45-year-old Michael David Dunn observed a group of black men in a Red SUV near a Florida gas station last week who were playing loud music. Dunn objected to the noise. The kids, all black acted like all such youths who crank up car stereos. They differed with Dunn as to the volume and perhaps their choice of audio output. Dunn claims he saw what looked to him to be a shotgun protruding from the rear of the vehicle.
Dunn, a white middle-aged man with a concealed carry permit for the State of Florida but no training in law enforcement put eight—some say nine bullets– from his weapon into the SUV killing 17-year-old unarmed black youth Jordan Davis. The youth was buried over the weekend. Dunn retains his life and possible future liberty and the satisfaction at least that he “stood his ground.” (liberal application of bloody sarcasm here)
One million concealed carry permit holders have killed 399 people since 2007 in Florida. Dunn is charged with murder but there is no guarantee the State of Florida will have a case under the Stand-Your-Ground Law in Florida.
Most police officers, confronted with three youths in an SUV who would not turn the music down but whom they suspected had a firearm but had not yet shot the weapon or attempted murder or robbery would call for backup and wait. Dunn, a private citizen did not wait. He described his reasoning this way: “three black men” in the SUV equals a high degree of danger deadly force required immediately. The possibility of a shotgun in the vehicle made it necessary to empty his weapon at close range right into the van.
Jordan Davis—17, was hit twice and died. No weapon of any kind was found in the SUV. Obviously, the four who differed over the volume of their music with a 45-year-old white man were not an immediate threat to anyone. Obvious also is that Dunn seemed to be the only person to see the alleged shotgun.
Police units called to the scene might have assessed the level of threat differently and simply calmly talked to the black kids in the Red SUV and issued a citation in violation of any noise ordinance the community may have had or if that was not an option, given all of them disorderly conduct citations with summons to appear in the local municipal or county circuit court on the charges.
Barely nine months after the Trayvon Martin case, another man of a predominately white racial background has gunned down a black kid who had no weapon at all and had not moved to physically strike Dunn in any way—nor even left the vehicle.
It would strain the credulity of even the most ardent National Rifle Association supporter that the use of deadly force by Dunn was justified. But under Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law Dunn stands an excellent chance of walking Scott free of the murder charge simply because he was standing his ground in a dispute where he judged that he and others might be in danger—or perhaps simply that he did not like the kid’s play selection on their SUV’s stereo.
Worse yet are the nine bullet holes in the SUV. Does it belong to one of the parents of the youths? Will insurance cover it? Is the death of 17-year-old minor Jordan Davis—unarmed and not in the process of harming anyone really necessary?
19 police officers have been gunned down by Floridians with licensed concealed carry permits just since 2007. It is no respecter of the law officer. So, even they are not immune. Tombstone courage is often shown by our law enforcement officers. Wild West shootouts and a million private citizens, most without any training in the application of deadly force is a prescription for more shootouts over verbal disputes that in so many places in our world are routinely handled with the police arresting or citing the individuals with civil citations instead of applying deadly force in response to so many disputes.
Or perhaps people who want to shoot others because they feel threatened by “three black men” in an SUV should just open fire on sight. Something to think about and weep. Outrage is an unproductive and unhealthy option as the editor of Struggles for Justice learned last night.
Still another set of black parents have had to bury a teenage son far too early and for reasons that are obscure and seemingly necessary.
Was race a factor? Whites in this country would insist not. But had they been three suburban white kids would Dunn have so quickly and with Eagle eye spotted a shotgun in the van when there was none—and the kids had not discharged the non-existent weapon?
The Race Card played yet again by Struggles for Justice with a lot of assistance from a 45-year-old white bigot in Florida.