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The Blue & Gray Press | October 17, 2017

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Dunn’s case reminiscent of the same old stereotypes alive and well

By KATIE REDMILES

On November 23, 2012 Jordan Davis was shot and killed. The reasoning given behind his brutal murder is that he and his friends were playing rap music too loudly, that he seemed threatening and an attack was imminent.

It does not take a person of extraordinary intelligence to understand the real reason why Davis was killed, and it is about time someone discusses it openly. Davis was shot because Michael Dunn, a middle aged white man, was afraid of him and his friends based on the stereotypes associated with his race.

Dunn claims it was self-defense that made him shoot at Davis’ SUV nine times, and he never intended for anyone to be killed.

“My intent was to stop the attack, not necessarily end a life,” he testified. “It just worked out that way,” said Dunn according to CNN reporter Ed Payne.

Dunn shot at a car full of teens only a few feet away and claims he did not intend to kill anyone. With violence all over the news and in the media, it is hard for one to believe that a man of Dunn’s age in possession of a gun did not factor in the possibility of death.

Furthermore, the attack of which he spoke seems never to have occurred. Based on Dunn’s and eyewitness testimony, said CNN, Dunn asked the teens to turn down their music and they got mouthy. He then chose to fire his weapon.

He later claimed that he thought he saw Davis holding a gun through the window, yet when police searched the car all they found was “a basketball, basketball shoes, clothing, a camera tripod and cups inside the teenagers’ Durango. There was no gun in the vehicle,” said Payne in the CNN report.

Earlier this week, Dunn was put on trial for the charges of attempted second-degree murder against the three surviving teens and first-degree murder for the killing of 17-year-old Jordan Davis. He was found guilty of the three counts of second-degree murder. For Davis’ life, the jury was hung.

It was almost 50 years ago that the public was first introduced, through Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird,” to Atticus Finch’s plea to the jury to do what they know is right, what is as clear as black and white.

Dunn killed Davis, a young boy who will never again listen to music with his friends at a gas station while buying gum and cigarettes. What exactly is threatening to an adult white male about a few young boys in a public gas station listening to music? Sadly, the only explanation left, and it is the same explanation that plagued the nation earlier this year when Trayvon Martin’s death was in the spotlight, is that Dunn felt threatened because Davis was African American.

To let Dunn go unpunished for the murder he committed, and for the reasons he committed it, sends the message yet again to young African American boys that their death will mean nothing in the eyes of the law if someone deems them “threatening.” Threatening, according to Florida law, includes hoodies and loud music.

It would be surprising and beyond ignorant if people believe these were the reasons for the murders committed by Dunn and George Zimmerman, Martin’s killer.

Even though both men will face difficult and trying lives as a result of these trials, there is a larger problem then not having them serve their fair sentence, and that is that the country of the free and equal continues to see race in the courts.

Start talking about it, stop ignoring it and then maybe this country can start to reform.

Teenagers should not be afraid that an adult will shoot at them for simply being themselves.

As citizens of this country and fellow members of the human race, it is time to let it be known that what occurred stemmed from racism, what continues to be decided on these cases is because of racism and similar cases will go the same way as a result of racism unless people speak out and change the backward mindset that is plaguing the justice system.