Jordan Davis was a human being

Michael Dunn pulled into a parking lot next to a vehicle full of black teens. He subsequently shot into that vehicle full of black teens because when he (as a white guy) told them to turn down their “thug music” they were uppity about the fact that they were there first and were not his inferiors to be ordered around. In that action, he murdered Jordan Davis. In short, like asshats have done for far too long, Dunn lynched a young black male for the crime of “disrespect”. He used a gun instead of a rope, but it was a lynching nonetheless.

In a small measure of comfort, a jury in Florida found Dunn “guilty of three counts of second-degree attempted murder for getting out of his car and firing several times at the Dodge Durango sport utility vehicle in which Jordan Davis, 17, was killed. Three other teenagers, the subjects of the attempted murder charges, were in the car but were not struck. Mr. Dunn continued to fire at the vehicle even as it pulled away. On the attempted murder convictions, he could be sentenced to 60 years in prison.”

I hope that Dunn serves out what is tantamount to a life sentence. I really do. Moreover, I understand why the jury didn’t find him guilty of first degree murder, since his murder of Jordan Davis was an impulse rather than premeditated and he had not singled Jordan Davis out for death. Any of the teens would have sated Dunn’ need to punish black men for not obeying him with a nice “Yes Massa” as lagniappe. However, I cannot fathom why “The jury also failed to reach agreement on lesser charges that are automatically included in jury instructions. Those were second- and third-degree murder and manslaughter.”

There is no way it wasn’t at the very least, voluntary manslaughter. Voluntary manslaughter, as explained by Wikipedia, is “(often incorrectly referred to as third-degree murder), sometimes called a "Heat of Passion" murder, is any intentional killing that involved no prior intent to kill, and which was committed under such circumstances that would "cause a reasonable person to become emotionally or mentally disturbed." Both this and second-degree murder are committed on the spot, but the two differ in the magnitude of the circumstances surrounding the crime. For example, a bar fight that results in death would ordinarily constitute second-degree murder. If that same bar fight stemmed from a discovery of infidelity, however, it may be mitigated to voluntary manslaughter.”

Personally, I think Dunn is guilty of second degree murder. He killed another human being during an argument. I could see how a jury could worry themselves down to voluntary manslaughter, though. They could have thought Dunn’s fear of black teens who playing “thug music” mitigated the circumstances. Granted, this worry would have been a racially motivated excuse based on the fact young black males are inherently dangerous weapons or a threat simply by existing, but I could see what the jury was thinking.

But no homicide verdict at all?

What the jury has said, in effect, is that the slaying of Jordan Davis was not manslaughter because Davis was not a “man” in the legal sense. They may not have said it out loud, or understood just what kind of message they were sending, but the jury has communicated that Jordan Davis’s death was not really a homicide because it was not a case of a human killing a fellow human being. Jordan Davis, by virtue of his skin color, was subhuman.

I could scream and rail unto the heavens about this hellish bullshit, but I will never say it as well as Ta-Nehisi Coates has already said it.

If I, as a middle class white woman, can feel weary and defeated by this atrocious dismissible of black life once again, what in the name of God must it feel like to actually be a black person? To be the black parents of a son who could be shot down like a dog and no one will acknowledge it as the vile loss of life that it is? I have friends who are black couple with two handsome sons, and they don’t let their teen wear a hoodie JUST IN CASE. Yes, this loving family restricts their smart, sweet-natured, National Merit Scholar son’s wardrobe in the hopes it will help keep him a little safer from white men who might shoot him. What the fuck does that feel like? I know the rage I feel that my daughters are less safe because of their gender, but it isn’t the same thing. No one disputes their humanity.

Jesus wept.


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