Monday, October 12, 2015
A FEW THOUGHTS ABOUT THE TAMIR RICE POLICE SHOOTING
I consider myself a fair person, that is, I like to look at something thoroughly before making up my mind and try to use the Buddhist mindset of eliminating preconceptions. Too many times I've been burned on the Internet wherein a story comes out and seems terrible and unfair on the face of it but then more information comes out later and what happened is much more complicated.
Case in point is the Tamir Rice police shooting. Now out of control police are definitely a problem in America. I think it's as much a class problem as a race problem - Those without financial influence treated with less respect by law enforcement that behave more like an occupying military than public servants. About this subject, I wrote this before http://rgdinmalaysia.blogspot.my/2015/01/the-overpolicing-of-america.html
However, after reading the report issued by a retired FBI agent as well as other available info, I think this was a tragic accident but I don't see this as a crime like other far worse truly egregious examples of police violence such as the cases of John Crawford III and Kendric McDade.
Three reasons based on the information I've read
1.) I have posted a photo below of the "airsoft" (toy) gun in question Rice was waving around shortly before he was shot. I am no expert on guns but that looks pretty real to me! In addition, this gun is sold with an orange tip so police can recognize it as a fake gun. At some point, which has been confirmed by witnesses, Rice removed the orange tip prior to the encounter with the police.
2) Initial stories made it sound like Rice was minding his own business in a park when shot. In fact, Rice was pointing the airsoft gun at people entering and exiting a nearby recreation center and pretending to pull the trigger . It was this threatening behavior that caused someone to call the police initially and the police made the decision to drive up on the grass rather than approach him on foot as they were concerned he could start shooting at any moment.
3.) It is of course terrible that Rice was 12 years old. Just reading that conjures up a picture of a 12 year old boy in your mind. But it is worth noting Rice was five foot seven and he weighed 195 pounds (by comparison I am about six foot one and I currently weigh 190 pounds). In addition, he was dressed in the way gangbangers often are dressed in an area where there is a lot of crime.
So 12 year old boy who looks older and is dressed like a gangster is pointing and shooting a very real looking firearm in an area where there are a lot of people ?
I don't see this as a violation of someone's civil rights although I do think the question of giving him no time to surrender and shooting him immediately should be investigated by an outside body NOT the police themselves (which I think it is) .
Food for thought - Although America doesn't feel the need to enact gun control despite the ever present wave of mass shootings, it can at least look at toy guns that look too real. No second amendment protecting them!