It is becoming inevitable. It's a story that seems to repeat itself in grim detail. Another African-American child has been shot by a coward. A middle- aged Caucasian man who is laying the ground work in order to use Florida's controversial "stand your ground" law to defend his actions. The latest victim is 17-year-old Jordan Russell Davis. Davis who was unarmed, was shot and killed by 45-year-old Michael David Dunn outside of a convenience store in Jacksonville, Florida after an argument involving loud music. On this past Friday night Dunn and his girlfriend who were in town for his son's wedding, pulled up next to a car with 4 teens inside playing loud music. While his girlfriend was in the store he told them to turn the music down, an argument ensued. Dunn then drew his weapon, and fired 8 or 9 shots at the vehicle hitting Davis twice as he sat in the back seat. The other teens were not injured. Once his girlfriend came out of the store, Dunn took off leaving Davis broken, and bloody at the scene. That night, Dunn (an avid gun collector), spent the night with his girlfriend at a near by hotel. Perhaps he would have literally gotten away with murder had it not been for attentive bystanders who jotted down his license plate number. Police arrested Dunn at his home in Satellite Beach, Florida the following morning, on one charge of murder and three charges of attempted murder.
On Monday Dunn pled not guilty in Brevard county court stating that he felt threatened so he took action. This is the premise for the "stand your ground" law.
Davis, a High School junior had just gotten a job a McDonalds to make some extra money.
"At Thanksgiving the day before his death, he said he was thankful to God for his family." His teary-eyed mother, Lucia McBath, said in a recent interview.
She also said that the fact that Dunn drove off after the shooting was unconscionable.
Ron Davis, the victim's father, added,
"I was looking forward as a parent to being there when he got married, and being there when he found love. All the things that I'm not going to be able to do is what pains me."
Over the years I've heard this story far too many times. It is one that has become too familiar. The details, the year, and the circumstances may be different but the tragedies are all the same. Young African-American men killed or brutalized for no justifiable reason.
The fact of the matter is that this world is never going to change, and while we cannot control the actions of others we can certainly control our own. It seems as if our youth have no concept or idea as to how to think critically or analytically. Critical thinking means that you are able to look at a situation or occurrence, and make reasonable assumptions based on both the known and the unknown. Analytical thinking is the ability to effectively analyze a situation, and draw conclusions that are conducive to accurate assessments. These concepts seem to be lost on our youth yet they are essential to every day life. Questions like ("What might happen if I keep arguing with this stranger?") or ("Why does this man feel brave enough to argue with a car full of black teenagers?"), require a certain thought process. Knowing that for every action, there is a reaction requires depth of thought in order to gauge the possible reactions. They must realize that the reaction can sometimes be fatal. For the victims and their families. Did Jordan Davis deserve to be murdered for playing loud music? Definitely not! Michael Dunn is a cold-blooded, callous, murderer who will probably reside in a special place in hell.
I am not a perfect man, nor was I a perfect teenager, and it is only by the grace of God that I am alive today. My goal is to help all young African-American boys and men live. I specify because we have overwhelmingly become the victims of trigger happy, gun toting lunatics in fear of our skin color. As Black people in America we must think about our actions, and choose our reactions carefully because failure to do so could cost us our lives, a consequence which is more prevalent in our life span than any other human beings on the planet. We have to give our children the tools they need to avoid being just another victim of social injustice. There are some jewels of wisdom that come with age, but in order to age, you must live to get older.