Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Where Has My Country Gone?

I wonder sometimes if it even existed. Is our ideal of what America is supposed to be some sort of hoax? Growing up, did I only see what I wanted, what white America wanted me to see? History can be toned-down or blatantly altered for someone's agenda. Cops are killing children and getting away with it. That doesn't jibe with what this country is supposed to be about. The decision in Ferguson was infuriating and still so hard to accept. The events in Cleveland are shaping up to be just as asinine. How do two grown-ass men kill a twelve year old child, a baby, and still sleep at night? How do thousands of Americans get online and demonize that same child, call him a "thug" or an "animal," and blame him for his own death? He was a child at a park playing with a toy gun. Let me stress that one more time because I don't think some people are getting it. HE WAS A CHILD!!!

Naturally there are people criticizing the fact that he had the toy and that it was altered to look more real. For as long as I've lived, kids have played with toy guns. And when they play with those toys, what is the most likely game? Cops and robbers, if I recall from my childhood. We all wanted to be Adam-12 or CHiPS. Never did we want to be the robbers. Kids are raised to believe that the police are the good guys, the ones to protect us. So it's only natural that kids will want to emulate their heroes, to be the one to beat the bad guys. Tamir was growing up with heroes like this, honorable men and great role models:


We try to teach children these days that they can be whatever they want as long as they work hard and get an education. We show boys like Tamir that it is possible for black men to achieve positions of authority and earn respect. Then when they do what kids do and emulate those same heroes they pay for it with their lives. He was probably at that park with his toy gun in hopes of finding another kid willing to play with him. He wasn't threatening anyone. He wasn't putting anyone's life in danger. He had no clue to expect adults to see him as a true threat. He was a child out to play for the day. Why else go to a park?

The part about this whole situation that is the most disturbing is the lack compassion from the cops after they shot him. They knew the gun was fake (or at least no longer being wielded by a "suspect"). They could tell by then it was not an adult. They were no longer in immediate danger since the 911 call only said one person possibly with a gun that was "probably fake." Instead of rendering some sort of medical aid, they hid behind their squad car and waited almost four minutes for a nearby FBI agent to respond and begin helping the boy. Let me put it to you this way.

Put yourself in Tamir's place. You've just been shot twice in the stomach, an unbearable pain like you've never felt in your life or could imagine possible. You're lying on the ground, probably crying and probably begging someone to help you. He might've called out to the cops. He might've even cried for his mother. He was only a CHILD after all. Imagine the absolute terror it must've been to hope for help and have to bleed out because the only people nearby can't be bothered to try to stop the bleeding or at least offer some kind of comfort. His last few moments of consciousness would've been of pain, fear, and confusion. That situation is unfathomable. More so for a child. My heart breaks for that poor child. I can't begin to understand exactly how horrible his last moments must've been. I wouldn't wish that on a grown man much less a child. No matter who was at fault or who gets or doesn't get blamed, no child should be forced to endure something so heinous, so very cruel. Rest in Peace, Tamir. You were a precious child who died entirely too soon because people fear and hate what they do not understand. And they respond to such hatred and fear with violence.

If imagining for yourself how terrible his last moments were does not elicit an emotional response, try imagining a cop doing that to your child. Imagine your little baby bleeding, hurting, and alone. Maybe that will help others to see Tamir Rice as the child he was and not some suspect to be dealt with using maximum force. Maybe more people can admit that these cops screwed up and should pay the consequences of taking an innocent life.