Common Sense Isn’t So Common

Time was my Daddy would come up with a witticism that would fit a situation perfectly. He might say my current situation put me, “between a rock and a hard place”. I might describe the situation to him as just being “common sense”, whereupon he would inevitably tell me that “common sense isn’t very common”.

After watching the news about two more police shootings of unarmed black men in Ohio, I went back to review what I thought was the most egregious police shooting ever recorded. As I watched the Youtube of the Tamir Rice shooting unfold on my TV, I have to say Daddy was right. Common sense seems to have no place in the events, or in the aftermath of the police shooting of a twelve year old black boy.

In case you are unfamiliar with the story, Tamir Rice was playing with a BB gun outside of a recreation center in Cleveland, Ohio. Possibly he was pointing the gun at passers by and going “pppeewww, pppeewww”, simulating the sounds of bullets. Possibly he was just pointing the gun at folks, or maybe he didn’t point the gun at anyone. In any event, someone dialed 911 and called the police on this black child who had scared them.

In the 911 call, the caller even mentioned they thought that the gun was a toy, but that fact didn’t strike the common sense part of the responding officer’s brain. Within three second of arriving on the scene, Tamir Rice was shot dead. As improbable as it sounds, it was death by firing squad, without arrest or trial. Click here to see the video, the shooting occurs at about the 1:03 mark, by 1:07, Tamir is dying. Continue to watch the video to its end and see if you see the officers trying to offer assistance to the child they had just gunned down. If these two officers are an example of Cleveland, Ohio’s “finest”, well, what can I say?

Common sense tells me the police involved in the shooting didn’t use standard procedure in this case. If this is police policy, then all of the folks that I’ve been describing as wackey-doodle for gathering up arms to oppose the impending “government takeover”, may be right. If police policy is for police to receive a 911 call describing a child with, “what could be a toy gun”, and to roll up in their car ten feet from the suspect with guns drawn, and immediately shoot the suspect, then I’d say we have reason to fear a “police state”, and, common sense has left town for good. 

The grand jury decided that the police men involved acted reasonably, and decided to not indict the officers for murder. This lack of compassion or sense of justice has led me to believe that common sense has left Cleveland, Ohio forever. Imagine how all of the parents and grandparents who gave their kids the latest look a like weapon toy must feel. A gift of a toy gun makes their children fair game for the police while real guns brandished by hate groups are ignored.

Common sense in Cleveland, Ohio is clearly different than what goes for common sense in Cleveland, Georgia.

Common sense says that if the police are overreacting because of a fear brought on by the proliferation of weapons in our society, we need to fix the proliferation, not shoot the children. Common sense says when you find out that you’ve got two officers so out of control from fear, or prejudice, that they’re shooting first and not even bothering to ask questions, that you need to prune those branches from the tree. Common sense tells us that the city will save money by firing bad officers rather than paying out awards in wrongful death suits.

Like my Daddy said, “common sense isn’t very common”, but my common sense says this child should still be walking among us.

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