Kobe Bryant’s death at such a young age and in the company of his daughter and friends is tragic. As I said in a previous article, any death is cause for grief as it is very human to grieve. However, the renewed attention Bryant’s life is attracting also reveals some things that should give us a bit of pause as they run counter to some of the values that so-called “woke” (socially-aware) people hold dear.
One of these is the fact that Bryant, according to a Wall Street Journal report, “used a helicopter like a car”, perhaps, because he could afford to, to get around Los Angeles’s infamous traffic gridlock. I don’t think climate activism postergirl Greta Thunberg would be too thrilled with that bit of information.
Moreover the ill-fated flight that resulted in his death was one reportedly given “special clearance” by the Burbank air control tower despite dangerous conditions that prompted even the Los Angeles County sheriff’s department and the Los Angeles Police Department to ground their choppers. What’s the woke phrase directed at people who get special treatment? Ah yes… Check your privilege.
The third thing the “woke” lot should check is the small matter of Bryant’s rape case involving a 19-year-old woman which, by some accounts, he may have managed to get a pass on thanks to the awesome legal resources thrown at the case that one would expect a man of vast wealth would employ. Indeed, by one account…
Kobe initially told the police nothing happened. Then when the police told him they had blood and semen evidence, he said, well ok, something did happen, but it was consensual.
The woman had a bruise on her neck. She had genital injuries and vaginal tears consistent with trauma. Her underwear and a t-shirt of Kobe’s were stained with her blood.
The person who published the above account had this chilling bit of opinion to express: “The full weight of Kobe Bryant’s money, power and influence came down on this teenager.” Hashtag-MeToo comes to mind, right?
So you see, to be consistent in the public expression of one’s values and principles necessitates caution when, in instances like these, making emotional statements about a celebrity one idolises. Kobe Bryant’s death was made even more tragic by the other people who perished with him in that helicopter crash. But, beyond grief, we must be circumspect and ensure that we recognise the full breadth and depth of what frames whatever else beyond this grief we plan to share.
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