To a certain Facebook friend (In memory of Tamir Rice)

“I don’t understand,” you commented, “how is it racist?
If those kids were raised right—they wouldn’t be shot.”

Raised right, commenting friend?
I choke on my anger
but I’ll try not to judge you
I used to believe in TV news and fairy tales, too, but now
I want you to imagine reality.

Imagine it, commenting friend,
you, who probably hunt ducks or deer with
your stocky white son, tramp the countryside
waving shotguns and rifles, never imagining:
your son executed for playing with a pellet gun

Imagine it, commenting friend,
imagine your son, gunned down, then framed for his own murder
imagine your daughter, trying to save her little brother
imagine some asshole, hundreds, thousands of assholes, saying
you raised him wrong

Promise me, commenting friend
you’ll imagine your son, wide-eyed with fear, as he bleeds
turns the snow beneath him pink, then red, while his sister
who ran to save him is tackled and bound
as the officers stand, hands on hips, not even pretending to help

Imagine later, commenting friend
when you, rightfully outraged, sick with grief
wait for justice
surely this time, this time—an indictment? It’s all on video!
He was just twelve, playing alone—surely this time, this time?
Tell me now, commenting friend
Do you still think it’s not a race thing?
I’d rather reach your heart and change your mind
than leave you untouched while children are shot and left to die.
I bleed out, listening to you who was “raised right.”

changingthings

NOTE:
3/2/15: This is a second draft of a poem originally published 12/6/14. It is quite different from draft one, and I think it says what I want to say more accurately.

Tamir Rice was playing with a pellet gun on a Cleveland, Ohio playground when someone called the police. The caller told 911 that the gun was “probably fake.” Surveillance video released by the police shows the officers’ car pulling up right next to the boy, and shows an officer shooting Tamir in the stomach within seconds of pulling up. Tamir was 12.

Officer Loehmann, the shooter, was not indicted.

, ,

  1. #1 by rsvendsen07 on December 6, 2014 - 5:01 am

    Well said. ❤️

  2. #2 by Elaine Olund on December 6, 2014 - 4:56 pm

    Thanks for reading & commenting.

  3. #3 by Mary Ellen McCarthy on December 8, 2014 - 7:41 pm

    beautiful. So sad that so many need to read and understand.

  4. #4 by Peggy McCarthy Brooker on December 9, 2014 - 6:33 am

    You offer great perspective. Keep writing, people will read. Polar opposite views on this important subject seem to be based on fear,.. Even I am afraid to write more, right now. You are brave.

  5. #5 by Ellen Austin-Li on December 9, 2014 - 7:56 am

    These stories are heart-wrenching. Thanks for writing about them.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: