By: Kaelan Doolan ~Staff Writer~
Tamir Rice was killed at the hands of the Cleveland police almost two years ago. The pain in the Black community still remains. For those who don’t know the story, Tamir Rice was a 12-year-old Black boy living in Cleveland. On Nov. 22, 2014, Rice was shot and killed by police, after a caller reported that someone was carrying a gun.
Countrywide outrage, primarily in the black community, sparked over the death of the young boy. However it seems that history has repeated itself. On Sept. 14, 13-year-old Tyree King was killed by police in Columbus. The story is eerily similar to that of Tamir Rice. Both were holding BB guns, and both never even made it to high school.
The reaction to both was almost as horrifying as the killings. A plethora of comments calling the boys thugs ran rampant on social media and news sites, and others said that they deserved their deaths. A common comment is “If they hadn’t broken the law, then they wouldn’t have been killed,” or “respect the police and you won’t get shot.” When was the penalty for disrespect an execution? Footage shows that the officers who killed Tamir Rice never gave him a warning before killing him, and an independent autopsy showed that Tyree King was running as he was killed.
The idea that two young boys deserved to be murdered is something that we as a people cannot stand for. As the investigation continues, more people in the minority community are begging for the killings to stop. As a minority myself, I’m tired of having to defend children in the wake of their deaths. I just want it to stop. I’m tired of fearing the men and women who took an oath to protect and serve. For now, we have to see how the case pans out. I just hope that the death of Tyree King was not in vain.
The demonizing of Black boys in the media is not new. From Trayvon Martin to Michael Brown, the act of putting the blame on the dead seems to be almost commonplace. Obey or die – that is the law of the land if you’re Black. Men are not exempt from this either. Just this past July, two men – Alton Sterling and Philando Castile – were shot and killed for trivial reasons.
Both received the same treatment of being blamed for their own demise. Sterling was shot in the chest for selling CDs outside of a store he had permission to sell. Castile was shot in front of his girlfriend and daughter while reaching for his license. Castile didn’t even have a criminal record – he was just shot for fitting the description of a perpetrator of a completely unrelated crime. What was his similarity to the actual criminal? He had a big nose. That was it.
This conversation seems to be on a constant loop. Black man gets shot, Black man dies and police are absolved. That’s the constant cycle of these killings. As pessimistic as it sounds, that will most likely be the outcome of these cases. It would be a stroke of luck if any of these officers are even indicted, let alone convicted.
To counter the “Black-on-Black crime” argument, which is always brought up in defense of the police, statistically people in the same general area are more likely to kill each other. If killings occur in a Black neighborhood, odds are it’s because those are the only people present.
Police should be held to a higher standard than the common citizen. We should expect them not to kill boys who haven’t even reached the prime of their lives and leave families to grieve over deaths that shouldn’t have happened.
What makes this even more frightening is that every facet of Black protest is always criticized. When we riot we are seen as animals, and when we stay silent we’re seen as disrespectful. We’re expected to just lie and take the abuse we’re given. But now is the time to fight back.