Unless you are a newborn, a toddler, or delusional, you know damn well if a black man fired 10 shots into an SUV filled with four white teenagers, killing one, he’d’ve been convicted for murder by now and on death row, if the state had the death penalty.
But that’s not what happened in Jacksonville, Florida on November 23, 2012. A 46-year-old white man, Michael Dunn, man fired 10 shots into an SUV carrying four teenage black men, killing 18-year-old Jordan Davis, and brutally traumatizing the lives of the other three and the families of all four. Dunn says they wouldn’t turn their music down. His claim that he saw the barrel of a shotgun is suspect at best. He never mentioned this to his fiancé, Rhonda Rouer, according to her testimony, as he drove the two of them back to their hotel after the shooting. Law enforcement said no weapons were found on the teens.
Dunn was convicted of attempted second degree murder. The jury was deadlocked on the count of first-degree murder. Thankfully, Dunn will be tried again on that charge. Dunn’s attorney, Cory Strolla, said his client was “in disbelief” over the verdict. One wonders why. Could it be because Dunn is so delusional he actually thinks he was justified? Or, did he think he would get a pass because he lived in Florida? Has it not occurred anyone that if any of the teens actually had a shotgun they might’ve have fired back?
I have no sympathy for Dunn. I say this not just because he tried to kill four boys (succeeding in killing one) but because of the choices he made immediately following the shooting. He didn’t call the police. Not only did he and his fiancé simply drive back to their hotel after the shooting, they drove the 175 miles back home the next morning, still not calling the police. His true colors showed up again in his letters from jail. In one he wrote, ““The jail is full of blacks and they all act like thugs. This may sound a bit radical but if more people would arm themselves and kill these fucking idiots, when they’re threatening you, eventually they may take the hint and change their behavior.””
And this tragedy is not about the music. Thinkprogress.org’s Judd Legum is right when he wrote, “many prominent media outlets referred to it as the “loud music trial.”” It’s got nothing to do with music. It has to do with America’s addiction to guns, the seething racism that courses through the veins of more than will admit it, and stand your ground laws that empower both.