Can We All Agree That Cops Shouldn't Shoot 12-Year-Olds?
By contrast, police seem empowered to excuse virtually any result by claiming to have perceived a threat. Certainly, we want the men and women entrusted with protecting us to feel free to first protect themselves. But shouldn't that be balanced in some way with an obligation to preserve life where possible?
The racial aspect of the Rice case cannot be ignored. It may not be fair to assume race played a role in Rice's death. But it's not entirely unfair to consider whether it did. If he had been a white kid in the suburbs playing with a toy gun at the park, would the response have been the same? If not, why not?
We should consider what can be done to mitigate such concerns. A number of potential solutions have been offered, many of which have merit. They would require legislative action. Police have been operating in an environment crafted by law, and changes in law will be required to change that environment.
This is not and should not be a witch hunt to exact revenge for perceived wrongs. Rather, it should be a well-considered process to seek reconciliation. Our law enforcement officers deserve to be set up for success. The broader community deserves a justice system they can trust. Those goals are not mutually exclusive, but will require people of more moderate temperament than "Black Lives Matter" to champion.
No one should have to fear that their child, playing in the neighborhood, might be gunned down by the police. There should be no circumstances under which we consider that acceptable. Ultimately, no one may answer for the series of events which led to Tamir Rice's death. But we can do much to prevent similar tragedies in the future.