As you’re reading this, you probably already know that 12 year-old Tamir Rice was shot and killed by officer Tim Loehmann, a rookie on the Cleveland police force. No criminal charges were filed against Loehmann leaving Cleveland and most of America frustrated, angry and sadden on this day.
I’m going to get straight to the point on this, guys. Guns and little boys go together like girls and Barbie dolls. They go together like old white dudes and capitalism. There are so many gun-related incidents in America, it’s pretty much expected at any given moment something will trend on social media like “Roosevelt High School” and as soon as you click the link it’s automatically a school shooting or someone has been shot. With that said, this does not surprise me in the least.
In Rice’s case, reports were of a black kid walking around some playground with a gun, pointing it at people. In the video it shows a police cruiser drive right up on Rice, the officer gets out and shoots Rice fatally killing him. Turns out the gun was fake. And according to everyone on Twitter, he was just “playing”. Well, guns (real or fake) are not toys. Toy guns usually come with an orange tip on the barrel of the gun to indicate that the firearm is fake. The gun that Rice had did not have any orange tip therefore in the police officer’s eyes (Loehmann) he can only assume that the gun is real. Do I think Loehmann could’ve handled things differently? Absolutely. On the other hand, maybe Rice could’ve left his “toy gun” at home.
I just don’t think it’s safe for kids to be walking around outside with toy guns anymore. I also think America has a sick obsession for guns and gun violence. Everyone seems to want a gun just to have one. My co-workers are always telling me the type of guns they want to buy and when I ask them why they want one the answer is always “I don’t know. Just to have it”. Don’t get me wrong about guns. I own two; one for hunting and one for home defense. I think if the country is going to have anywhere from 245 to 360 million guns around, I’m certainly not going to be left out.
The problem I see is too many Americans talk a big game when it comes to firearms. I’ve heard time and time again about how if someone broke into their home, they’d kill them with one shot like in the movies. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that. Keeping a loaded gun in your dresser drawer all year and occasionally handling it to look cool in front of your friends won’t make you an expert marksman. At 2am when you’re dead asleep and someone comes through your window, and you’re groggy from sleep, it’s dark and you are unsure of what’s downstairs, your heart is racing and you’re shaking from adrenaline and fear…you honestly think you’ll go downstairs like a cowboy and blast the bad guy away? Without any proper training or significant time at the gun range, I seriously doubt it.
Guns are everywhere in America. Movies, video games, laying around on the book shelf, in glove compartments of cars, under floor mats and in the closet accessible by anyone. It should come as no surprise that Tamir Rice was walking around outside with what appeared to be a real gun and was shot by police. It really shouldn’t come as a shocker. This country is founded on a constitution that says we should all have a gun in our homes. We have that right. With that right comes a lot of responsibility. Guns are not a novelty item. They aren’t toys. They require proper training, knowledge and intelligence to use in a safe manner to avoid shooting yourself or someone else. This idea that guns are “cool” and I just want one because I can has got to change.
Concealed Weapons Permits should be given out to be people who can demonstrate the need for a firearm while outside of their home and can also demonstrate responsibility while having that firearm. Many people on social media have already put that argument out there that Ohio is an “open carry” state and Tamir Rice should’ve been left alone. The police have a responsibility to respond to any call regarding a firearm. Ohio may be an open carry state but open carry doesn’t allow anyone to walk around town pointing guns at people.
We’ve created this gun-crazed society in which we live in, people. And sadly, we as a country, are unwilling to change it. How many more school shootings do we have to hear about before change happens? How many kids are going to be gunned down by cops for carrying around a toy gun because the parents are either too lazy or too inept to understand the severity of pointing toy guns at people? Where’s the “guns are not a toy” talks these days? When are we going to break this obsession we have as a nation over guns? Probably never. So as long as America continues to obsess and want guns, sadly, the more deaths we must accept.