Cleveland Cavalier and Akron native Lebron James recently commented on the ongoing Tamir Rice tragedy that unfolded in November, 2014 in Cleveland. Rice, a large, unsupervised 12 year old, was shot in a playground by a police officer as the youngster began to remove a fake gun from his belt. The police dispatcher, who has since resigned, had failed to inform the officers that the caller said the gun might be a toy. Neither did the police know Rice was a youngster.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Lebron said he’d discussed matters with his two sons. “The talk is, ‘You be respectful, you do what’s asked and you let them do their job, and we’ll take care of the rest after. You don’t have to boast and brag and automatically think it’s us against the police,’” James explained. ’”I’ve had one or two encounters with the police in my life that were nothing. But sometimes you just got to shut up. It’s that simple. Just be quiet and let them do their job and go on about your life and hopefully things go well…They have tons of play guns. None of them look real,” he said. “We have Nerf guns that are lime green and purple and yellow. But I don’t even let them take them out of the house.'”
In reading that, I was reminded of mine a letter the Plain Dealer had published regarding the topic of guns. My friend Edward O’Donnell’s father, also named Edward , had enlisted in the Army before World War II broke out. He ended up spending 5 years as an artilleryman, fighting in Italy, France and Germany. At home in Lakewood afterwards, he saw his nephews playing war in the back yard. He gathered up their toy guns, trashed them and took the boys to Rube Adler Sporting Goods. There he bought them all baseball equipment – bats, balls and gloves.
It’s unfortunate Tamir Rice didn’t have a responsible father or uncle in his life, like a Lebron James or Edward O’Donnell.
Sullivan is an internationally-published writer residing in Northfield Village.