Dear Tamir Rice, Your Life Really DID Matter.

Dear Tamir,

You were just 18 months older than my son, Noah.

He has the same brilliant light in his eyes that I see in yours; the kind with all the promise and energy and positivity that only a young boy’s eyes can contain.

His easy, inviting smile (like your own) reflects a simple sweetness and joy, which is the way it’s supposed to be when you’re 12.

I like to think that you two would have gotten along great. He’s a sweet, silly, playful kid with a deep compassion for people and a warmth and wisdom far greater than his years.

He loves to hang out at the park too; to play superheroes and Star Wars and to run around pretending that he’s shooting at stormtroopers and bad guys.

I can see you both playing at the park together.

I can imagine you both there doing what sweet, silly, playful boys do.

What I can’t at all imagine, is losing my son they way your family lost you.

You didn’t do anything wrong that day. You were just being 12. That was what you were supposed to do.

12-year old boys should be able to be 12-year old boys in the park or at the mall or in their yards, no matter what color they are.

They should be able to run and play and pretend and do all manner of 12-year old boy things without worrying that they will never get to be 13.

And though it may not seem like it, your life did matter, Tamir.

It did and it still does.

Your life was worth more than the treatment you received and the care you did not in your final moments.

It was worth more the words of those who later tried to blame your 12-year oldness.

It was worth far more than the legal justice system now says it was.

And most of all it was far more beautiful and good and full of life than a few grainy seconds of horrible video, yet I will remember those seconds too because they are important. They are the ones that took you too soon and without dignity, and the ones that tried to say that your life mattered less.

I will not forget you and your smile, Tamir.

As my boy grows and becomes a man, as he hopefully gets to be 13 and 25 and 38, I’m going to remember that you should be here too, just 18 months older than him; that every birthday and milestone and celebration and sunset he has, you should also be having with your family.

I’m going to remember that your life was as big to them as my son’s is to me, that your loss leaves as massive a crater as his would leave in its absence, and that you deserve to be grieved as fully as I would grieve him.

And I’m going to keep speaking out and looking out for all boys and girls who may feel like or be treated like they matter less, simply because of the color of their skin.

Tamir, your life truly matters.

Your death matters.

You, matter.


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13 thoughts on “Dear Tamir Rice, Your Life Really DID Matter.

  1. I would not let my 12 year old play at the park alone, let alone take a fake weapon there.

  2. John, always love what you write because it makes us all think and mostly, like your blog promises, IT NEEDS SAYING. . .you may not have all of the facts on this one; careful; it is true the greatest tragedy is that a 12 year lost his life and can no longer be anyone’s friend/son/playmate; he’ll never have another Birthday, but many lives that day were changed and lost. One’s heart will never beat again, and others will never BEAT THE SAME. Having a Brother and son-in-law who are police officers who take seriously the call to SERVE AND PROTECT; they know that EVERY LIFE MATTERS as you do and attempt to show and make us Feel. I thank you for that and the rest of your thoughtful posts.

    • That officer was known to be a loose cannon, unstable, and he shot poor Tamir in two seconds — and that in an open carry state. I don’t think we need to know any more facts than that. I grieve that a 12-year-old is dead.

    • Get The Fcuk out of here with your BS about cops taking the “Protect and Serve” seriously!! Cops in America are fcuking criminals with a badge! Shameless Murderous thugs!!

  3. This is very moving, from someone who can only imagine what it is like to lose a child, it puts you in the mindset, or begins to put you in the mindset of a parent who has. And despite, his age, his colour, his ‘weapon’ he was 12. In the UK we do not allow weapons to be carried, perhaps it should be different I don’t know. But the culture that fills children with bravado is a learnt culture, learnt from peers, from television. It was his right to carry a toy, he was 12. That’s what toys are for, playing. It is not his fault, it is the fault of those that abuse their right to carry a weapon, it is those that are reckless that are responsible for his untimely passing.

    I lost my little boy, not in these circumstances, but to lose a child is to lose yourself. I hope that his family have faith, and are able to to find some peace. It is a tall order and one, if achieved, highly admirable. Such a sad situation. Heaven indeed is a brighter place because of Tamir’s arrival.

    Very well written, and I, a bereaved mummy, applaud you for stepping putting your head above the parapet and taking on one of those unknowns, you have delivered it with sympathy and grace. Thank you.

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