Memphis, TN

An Opinion: Lest We Forget About Tyre

Sherry McGuinn

We've had enough "talk."
Photo byWikipedia Commons

While watching the five, graphic video clips of the murder of twenty-nine-year-old Tyre Nichols on CNN Friday a few weeks ago, there was a moment when I forgot I was watching “real” TV and not a movie.

The beating and torture rained down upon one, helpless individual by five Memphis police officers, now former police officers, was, at one point, so out there, so inconceivable, and so sickeningly savage that this manner of brute force was committed on someone who did nothing other than commit an alleged traffic violation — well, it was surreal.

Why that should be, escapes me, as this very situation has happened before, and before and before that. Cops gone mad. Mad with power. Mad with blood lust. Mad enough to beat another human being to death. Or shoot them in a botched raid in their own home.

As I wept at the realization that this was all too real, as we all heard Tyre Nichols call out for his mom, who was a mere eighty or so yards away in their home, all I could think about was what form of justice could possibly be satisfactory for such a detestable and appalling crime. What would be fair?

“MOM!” Punch, kick.

“MOM!” Pepper spray.

“MOM!” Baton strike.

The continued command to “give me your fu*king hands” as Tyre tried to protect his eyes from the pepper spray. As he rolled back and forth on the cement in agony. As he drifted in and out of consciousness as the five “Scorpions” continued to beat him.

As inured as we’ve become to watching death and destruction played out in real-time I don’t believe anything could have prepared us for what we saw in those videos.

What continues to enrage me is the way these monsters conversed, like thugs in an alley, while Tyre Nichols lay at their feet, alternately squirming and then going still. Dying. That’s what he was doing. Why call it anything else?

“He high. He high as a kite!”

No. Tyre wasn’t “high as a kite.” He was scared witless. My feeling, my opinion, is that those cops were revved up on something. It was they who were high, not that young man.

Whatever they snorted or popped, or drank made them feel like supermen. Like they could do whatever the fuck they wanted to whomever they wanted, and get away with it.

I don’t recall that the possibility of them being ripped on amphetamines has been discussed by all the talking heads on the news, but it wouldn’t surprise me.

What I can’t get out of my head are the audio portions of those gut-wrenching videos. Tyre’s gasps, his cries for his mother, the almost visceral sound of his 150-pound body being continually pummelled by men much heavier and burlier.

And recently, I dreamed about those sounds. They drifted in and out of my uneasy slumber like remnants of a horror movie. I dreamed about Tyre Nichols and how he looked in that hospital bed. Unrecognizable as the handsome young man he was.

I feel a bit of unease writing this as my nephew is a police officer and I have nothing but love and respect for him. He’s a good man, a good cop whose fellow officers love him. And there are many like him. How tragic that Tyre Nichols met up with the wrong sort.

In the end, those five men, along with the other cops and first responders who did nothing, proved themselves to be not only monsters but cowards, every one of them, in their pathetic attempts to justify to one another what they’d done and why.

There is no justification, but, we can hope there will be justice, of a sort. But, will it be the right justice? I’m not religious, but I know about an “eye for an eye,” and I can’t help but hope that the sick brutes that beat an innocent man to death, get a taste of their own misplaced fury. If they go to prison for a very long time, chances are good that their actions will be reciprocated. I see this in my head and rejoice over the possibility.

Meanwhile, what about us? Will we merely continue to shake our heads and talk about “changes” and “mandates” and all the other promises we make to ensure that what happened to Tyre Nichols and George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and so many others never happens again?

So much talk. Rational talk. Inspiring talk. Comforting talk. And the next time it happens, we’ll talk some more.

Meanwhile, Tyre Nichols is still dead.

© Sherry McGuinn, 2023. All Rights Reserved.

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My goal is to educate, entertain, make you laugh, and above all, make you think. I will be running the gamut as far as my articles go because I have a restless mind and I allow it to ramble where and when it wants. I hope you enjoy what I'm looking forward to sharing with you. If so, I'd love for you to follow me. Thanks for reading.

Chicago, IL

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