The afterlife especially while you’re still alive

Published 4:38 pm Friday, November 29, 2019

Two newsmakers had an interesting week that just passed: soon-to-be-retired Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher and disgraced comedian Bill Cosby.

I was one of the last hold-outs of the Bill Cosby saga. In the early days I thought Poor Bill….women are coming out of the woodwork because all they’re looking for is a payday. Such a nice old man who has done so much to uplift the community.

While I had every excuse in the book for him, Cosby didn’t make any excuses for himself. Ol’ sweater-wearing ‘America’s Dad’ had always been clear that he didn’t have any apologies to make because in his mind he did nothing wrong.

He said as much in a jailhouse interview this week – his first since his incarceration – admitting the now-82-year-old may die in prison because he intends to serve out his full three-to-10-year sentence. Cosby predicates that on refusing to be apologetic for his actions in light of being convicted by a jury of his peers.

I think his bad boy reputation is what kept so many people in his corner. I personally believed that it was plausible that he had sex with some, but not all, of those women, but rape? If you know anything about the rich and famous, or for that matter, the famous who’re famous for just being famous, there is never a shortage of willing, available participants.

Somehow, it made sense that he might have been a serial philanderer, but a rapist? Nah.

We do this all the time. Someone steps up and says he, she, they, heck – everybody – knew about it. Well, guess what? If everybody knew, why didn’t someone somebody step up and speak out?

As for Eddie Gallagher, most likely he did what he was accused of and it was covered up. This came despite another Marine coming forward and testifying under oath to accept responsibility.

Gallagher was acquitted of murdering a teenage ISIS fighter being captured and held by American troops in Iraq, as well as firing at Iraqi civilians, during a 2017 deployment. He was acquitted of murder, but found guilty of taking a photo with the corpse of the dead ISIS fighter and demoted, but President Trump restored Gallagher his Chief rank this week and allowed him to keep his Trident SEAL combat service pin.

Too often, organizations that have a fraternal culture have a habit of covering for their bad apples especially if they are well regarded or popular. You see it in lodges, Greek fraternities, the police, and most certainly the military. The only times you see a person actually getting punished is when the offense is clear and they literally get caught in the act. Otherwise, complaints and accounts too often get brushed aside.

One thing here is indisputable: Gallagher took a trophy pic with a corpse and it was disturbing enough to warrant punishment from his commanding officers closer to the issue than the President is. They felt Trump’s overriding their decision undermined their authority. It seems to be saying that aberrant behavior on the battlefield will be tolerated at the highest levels and it shows the president micromanaging an issue his experienced military officers should be dealing with.

The Secretary of the Navy lost his job trying to make a deal with the White House without going through the Secretary of Defense first. The Secretary was trying to save face for the Code of Military Justice, and when he got caught out there, he was left no choice but to resign or be fired.

Without standing on some ‘morality soapbox’, we have to stop looking away to protect legacy, whether it’s because of the acts of an individual, or something done for the greater good of the community. We have to take the blinders off. I’ve said it so many times before: we have to do better.

Gene Motley is a Staff Writer at Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact him at gene.motley@r-cnews.com or 252-332-7211.