For Tamir: The Plaintive Voices of the Dead Call the Living to Action
Though God knows we didn't need it, the failure to indict two Cleveland cops for what is now the legal murder of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy with a toy gun, offers yet more proof that our national epidemic of killer cops gunning down unarmed black people won't stop until substantive changes - in grand juries that time and again don't work, use of force laws that make it next to impossible to convict a cop of wrongdoing, open carry laws that mean "open season on people who scare you," the whole rotten racist system of so-called justice - are made. The grand jury process in Cleveland was a grotesque charade, from its finding that the clearly unfit officer acted from a "reasonable" sense of danger to its suggestion that Tamir, with his big, scary albeit 12-year-old black body, deserved to die. But it was just one more tragedy in a long bloody string of tragedies, dating most famously from Emmett Till. Thus is Tamir's mother, along with too many others, now left to plead, "I don't want my child to have died for nothing."
Black Lives Matter reminds us it all continues. So does a recent in-depth report showing that almost half of 184 Georgians - the majority black - killed by police were unarmed or shot in the back. So does the stomach-churning, almost daily news of new atrocities, "quite literally, ad nauseam." Tamir's shooting and the failure to aid him, writes Charles Blow, shows "an unconscionable level of human depravity on the part of the officer who shot him, a stunning disregard for the value of his life and a callousness toward the people who loved him. He concludes, "The plaintive voices of the dead call the living to action... So, in the demand for justice, timorousness must be the enemy, tirelessness must be the motto and righteousness must be the compass."
Tamir's classmate at the site of his murder. Photo posted by Michael Moore