Can someone please explain something to me because I’m not quite sure I that I understand? The city of Cleveland is blaming the death of Tamir Rice on the 12-year old “by the failure ... to exercise due care to avoid injury.” As I read those words, my head was literally shaking in disbelief. So, let me get this straight: a 12-year old went to the park to play with a toy gun (a common toy played with by young boys) when someone called the cops on him as a purported threat. The police arrive and without even taking the time to assess the situation (let’s be real here…from the time they arrived to the time when they fatally shot him was NOT ample time to do so), shot and killed him. And instead of the police being questioned by their actions, it is not only accepted that they did nothing wrong, but the fault is placed on the victim?! Let’s say for a minute that I bought into this BS. Ok, the young man had a gun without the safety tip on it and was possibly waving it around. And perhaps he made a move toward the toy gun when the officers approached. I still don’t see how the officers had enough time to fully evaluate what was going on, much less to see the tip missing. In addition, the officer who fatally shot Tamir has described this child as being a “menacing 12-year old in an adult body.” Are you kidding me?! A grown man describes a 12-year boy this way? If this officer truly felt “menaced” by a 12-year old, I think he should probably find another job because he obviously isn’t mentally or physically suited to handle police work (unless he’s behind a desk).
Essentially, based on all of this, we are expected to believe that a 12-year old should’ve been knowledgeable enough to understand his actions and expect such treatment from law enforcement. Let’s say I buy into this logic too; after all, a 12-old is a reasonable age to expect discernment of right from wrong. Tamir Rice was not doing anything illegal. He wasn’t doing drugs or drinking. He was simply playing at the park, just as many other young kids do. However, according to the city of Cleveland, he should’ve known that playing with a toy gun in such a manner would inevitably lead to his demise. Ok, ok. Does anyone remember a young man from Texas named Ethan Couch? He was a 16-year old who made the choice to drink and drive. He wound up killing four people and was only sentenced to rehab and probation, no jail time at all. His defense was that he was a product of “affluenza,” wherein he wasn’t properly taught right from wrong and this somehow excuses his reckless regard for human life? He was a young, dumb kid that didn’t know any better, but Tamir Rice was a “menacing” 12-year old who should’ve known better by “exercising care to avoid injury?” Or, as some people have pointed out, his parents should’ve taught him proper use of a toy gun. Tamir Rice didn’t kill anyone. He didn’t even harm anyone. In fact, HE is the one who wound up dead; but it’s ok for another OLDER teen to commit quadruple vehicular manslaughter and not only receive no punishment, but also no blame because he didn’t know right from wrong?! I seriously don’t understand this. Ethan Couch was older, broke several laws, killed four people and is still alive today, but Tamir Rice didn’t kill or hurt anyone, broke no laws and was not only killed but also BLAMED for his death? How does that work exactly, because I’m at a loss to comprehend this. There is an obvious disparity in our justice system and whether its race or class, something needs to be done. We need to make our voices heard that this is NOT okay. My heart is sad and I mourn the loss of this young man. It wasn’t your fault, Tamir. It wasn’t your fault.