When I was a kid, I and many of my friends had BB guns; very
realistic looking rifles and pistols. Here is a photo of the one I
owned which was my favorite. My friends and I wandered the fields in
our neighborhood shooting at things. I once accidently shot a friend in
the back, which produced a nasty welt. Another kid once intentionally
shot at me from a distance and the BB hit my eye. I came very close to
losing my vision in that eye. In both of those cases, had they been bullets and not BB's, death or very serious injury would have occurred.
I can only assume that it was because I was a white kid in a mostly
white neighborhood that I could carry my BB gun around and never had any
interference from the police. Additionally, that was 40 years ago and
guns (and gun violence) had not proliferated into the plague that it is
today--causing police to be hyper-vigilant and proactively belligerent
in order to avoid being gunshot victims themselves.
what I'm trying to say is that what Tamir Rice was doing in that
playground when he was gunned down by police was no different from what I
and my friends did day after day when we were his age. The difference
is that he was African-American in an African-American neighborhood and
that he had the misfortune of living in a time and place where gun
violence and the resulting paranoia is at a fever pitch. We have got to
do something about both the institutional racism and the madness of
guns in our land.