Madness

I have a 17-year-old son. He’s white, not black. Thus, he is less likely to get shot to death  in America.

Yet another African-American kid, this one also 17 years old, was killed in Florida, home of Trayvon Martin. And home of a very cruel experiment with a law savagely called, “Stand Your Ground.”

Here is a picture of the man accused of murdering the latest teenager, Jordan Davis, on Black Friday in November:

Take a good look at 45-year-old Michael Dunn. Around here where I live, he could be a neighbor, or, God forbid, a friend or a relative. Dunn, who lives in Satellite Beach, was in Jacksonville for his son’s wedding. He was on his way back to his hotel, with his girlfriend, when they stopped at a convenience store to get a bottle of wine.

Here’s how one television station reported the relevant facts:

Jordan Davis, 17, and some other teens were sitting in a SUV in a parking lot when Dunn parked next to them and asked the youths to turn down their music.

Jordan Davis and Dunn argued over the music, then Dunn, who is a gun collector, pulled a gun and shot eight or nine times, hitting Jordan twice, reports the Orlando Sentinel.

Jordan Davis’ father Ron Davis said his unarmed son died in the arms of a friend in the SUV.

It was Ron Davis who appeared, along with his son’s mother, Lucia McBath, on Lawrence O’Donnell’s Last Word last night.  There was obvious anguish. There was restrained outrage that television often produces.

The boy was listening to music. Perhaps the music was too loud. Perhaps it was offensive. Perhaps the teens acted rudely. But was the music so loud and so offensive that an allegedly rude teenager deserved the death penalty? Huh?

Even though police found no weapons in the SUV Jordan Davis was in, Michael Dunn, through his lawyer, will argue—is arguing—that he saw, “a shotgun coming over the rim of the SUV,” and “he knows a shotgun when he sees one because he got his first gun as a gift from his grandparents when he was in third grade.”

Is that when this madness starts? Third grade?

God, help us.

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13 Comments

  1. I am to the point that I do not know what to do about this. The shooter needs to go to jail, and the law needs to be repealed, but conservative state legislators keep making it easier to carry a firearm anywhere. The power of the fascist-style National Rifle Association, and their madman leader, is unchecked, and they own many of our national and state leaders. As long as we continue to elect these conservatives, the killings will continue since none of our leaders have the guts to stand up to the NRA.

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    • Jim,

      There aren’t that many Democrats who want to stand up to the NRA either. The NRA is a national bully and at some point we will have to look that bully in the eye and tell it we are tired of giving it our kids in the name of unfettered gun rights. That time is a long way off, though, it seems to me.

      Duane

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  2. Gerald Malan

     /  December 14, 2012

    JD: There is plenty of pure irony to go around. While violent crimes have been going down for a decade, including murders, the far Right has the stand-your-ground racists believing they are under siege. Especially in Florida it appears.

    The humanitarian concept of doing the least harm has seemingly vanished.

    Cops are shooting to kill, not to disable. Now the rest of the concealed and trigger-happy are following along. The militarization of law enforcement is more than troubling, it is brewing a totalitarian acceptance of rapidly approaching austerity and loss of freedom.

    It is truly sad that justice will not be served.

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  3. Kabe

     /  December 14, 2012

    I have a teenage son. I recently over heard he and a friend talking about toilet papering a friends house. I had a serious conversation with him about this. I am concerned that there are too many people just waiting to shoot some one, and that this is all it would take. Needless to say I did not allow him to visit his buddy that night.. I do not condone this type of prank to begin with, I think it is just plain stupid. But it is not a crime that a teen should die over and I hope others will consider talking to their kids about such pranks.
    As far as the teen with the loud music, I do not condone that either, but he should not have died for it. It appears that this could be a formula for others to do the same. That is, arm yourself and confront someone knowing full well that a confrontation is inevitable. This could be used by many over trivial matters.

    Kabe

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    • I could easily see how an otherwise harmless (but annoying) tp stunt could turn into a dead kid these days, especially where people tote guns like cell phones. What bleeping times we live in.

      RDG

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  4. Several weeks ago I was driving my wife and me down a major street in our town (Range Line Road). This road is the most-heavily traveled in our area, a 5-lane artery marked for 45 m.p.h. As we pulled away from the Webb City Walmart heading for our video store a couple miles away I noticed a Ford Mustang pull out behind me and close in uncomfortably close. In heavy traffic I signaled a lane change to the left and moved over, the Mustang hanging even closer on my bumper and changing with me. I then proceeded south between 45 and 50 m.p.h. The Mustang’s driver, a woman, was apparently frustrated that I wasn’t going faster and and that she was stuck behind me in traffic. I know because she bounced up and down and very clearly looking at my eyes in my rear view mirror, shot me the finger.

    We like to think we are above our animal nature, but we aren’t. Road rage is only one symptom of how quickly we regress and the truth is that ready access to guns enables an enormous and disproportionate outlet to unreasoning emotion. Any civilized society ought to seriously restrict it.

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    • Jim,

      I plead guilty to the occasional road rage. And your Range Line story made me think of a fantasy I have: that there is a button on the dashboard of my car I can push to explode the head of the driver who just cut me off or who is following too closely. I have pushed that button several times, which seems to relieve a little of the rage when I realize how ridiculous that button would be. But imagine if there were an NRA for those kinds of buttons. Our streets would be littered with exploded heads, given the true statement you made about our animal nature.

      There isn’t that much moral difference between my dashboard button and the prevalence of guns on the public streets, is there?

      Duane

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      • Yep, that’s the point of course. If there were no firearms and people were restricted to swords, spears, daggers and axes there would likely be a lot less blood spilled in incidents of rage, but because there are firearms, and because 40% of all guns are acquired with no background check, and because their use only requires the pressure of a finger, the damage caused is more frequent and ever so much greater. And how ironic it is that your post here is even now being eclipsed by the horrific elementary school shooting in Connecticut. I hope we might at last be able to have a meaningful national conversation on this. Is that too much to hope for?

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  5. Duane

    I knew and worked with this kid for almost 4 years. He was born in a prison and lived with relatives most of his life but he never had real home. He was always polite and respectful to me and he never challenged me in any way. He always came to me in over used clothing, tired and often unfed. He always asked me for snacks and then after he would line up 3 chairs in my office and go to sleep. Perhaps because for a short time he felt safe. He like many of the street kids that I work with lost his life only days after he turned 18. A kid who is born in prison, raised from couch to couch without love isn’t just disadvantaged he’s condemned.

    http://floridaheadlinesnews.com/teen-shot-in-belmont-heights-estates-dies/

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    • HLG,

      I don’t have the words to respond adequately. I just don’t know what can be done on a widespread basis to make life better for people like Lonnie. From the article:

      Lonnie had just started attending a school to become an electrician. He loved boxing and had a promising future as a football player. Like so many of our young men these days, his attention was diverted by what was going on in the community, and he picked the wrong friends.

      Sometimes all of this stuff feels so overwhelming.

      Duane

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