Parents, do you let your kids have toy guns? Maybe you play with airsoft guns yourself (many adults do). Well, if so, you’d better make darn sure it has an orange cap on the end because it could very well cost you your life if it doesn’t. Ask Tamir Rice. Oh, wait, you can’t because he’s dead. The 12-year-old kid was shot by police officers who thought he had a real gun. And officers got away with it, claiming self-defense. The Associated Press reported Dec. 8, that Cleveland cop Timothy Loehmann won’t be indicted in the death of Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old kid with the toy gun. In fact, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty said that neither Timothy Loehmann, nor his partner Frank Garmback should be charged for killing Tamir Rice at a Cleveland playground in November, 2014 because he had a toy gun.
The court decided that Timothy Loehmann had reason to be afraid of Tamir Rice. It looked like the kid was pulling a weapon at the Cleveland playground and police didn’t wait to see if it was an airsoft gun or a real one. Well, of course Tamir was drawing his weapon– it was a toy gun and he was playing with it, as kids do. He knew it, but the cops didn’t. And why not? Because the “gun” was supposedly missing a colored plastic tip–a message that the gun is fake. Whether the cop could see if Tamir’s gun had the cap or if he even took the time to look, is dubious. Timothy Loehmann saw a kid pull a gun, assumed it was real and shot him.
Initially, the point of colored caps was to differentiate a toy gun from a real one and therefore safe for kids to play with–as if weapons are toys. Because it’s such fun to play at killing? If you think it’s safe for kids to pretend violence, the death of Tamir Rice should be a 100 decibel wake-up call. But that’s another debate. What’s at issue is that for lack of a stupid piece of imported plastic on the end of a gun, a boy is dead. Or at least that was the cop’s excuse. So plastic tips protect kids from guns or from cops? Never mind the fact that those cheap junk plastic tips are difficult to impossible to see, easily lost and broken. Police will also accost kids with toy airsoft guns regardless of the red plastic tip. Some failsafe–if officers shoot first and check for orange tips later–as Timothy Loehmann may have done with Tamir Rice. And cap or not, kids are in danger from police just for having a toy gun. Those who think a tip on a toy gun protects them are the same idiots who think guns protect them. Firearms, as the story of Tamir Rice has shown, kill people, even fake airsoft guns.