I, was one of thousands of white skinned boys inhabiting the streets of New York City who spent our childhood playing with toy guns. We pretended to be sheriffs in Dodge City going after the bad guys or cops challenging criminals. Actually, we made our own guns out of wood. At the end of our toy wooden pistol we placed a nail and another nail by the trigger. A rubber band connected the two nails and into it we placed a piece of cardboard to fire at the other person. Police walked by these scenes of “violence” and never once halted our play activities. We were just a bunch of white boys playing and pretending to be familiar with guns. These scenes were examples of “normal behavior” on the part of white boys. Not a black skin in sight, just white kids playing.
Tamir Rice was a black skinned 12 year old boy who went to the park to play with his toy gun. First mistake, having a black skin. Second mistake, playing in the park. Third mistake, playing near some swings. Given these three mistakes, what else could happen to Tamir than death? A called contacted 911 and said: “there is a boy playing by the swings. He is waving a gun, I don’t know if it is real or not.” Police arrived, and Tamir wound up dead. There will be an investigation, there will be stories, there will be demonstrations, but Tamir is dead. Period.
Are there peaceful ways to approach a 12 year old boy and avoid death?