I went looking for the video clip of Tamir Rice running around with a toy gun. I hadn't seen it before the trial verdict.
I have to admit, my first reaction was, "Jeez, that's hard. It really does look like he has a real gun."
Then I saw a tweet from a white friend of mine about how he used to play with guns as a kid, too.
I had forgotten about it, but so did I.
In fact, I had a lot of guns. Hell, my Big Wheel had front mounted machine guns...
Ok, so that wasn't very realistic looking.
I looked up the guns I owned as a kid, and that's the moment it hit home for me.
My favorite gun was the Rambo '45. I never used the holster, because what kid wears belts to keep it on? I ran around Bensonhurst, a mostly all white Italian neighborhood at the time without fear of getting gunned down by a cop.
Moreover, my mom didn't have any fear of that either--and my mom fears *everything*. As an adult, if it rains, she'll call me up to warn me not to take out my bicycle. To think that she let me play with that gun outside, and... look at it. Pretty damn realistic, isn't it? I mean, disturbingly so.
If my mom didn't see an issue with it, you know it was safe.
That's the difference between me and Tamir Rice. It was safe to be a white kid with a gun.
Oh, but I wasn't done yet.
I had this, too...
It was a motorized water gun.
Actually, it kind of sucked as a water gun. It didn't shoot far enough at all, and the clip was too small. This was pre-Super Soaker.
Plus, it didn't shoot sand.
Yeah, I thought it would be AMAZING if it shot sand in a big spray. It didn't, and after that attempt, it didn't shoot water, either.
Still, I ran around with it as a little kid pretending to shoot people, without fear of getting shot myself.
I also had this...
These guns had the round caps that made real gun noises.
Again, no fear of getting shot on my part.
You know who else didn't fear getting shot by the cops?
And that was an actual gun that shot pellets in a *funny* *family* *holiday* movie.
I'm sorry I ever thought for a second that Tamir shouldn't have been playing in a park or shouldn't have had a toy gun, because I was afforded that right...
The right to be a kid.
If you're white and over thirty-five, you should be particularly mortified, because you either had a toy gun, had friends who had toy guns, or if you raised a current thirty-five year old, didn't blink an eye to let your kids run around with toy guns.
And had the cops taken a shot at you or shot your kid, you would have taken to the streets, lawyered up, and raised all hell.
You would have lit the world on fire if it was your kid.