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Letter: Tyre King deserves to be mourned, not mocked

Beginning Wednesday morning at 8 a.m., community members and students have been camped out on the steps of the courthouse, commemorating the deaths of Tyre King, Terrence Crutcher and Keith Lamont Scott.

This spontaneous action was, and is, a memorial: an opportunity for those saddened by the loss of a 13-year-old boy to collectively express grief. This action is closer to a funeral than it is to a protest — It is a vigil, not a rally. It is also a statement that black lives matter.

I sat on the steps between 11 p.m. and 3 a.m. Wednesday night. I watched individuals blame Tyre King for his own death and label the entire memorial "bullshit." I watched individuals, out of touch with suffering, say that they “would have killed him, too.”

I watched a man tell a woman, who believed that Tyre King deserved his own death, that the autopsy report showed that Tyre was running away and was shot in the back. She responded saying that he deserved to be shot since he had a toy gun, thereby threatening the police. The man then responded by saying, “I think he was in the wrong place at the wrong time, but what do I know? I’m in the army and a couple of months from now I’ll be shooting people overseas.”

I do not understand how and when this man, on the verge of convincing his friend of Tyre King’s innocence, forgot to care anymore.

Nevermind that Ohio is an open-carry state where one is literally allowed to publicly display real firearms, nevermind that white men have pointed guns directly at police officers and have been arrested rather than killed, nevermind that local middle schoolers approached the courthouse steps and spoke about what it would be like if one of their friends was shot by the police. Nevermind all that, but how dare you dismiss another’s grief? How dare you blame a child for the fact that he was killed by an adult?

Black lives matter because, apparently, black deaths don’t matter enough to be mourned in peace.

Michael Mayberry is a senior studying English at Ohio University.

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