Getting away with murder is surprisingly simple in America. Just ask George Zimmerman, Ferguson cop Darren Wilson, and the latest inductee to this cluster of upstanding individuals (total sarcasm here) - Cleveland police officer Timothy Loehmann. These are only a select few. I didn't mention Freddie Gray, Sandra Bland, or LaQuan McDonald because I think you get the picture.
Getting away with murder in America is far too simple. And if you have a badge, it's even simpler. Because, when the very legal system designed to achieve justice is your very own legal counsel, how could you lose?
When looking at the Tamir Rice case, I can't help but put myself in his shoes. When he died, he was just a year younger than I am now. So, as you could imagine when the video of his tragic shooting was released shortly after, it rocked me to my core.
In less than two seconds, Officer Timothy Loehmann drew his weapon and killed a twelve-year-old boy playing with a toy gun. I've heard many arguments from many people. Some saying his actions were justified while others say the cop deserves jail time.
I'd have to agree with the latter.
Because when you shoot a child or any person for that matter in less than two seconds, you're not just guilty of recklessness.
You're guilty of manslaughter.
Being thirteen, am I not allowed to go outside and play with toy guns anymore without someone viewing me as a threat? Am I not allowed to be a normal teenage boy without being killed by those sworn to "protect and serve?" I shouldn't have to ask those questions. I also shouldn't have to doubt the answers to those questions will be anything but a resounding no.
But, in this day and age, I have to ask those questions. I have to hold those doubts. Because one day - those doubts could very well keep me alive.
In the year 2015, I am forced to live a life of fear. A life of skepticism. Because if I don't, I could very well be the next Tamir Rice.
While the prosecutor in this case called this horrible tragedy a "perfect storm of human error," I have a hard time believing the problem is human error when incidents like this happen time and time again.
Police brutality in America has become the norm. And the lack of justice that follows it doesn't even surprise us anymore.
However, activists continue to fight and they continue to speak up.
Because regardless of the justice we receive (or lack thereof), we refuse to live in a world in which black boys and black girls are fearful to go out into their own community and doubt they'll make it home safely.
We have come way too far to give up.
While Tamir and his family didn't get the justice they deserved today, we must never stop fighting for that justice.
Because regardless of your skin color, you life matters.
Regardless of if you have a badge or not, the law matters and justice must be served.
I could be the next Tamir. Any of us could.
We must not let this happen again.