Scoot: "Loud music" trial verdict proves Justice not blind
by Scoot,posted Feb 16 2014 7:32PM
A black man pulled into a convenience store at a gas station. In the SUV next to him 4 white teenagers were blaring music the black man didn’t like. After the black man told the white teenagers to turn down the music there was an argument, and then the black man pulled a gun out of the glove compartment of his vehicle and shot and killed a 17-year-old white teen.
The black man proceeded to fire rounds into the SUV with the white teenagers as it pulled away. The black man had been drinking, and after shooting a 17-year-old white teenager, he left the scene. He went to his hotel with his fiancée – ordered pizza and made a drink – never calling 911 to report the incident. The black man was on trial for 1st-degree murder but the jury could not come to an agreement on that charge. However, the black man now faces up to 60 years in prison on attempted murder charges.
Why would a black man be allowed to get away with murdering a 17-year-old white teenager over loud music? Why was the black man only convicted of attempted murder. Is this justice?
If the real-life story of 47-year-old Michael Dunn and 17-year-old Jordan Davis was about a black man killing a white teenager over loud music, the outrage and the outcome of the trial would probably be quite different.
The guilty verdict on three counts of 2nd degree murder and firing at a vehicle and a mistrial on the 1st degree murder charge were stunning – more stunning than the not guilty verdict in the trial of George Zimmerman. The good news is that Michael Dunn faces 60 years in prison because he is a reckless gun owner who seemed to use a gun to avenge his anger at being disrespected by a group of black teenagers. The Second Amendment guarantees the right to own a gun for protection – NOT for avenging anger or protecting pride.
Michael Dunn is a poster boy for irresponsible gun ownership and the guilty verdicts on attempted murder, which should send him to prison for arguably the rest of his life, should be celebrated. But the failure of the jury to find Dunn guilty of murder based on evidence that seemed to paint a clear picture of a white man who allowed prejudice while under the influence of alcohol to drive him to kill a teenager and that casts a dark shadow on the mentality of some who sit on juries.
Admittedly, I judge the conclusions of the jury in the Michael Dunn trial from my perspective in the court of public opinion and I accept the verdicts as part of the workings of our system of justice – but I don’t have to agree with them. I accepted, but disagreed with, the verdicts in the George Zimmerman trial, the Casey Anthony trial and the trial of the four Los Angeles police officers for the beating of Rodney King. I am pleased with the decision by State Attorney Angela Corey to retry Dunn for 1st degree murder.
Though it shouldn’t matter – the jury was made up of four white men, four white women, two black men, one Asian female and one Hispanic man. The jury could not reach agreement on the murder charge even though a teenager was murdered.
According to a report on USAToday.com, “Dunn showed no emotion as the verdicts were read. But afterwards, he turned to his lawyer, Cory Strolla, and asked, ‘How is this happening?’” Strolla said his client and his family are devastated by the verdicts. I’m sure the family of Jordan Davis is devastated as well.
As I talked about this trial on WWL, I received a few texts and calls from people who supported Michael Dunn’s actions as appropriate recourse for black teenagers playing loud music and showing disrespect. I received an email from a listener that rambled on about black men who want to beat up “crackers” should make sure the “crackers” don’t have guns. Then the email mentioned Darwin’s Theory of survival of the fittest.
Michael Dunn claimed self-defense and testified that his life was threatened. He even testified that the black teenager had a shotgun. No shotgun or firearm of any kind was found.
There is one very important aspect of this case that all of those who sympathize with Michael Dunn are missing. IF Michael Dunn felt threatened after telling the teenagers to turn down the music – evidence seems to indicate that Dunn could have ended it – but instead forced the situation to escalate.
The inherit problem with the new “stand your ground” mentality is that it removes the responsibility to retreat if retreat is possible. This seems to be interpreted to mean that it is open season on anyone who you think is threatening you.
Michael Dunn’s perception of a threat to his life may have come from his biased opinion of black male youths – rather than an actual threat with a mythical shotgun. And would Michael Dunn have perceived the same threat to his life if the teenagers had been white?
Furthermore, is this another case of a man voluntarily engaging others because of the security of a gun in his vehicle? Guns are not supposed to give you confidence to confront others – guns are for protection!
If reaction to the mistrial on murder charges in the Michael Dunn trial is guided by the idea that the lives of young black males are not as precious and valuable as young white males – then America has not progressed since the days of slavery. And that is a sad and embarrassing thought.
I remember when I was 17 and if a 40+ year-old man told me to turn down the music I was listening to – I probably would have told him that my music was none of his business and I would have defied his request. Be honest when you think about the times you were disrespectful as a teenager.
I am not supporting disrespect and teenagers should be respectful, but in the America I know, we don’t shoot and kill people for being disrespectful!
My hope is that even though he was not convicted of murder that Michael Dunn’s prison sentence will set an example for those who own a gun for the wrong reasons!