The devil made me do it, always a cop out

Comedian Flip Wilson

A favorite catch phrase of comedian Flip Wilson was “the devil made me do it.’ 

Clerow ‘Flip’ Wilson was a popular black American comedian and actor in the late 1960’s and 1970’s. His flippant sense of humor earned him his nickname while he served in the United States Air Force. At one point his Flip Wilson Show was the second rated network show on television. 

Wilson also said: “A show hosted by a black had never been accepted, so the first time that knob’s been turned on, people are judging against all they have ever been taught. I may have been the first black in the house.”

His brand of G-rated humor transcended race. Everyone could relate to his characters and everyone watched him because of that.

Based on his success in an era when only the best made the few available television networks, Wilson did much, in his own way, to break down stereotypes and racial prejudice in this country. 

Often when his characters got backed into a corner they would respond “the devil made me do it.” But the joke was that viewers knew it was only a cop out.

Fast forward to today, and it seems many people are using a similar philosophy to excuse their out of control behavior. Lack of training, prior encounters, lack of compliance, and fast, poor decision making are what some terrible law enforcement officers use to excuse excessive use of force and and even lethal force. 

The devil made me do it.

Then the rioting, looting, and worse begin, using the excuse that the devil in uniform makes me do it. 

The devil made me do it.

There is no crutch or excuse for breaking the law. All those responsible for these crimes need to be prosecuted. We are a country of laws and we all must be held accountable to them. Otherwise, there can be no equality under the law, only chaos.

When seriously commenting on social issues Flip Wilson also said many times:

“Violence is a tool of the ignorant.”

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