Most of you have probably heard about the Florida trial concerning Michael Dunn and the killing of 17-year-old Jordan Davis. Another incident of a white man killing an African-American teenager.
As basically everyone knows, Florida is now infamous for its “Stand Your Ground” law after Trayvon Martin was gunned down by George Zimmerman.
Though George Zimmerman didn’t use this defense, it’s been widely speculated that Zimmerman had the law in mind when he tracked down, instigated a confrontation with and then killed Trayvon Martin.
Well, in the case of Michael Dunn, he decided to confront an SUV at a gas station that was playing excessively loud music.
This is where I say having a gun gives people a sense of power. Sure, you can use that gun for self defense, that’s unquestioned – and useful. But what some are also doing is using these guns as a “tool of power” that gives them confidence to confront people who they might not have confronted if they weren’t armed.
Dunn approached the car, words were exchanged, then he opened fire on the SUV killing 17-year-old Jordan Davis. Dunn claims that the teens flashed a gun, though no gun was ever found.
The ridiculous and pretty much unethical part of the defense’s argument is that, while no gun was found, they could have had a gun. Now I’m not a legal expert, but speculation of threat shouldn’t constitute a lethal response. Especially when you’re the one who instigated the confrontation in the first place.
Cory Strolla, Dunn’s lawyer, said this situation isn’t like the Zimmerman trial because there was a confrontation between Martin and Zimmerman. Strolla went on to say:
“My client did not wait to become that victim. My client did not wait to either get assaulted by a weapon or have someone potentially pull a trigger. Now, does it sound irrational? Of course it sounds irrational. But have you ever been in that situation?”
I’ll remind you that no gun was found. Also we can’t forget that Dunn instigated the situation. So when his lawyer asks, “Have you ever been in that situation?” he’s clearly negating the fact that Dunn caused that situation.
Well, Dunn was found guilty of four total counts – three being attempted second-degree murder.
For the first-degree murder count, it was a hung jury.
But as our legal expert Ilyssa Fuchs said, it should be made clear:
“He can be retried on the 1st count. He is still going to prison, but the sentencing range is lower because he was not convicted on the top count.”
So he’s going to prison, it’s just now a matter of how long.
Personally I think it’s a travesty that he wasn’t found guilty of first degree murder. Maybe the parameters of proving that it was pre-meditated weren’t there, I’m not completely sure. It’s clear though that he was the person responsible for the killing of Jordan Davis. The pathetic argument that, “Well, they could have had a gun,” is completely baseless to me.
This is clearly a case of racial stereotyping. It’s also the problem of what these “Stand Your Ground” laws say to people. It essentially allows people to think they can instigate confrontation, kill someone, then claim self defense.
But my issue remains that, as of now, Jordan Davis is dead and no one has been held responsible for it.
I just hope that upon retrial, Michael Dunn is finally convicted of the charge of first-degree murder and he never sees the outside of a prison cell again. I would also hope that these continued instances of people instigating confrontation with others, instead of calling the police and letting them do their job, would led to a repeal of the “Stand Your Ground” law in Florida.
Unfortunately I don’t see that happening. But I sadly have to assume that as long as laws like these continue to remain, we’ll see many more horrific acts of “tough guy” violence just like this one.
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