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Question: When Is Shooting a 12-Year-Old Child Reasonable?


Question: When Is Shooting a 12-Year-Old Child Reasonable?

Vince Warren

Answer: When the child is Black and the shooter is a police officer.

Welcome to America, where #BlackLivesMatter is a trending hashtag, but police impunity is a lethal reality of Black life.


When I first saw the video footage of the Cleveland Officer shooting 12 year old Tamir Rice, I thought to myself how are they going to get an acquittal out of this one? Within 2 seconds of arriving at the scene, the officer jumps out of his patrol car and guns down the child who is waving around a fake gun. The officer never gave the child a chance to surrender; there was no immediate threat to any other person. The officer was not in danger because he had just arrived at the scene and young Tamir barely had a chance to register the arrival of the police. It seemed to me a clear example of an illegal use of deadly force. But what do I know? I don't know anything about how to manipulate the law so that a killer in blue can go free when his victim is black. A 12 year old child is needlessly dead, and there is a very good chance that the cause of justice will not be served. Mr Warren is correct: prosecutors rarely go out of their way to bring unlawful police actions to account.

To get a sense of how dreadful the killing of Tamir Rice is consider this fact: every day in suburban America middle class suburban kids are running around playing paintball and other games based on fake guns. These kids are often dressed in fatigues and the like. They look the part of the "active shooter" who delights in terrorizing the public. And yet I have NEVER heard of any middle class child gunned down by a police officer who mistook a fake weapon for the real thing. I am well aware that fake guns have orange on the barrel and other such identifiers, but there must be occasions when a good citizen sees kids running around in the woods with guns and calls the police. The police turn up and confirm that everything is kosher. They don't arrive all amped up, ready to shoot and kill. Could the restrained response of the police have anything to do with the fact that the war game participants are middle class and "white"? I just wonder....


Police created the so-called "threat" immediately driving to within feet of Tamir and killing him within seconds! This child was murdered by police violence and pattern of aggression that we see all over America. Police demand instant obedience to their abusive demands (even if unintelligible) and if not instant and submissive they will kill or attack with brutal force regardless the supposed "threat" or the person regardless of sex or age. The training and mindset of police is not "to protect or serve" but to dominate and create mechanisms and confrontations designed to make victims of citizens and themselves the master! Tamir Rice was a victim of police brutality and terrorist violence!

We now see several so-called experts push propaganda lies/distortions to pronounce the killing of a child with a toy gun "justifed", but those "experts" are part of the police world and apologists for any violence/killing they commit!


Ending the War on Drugs would end a major reason for the "stop and frisk" and drug busts that antagonize minorities and makes them see the police as the enemy.

Seeing people as the enemy is interpreted by "the enemy" as being one, causing them to become hyper-alert, ultra-defensive and highly reactionary and violent in simple situations like this one.


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It is hard to understand how any cop would kill a kid. Seems like I was taught about that "protect and serve" concept. The cops are supposed to help kids cross the street and get stuck kittens down from trees. Do we need to think about taking guns away from cops? We have bears in our town, and they do at times get nasty. Good bears are chased away gently. Bad bears, those which are threatening, get hit with a hypo that knocks them out, and then the sleeping bear gets a ride up to the woods. Sometime he wakes up with a headache. Why can't we get some realistic non-lethal weapons? Techniques that would totally "take out" a human, but only for 15 minutes? Cops should have that option. If a kid really scares you, there should be a way the kid could be calmed down, taken home, and managed by his parents. My children all had toy guns, and they played cowboys. There was never a thought they might be shot by some scared cop. So, this citizen finds police brutality unacceptable. The payments made to victims families need to be taken directly from police department budgets. We need to have some new policies and new training in focusing on the protect and serve concept. We also need to have cops that are part of the community they serve.


Tell it like it is Jonny!


"Warshington"...good one Jonny!
I always like reading your comments, they're always full of good information.


I'm sitting here in Santa Rosa, CA, where the community has been through the Andy Lopez case throughly. Anyone who is seriously interested can go to the archive or standing link for the case at (Santa Rosa) PressDemocrat.com.. I'll just say that the officer was not "a (white shave-head) racist." And Andy Lopez was not "playing with his friends in an open field" Let these two inaccuracies be a caution. Andy was carrying an AK-47 lookalike, and when given a lawful order
to "drop the gun," he instead turned it to face the officer. Start there.


Tamir Rice was murdered. This video should have brought this country to a standstill!


Will Bud be wiser after such a correction? My humble guess: NO!


I'm Canadian and watched the news reports' video of Tamir's murderers with horror. Being a father, I can only imagine Tamir's family drama. What a loss! And what a causal stupidity! And what a sick country the US is showing it is to the whole world! Exceptional? On that point, indeed...


Get rid of racism and you might have no more ghettoes, but a sense of justice and equality for all. As for your love of guns, it's showing its power of hatred every day someone is using them to kill someone and, lately, kill as many as possible in those countless mass murders. I'm surprised to see that the NRA still exists after all that historical murdering of US citizens.


I do not think I could handle this if I were in those parents shoes. I really do not. I think I would have a "problem" with those officers. A real problem, since the justice system, does not.




"Andy was carrying an AK-47 lookalike, and when given a lawful order
to "drop the gun," he instead turned it to face the officer. Start there." OK I will start there. First of all he didn't have a gun to drop. He turned to face the cop probably not understanding what was going on, and the cop pulled out his gun and murdered the young boy.


Let's recount the event from where, as you report, "He was playing in an open field with his friends." Step by step, please.


I am unaware of any other occupation which has ever imposed an upper IQ limit on its applicants. So right away the average intelligence of a cop must be lower than that of the general public. (yeah, I'm smart enough to know that is not a logical tautology)

However, cops are subject to the same fear mongering that has been increasingly heaped upon the American population for corporate gain. They also have the added defect of mob mentality, while being told they are under constant threat. At the same time the War on Poor People with drugs, has created unstable communities in every American city. Consider Colts owner Jim Irsay's treatment when caught with a large stash of cash and illegal drugs while driving erratically, and what happens to any poor person in the same situation. Jim's family won't be without his presence for decades. Combining armed scared people with a different, demonized, and debilitated culture isn't likely to yield positive results.

The problem, however, lies at the very top. We must no longer support a manifestly unjust economic and governance system. The Republicans and Democrats have proven to be incompetent and unfit for rule. If we don't throw all their asses out, we're unfit for self-governance.


JonnyJames lacks basic information about the Santa Rosa event. "He was playing in an open field with his friends." Facts, please, not fiction. And as the yellow advisory cautions: "Constructive criticism is welcome, but criticize ideas, not people." Goodbye, JJ.


Why are "Reasonable" and "Shooting a Twelve-Year-Old Child" in the same God damned sentence?