Michael Dunn, the Murderer, Remorseless Savage
The Florida criminal justice system never ceases to amaze me. Michael Dunn, 47, opened fire on a group of innocent black teens, on Friday, Nov. 23, 2012, in Jacksonville, Florida, simply because they were playing their music too loud outside of local convenience store. Michael Dunn was visiting the convenience store that evening and apparently carrying a loaded weapon. Why? No one knows. However, what we do know is that he initiated an altercation with the teens, then fatally shot 17-year-old Jordan Davis, and opened fire on three other kids in the vehicle; all in the name of “stand your ground” because he wanted them to turn their music down.
Don’t get me wrong. Everyone considers obnoxious loud thumping music in public places to be annoying. The country bumpkins with shotguns, open beer cans, and ridiculous hillbilly country noise pollution are all abound in the state of Arkansas. That juvenile, ignorant, tactless, trailer park music is aggravating to no end. However, 99.9999% of people don’t pull out a gun and open fire on children. Apparently, only homicidal maniacs like Michael Dunn from Florida have a penchant for that brand of irrationality. Sadly, it’s becoming all too commonplace.
He shot a group of innocent kids in cold blood. He murdered one, attempted to mow down the others, and then Dunn sped away traveling nearly an hour to his destination. He never called police, then once he was caught he lied to police by saying he committed his drive-by shooting on the innocent kids because he supposedly feared for his life. Really? He was so afraid that he sped away for nearly an hour and didn’t tell anyone?
Michael Dunn murdered one and attempted to murder numerous others, all innocent kids, and then had the audacity to say that he was actually afraid. (Afraid of what? Getting caught?) In fact, he was the only party with a lethal loaded weapon, and he actually pontificated that he was the one afraid for his life. (Afraid of unarmed children?) On top of that absurdity, he even went so far as to lie to police by saying that the innocent teens had an imaginary weapon, which was never found. There was no weapon. Only Michael Dunn held a weapon. Only Michael Dunn opened fire. Only Michael Dunn lied to police. Only Michael Dunn fled the scene. Only Michael Dunn initiated the altercation, shot up a car full of kids, and ran away. Yet his defense was that he was supposedly afraid?
The absurdity? Florida bought it. Well, part of it. Oddly enough he was found guilty of attempted murder, but not of the murder he actually committed. Why couldn’t the jury agree on an obvious matter? Are they intentionally being confounded by the way the law is explained, or perhaps the way it’s written? Or is the law simply unethical in it’s totality? Is “Stand Your Ground,” otherwise known as “Shoot First Think Later,” legislation a detriment to society?
Regardless, now the murderer Michael Dunn is rotting away in jail where he belongs. Unfortunately, the state of Florida missed the point. “Stand Your Ground” farcical laws are a morally polluted extrapolation of self-defense that has turned the true nature of self-defense on its head and manufactured it into an aggressor’s escape hatch.
The truth is that no one cares about basket case wackos like Michael Dunn. What’s important is the policy, or rather the perversion of morality that this policy has created. That’s what needs to be revised, and quickly, before more innocent people are murdered by nut-jobs like Michael Dunn and George Zimmerman, et. al.
“Stand your ground” has a political pedigree. It is, to put the matter simply, an idea usually embraced by Republicans and rejected by Democrats. More to the point, the laws are a special priority of the National Rifle Association, which is closely aligned with the G.O.P. The laws received a huge boost in the Republican electoral landslide of 2010, when so many statehouses turned red. And the controversy in Florida has done nothing to restrain the interest of the N.R.A.—and the G.O.P.—in embracing “stand your ground.” In Florida, there is, instead, an effort to expand it: according to Think Progress, the “new bill has been dubbed a ‘warning shot’ bill, and now a ‘threatened force’ bill, and it would extend Stand Your Ground-like immunity from both criminal and civil charges to those who point a gun at an attacker or fire a gun as a self-defense threat or warning.” The bill passed Florida’s House committee, which is controlled by Republicans, by a wide margin.
Here’s a glimpse at the sickening racial bias of farcical “Stand Your Ground” laws, otherwise known as “Shoot First” laws.
At least 20 states have laws with provisions that don’t require civilians to flee from an intruder before fighting back, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Of those, eight states, all of them in the south, specifically use the phrasing, “Stand Your Ground.” That includes Florida.
Since Martin’s killer, George Zimmerman, invoked the stand-your-ground defense, these laws have been defended by gun rights groups for empowering civilians. They’ve also been criticized by civil rights groups for encouraging violence and being racially biased.
A recent study suggests that laws may lead to more deaths. According to a June study [pdf] by researchers at Texas A&M University, the rates of murder and non-negligent manslaughter increased by 8 percent in states with Stand Your Ground laws. That’s an additional 600 homicides per year in the states that have enacted such laws.
The study, which analyzed FBI crime data nationwide from 2000-2009, says it could mean either that more people are using lethal force in self-defense, or that situations are more likely to escalate to the use of violence in states with the laws. “Regardless, the study said, “the results indicate that a primary consequence of strengthening self-defense law is increased homicide.”
How can we protect ourselves from racist, ignorant, homicidal remorseless savages like the murderer Michael Dunn? What has my beautiful America reduced itself to when it becomes legal to shoot first and ask questions later? “Stand Your Ground” laws, otherwise known as “Shoot First Think Later” laws, are senseless and morally depraved. America can do better.
So now I have to wonder, just as I always do, how can we help make the world a better place?