Monday, October 12, 2015

What Really Killed Tamir Rice?

     You may have heard about the Tamir Rice shooting death at the hands of Cleveland Police, namely officer Timothy Lohman. The media's and Black Lives Matter narrative is that the innocent 12 year old Tamir Rice was playing with his pellet gun in the park when officer Lohman gunned him down in cold blood, presumably because he hates black people like all cops do. The truth about how Tamir Rice met his most unfortunate death is as far from this narrative as the moon is from the earth.
But as has been the case with all recent police shootings of blacks, political reality trumps actual reality.
     The 5 foot 7 inch, 195 pound Tamir Rice did not have a pellet gun that day he was shot at Cadell Recreation Center, but an Airsoft pistol, sans the orange tip on the barrel, which Tamir had removed to make it look more like a Colt45. A man who worked at the center was so scared of the threatening way in which Tamir was pointing his weapon at pedestrians and cars, that he waited until Tamir's back was turned before he called police. The Cleveland police are well familiar with gun play and crime in the neighborhood of the Cadell Recreation Center, having been called there for both on a regular basis.
     When Officer Lohman and his partner arrived on the scene and told Tamir to put his hands up, Tamir reached into his waist band and pulled out the pistol. At which point the officer shot him, feeling that his life, the life of his partner, and the lives of innocent victims may be in jeopardy. Of course the media and the standard array of advocacy groups tried to make Tamir out to be the innocent victim of racist police, using his age but not his size. They showed a picture of him as a bright-eyed six year old, instead of the surly out-of-control gangster wannabe that he had grown into in the ensuing six years between the photo and his untimely death.
        The Cuyahoga County Sheriffs Department and the Ohio State Patrol both investigated the incident and cleared Officer Lohman of any wrong doing. At which point the anti-police county prosecutor, Tim McGinty, commissioned two independent, outside investigations of the incident. The results of those two investigations have found that Officer Lohman was justified in shooting Tamir Rice, fearing for his safety as well as the safety of others when Tamir drew his weapon on them. Of course, Prosecutor McGinty being a completely political being, is not convinced by the findings of the four investigations into the matter and is continuing to suggest bringing the case to a grand jury.
     The death of Tamir Rice was unfortunate. It was unfortunate that the 12 year old had the pistol to begin with. It is unfortunate that he removed the orange tip to make it look more like a real gun. It is unfortunate that he was threatening innocent people with that gun in the park that day. And it is unfortunate that when instructed by police to raise his hands, Tamir instead chose to raise his gun. But his death can not be attributed to bad policing, but to bad parenting. Just like Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Freddie Gray, Eric Garner, etc. Unfortunately in our nation today police have been made the scape goats for uninvolved and non-committed parents.


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