavy price before guilt had been determined.
Don’t get me wrong. This piece has nothing to do with whether or not Cosby committed the alleged sexual assaults for which he stands accused by so many women; instead, it has everything to do with civil discourse and fair administration of justice. Instead, it begs the question, Do we really want to do away with the grand jury system and subject ourselves to a justice system more akin to mob rule than truth? Some Americans believe we are near a dangerous tipping point. Do you?
NOTE TO BUBBA: Yes, I do skew things in my books. In my nonfiction books, Three Days In August and The Clapper Memo, I skew toward the truth instead of relying on gossip, hearsay and conjecture. In my fiction novel, The National Bet, I skew toward realism and drama. You should read them to broaden your horizons a bit.
UPDATE 1/7/2015 at 4:39 p.m. Central: I never expected the controversy over the sexual assault allegations against Bill Cosby to spill over into the subject matter of my second nonfiction book, The Clapper Memo, but it did today in London. [Note to Cosby: Do not, under any circumstances, accept such an offer.]
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