I can imagine this is how Tamir Rice felt on the day he died. I sure he felt as if nothing bad would happen. He would just go to the park, play, and then come home. That day on November 22nd when he got up on a Saturday morning excited about playing at the park, I can imagine him hopping out of bed, barely rinsing out his mouth with water before putting on his clothes. Rummaging through his closet, grabbing at whenever was warm, clean, and comfortable. I can see him racing to the kitchen. Opening the refrigerator, and pulling out the milk before grabbing a bowl. He might have poured the cereal of his choice into that bowl, spilling the milk on the kitchen table as he gobbled up his breakfast before running past his mother, snatching his coat from the closet next to the front down. Rushing to get out into the sun light barely creeping its way from behind clouds finally parting after a night of snow.
“Get back before the street lights come on.” I can imagine her saying that as she walked tired into her bed room to start her shower.
“Aight.” I’m sure he said, or meant to say as he dashed down the road that led to the park.
He might have been excited about his new toy. He might have felt over joyed at the thought of running around with a gun that looked almost as real as the ones he’s seen in movies. As he walked down the road tattered from wear and tear, patchy with cracks and pools of ice, he might have pulled out the orange tab from the tip of the toy gun and threw that fake looking thing on the ground as he went.
Nothing in him would have warmed him that later on that same morning he would be shot by the police officers charged with protecting him and his mother from the bad guys. He was just a kid at play.
Some of his time playing can be seen on the video provided below. He walked around the park, pulling out his gun and shooting his imaginary bullets at any and everything. He looks small. He looks like a child at play defending the world from the bad guys. Keeping us all safe from evil. Or maybe he was the glorified gangster that he’s seen on television or in movies. Either way, he was just shooting his invisible bullets at nothing. Just running around on a cold day in the remnants of snow still on the ground or atop trees and park benches.
But someone saw him with that toy, and without the orange tag that was now sitting somewhere in the snow, it might have looked real. Worried about their safety, the safety of other children at the park, and even the young man with the gun, they called 911 and reported that a child was carrying a gun in the park. But they also said that it might have been a toy. Just a piece of plastic that could harm no one.
When the cops showed up he was in a gazebo shooting at translucent foes that occupied the space between reality and his imagination. They hop out of the car, hide and then shoot. They might have told him to put his hands up. They have identified themselves as cops. But he was 12 years old and none of that made sense to him. None of that was as important as pulling out his toy and showing them that it was just a toy. He might have pulled out the piece of plastic to show the two police officers who were supposedly trained to identify a real gun that he was just playing with a toy.
You might get on your high horse as say that he shouldn’t have been playing with a toy gun in the first place, but he was a young boy, and that is what boys have done since toy guns were invented. You might be saying that he should have just dropped it and put his hands up, but he was a kid. They aren’t supposed to know how to deal with situations like this. We don’t train them for this. We train the cops for this. And they