Thursday, November 29, 2012

Breaking News: Florida Stand Your Ground Shooting - Michael Dunn kills Jordan Davis

I don't like music that is audible at insanely high decibels outside of your vehicle. Not everyone is a fan of whatever your particular music may be. I think it's rude to make everyone else listen to your favorite music whether they like it or not. Were I an officer of the law I would be handing out numerous disorderly conduct tickets for such behavior.

But despite the fact that I am irritated by such behavior I've never had a desire to shoot people for playing their music loudly. See not only is shooting someone morally worse than playing music loudly, it would probably result in me going to prison for a very long time where chances are, I'd have to get used to much much more offensive behavior patterns than someone playing music at a level I found unpleasant.

But evidently some people aren't bothered by the possibility of going to prison.
From the same state that brought you the Trayvon Martin situation comes another case where a Caucasian or non-black man shot and killed an unarmed black teenager and then tried to say he was threatened.


                 

Florida’s controversial ‘Stand Your Ground’ law is back on the national stage after the murder of yet another unarmed, black teenager. Michael Dunn, a 45-year-old Florida resident, is invoking the controversial law after a recent confrontation turned fatal, The Orlando Sentinel reports. According to authorities, 17-year-old Jordan Russell Davis, a black teenager, and several friends were confronted by Dunn, a white man, who pulled alongside the teens' SUV in the parking lot of a Jacksonville, Fla., gas station. Dunn asked them to turn their music down, and after an exchange of words, he fired between 8 and 9 shots at the vehicle, several of which hit Davis, causing his death.
Dunn was arrested on Saturday and charged with murder and attempted murder. His lawyer said that her client acted "responsibly and in self defense." During a telephone interview with ABC 25, Dunn’s daughter Rebecca defended her father, saying he did not intend to kill anyone and was responding to a threat. "He got threatened and had to do what he had to do, and it's sad, so sad," Rebecca Dunn said. "A terrible tragedy on both sides. It really is. I don't know. What are you going to do in that situation? You don't know what you are going to do. He just reacted".
I am not offended by the defense attorney or Dunn's daughter making the statements they did. That's what I would expect them to do. I am offended that someone who isn't an officer of the law apparently feels it necessary to initiate a confrontation with someone, kill them and then claim self-defense. As usual, we should wait to see what other facts may arise but right now it doesn't look good for Dunn. I have had road rage. I get angry at people on a regular basis. If I shot everyone who ever annoyed me I would have run out of bullets by now. But somehow in my time on this planet I've managed not to murder anyone. That's because I have control over myself and know the difference between right and wrong. Unfortunately some people don't. Or worse, some people think that they don't have to control themselves around certain other people. I think that the public image of young black men, heck black men in general is so bad that independent of context, everything they do can be considered a threat by someone who sees them in a certain light.
A black musician responding in kind to a white comedian's nasty insults becomes a verbal rapist. A teen allegedly playing loud music becomes a threat to your life. For some people the mere existence of black people can be threatening, evidently. I don't know how to fix this. One way to start would be to repeal the Stand Your Ground law, but that's really an after the fact solution. Certainly it should be made clear to everyone that you can't start a confrontation and then kill someone in "self-defense". I fully expect that Dunn's defense team will try their best to find any dirt they can on Jordan Davis. Maybe he spit on the sidewalk once. Maybe he jaywalked when he was ten. Maybe he got into a fight in kindergarten. But his true crime was annoying Michael Dunn. And for that he received the death penalty.

**UPDATE. Our very own Leigh Owens aka The Godson discusses the case. Special thanks to Leigh and to the Storyteller for getting info out.

Questions

1) What is wrong with Florida?

2) Is it time to repeal the Stand your Ground Law?

3) Do you think Dunn was drunk?

4) How do we avoid these sorts of things in the future? 

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