The jury in the Michael Dunn/Jordan Davis Murder trial convicted Michael Dunn on 4 of the 5 counts, including the attempted second degree murder of the three friends of Jordan Davis that were in the car that night with him. In Florida there is a law that anyone that fires a gun is automatically sentenced to a mandatory minimum of 20 years in prison [see Marissa Alexander Case]. For the three counts of second degree murder that Dunn was charged with he must serve 20 years in prison for each [60 years total]. Being that Dunn has to serve at least 60-75 years in jail, many people may wonder why there is STILL a public outcry regarding the verdict. Allow me to explain:
First of all, I don’t understand how someone can be convicted for the ATTEMPTED MURDER of three boys (who survived) but not the ACTUAL KILLING of a teenaged boy. One legal analyst retorted that a retrial would be a waste of time and that we should be satisfied that Dunn will likely spend the rest of his natural life in prison. Nancy Grace stated that a retrial should be given simply for the PRINCIPLE; to say that Michael Dunn did not murder Jordan Davis is flabbergasting. I am caught in the middle. I am somewhat relieved at the fact that Dunn will get time in prison but what saddens and shocks me the most is that I have become numb to this justice system; I can be satiated by any little bit of justice we can get. My mindset has become “well at least he’s getting some time in jail, regardless of what the reason is for.” The deterioration of a society begins at the point when citizens no longer fight against the injustices of society.
I feel as though we have reached that point in America. Many people weren’t even following this case because they 1) were afraid it would turn out like the Trayvon Martin murder trial 2) have become numb to the innocent killing of young black men in this country. Stating that we should be happy with the verdict Dunn got is like saying you should be okay with someone burglarizing your home and killing your son but only being convicted of the robbery. “Well at least he’s going to jail” is the remark that has been tweeted by many. Why have we become so complacent to the treatment of black men in our society? How do we sleep at night knowing that black men are an endangered species in America? I, too, have started to become desensitized to the abomination that is the American justice system. I’m no legal analyst or law pundit but I don’t understand the jury’s thought process…granted I wasn’t on the jury or present during the trial but this case is so obviously racial. The constant use by Michael Dunn of the word ‘thug’ when referring to black men is sickening. Thug has indeed become a new form of the n-word. This case is laden with racial undertones; for you to say it’s not means you still have rose-colored glasses on…and I don’t completely blame you for that. The reality is far too harsh for many of us to admit. We don’t live in this post-racial wonderland. We must continue to fight against injustices, no matter how big or small. Those who came before us fought and died for our equal treatment and the fight never ends. We must continue the quest for justice. I have stopped becoming angry with our justice system but I haven’t lost all hope…my heart just aches. There is very little solace knowing that Dunn will be in prison because justice was not served. The value of a black man’s life in America is infinitesimal. People aren’t born with prejudice..society just teaches it to us; race is a social construction. The justice system is just a reflection of our own prejudices…once we can rectify how we think and learn to control our cognitive biases, we can start making the changes we so desperately need.
It just infuriates me that we, as a country, cannot engage in open-dialogue regarding race without someone claiming that the ‘race-card’ is being thrown. NEWSFLASH: Discussing race does not equal throwing the race card. Throwing the race card would be using the prejudice(s) of another for gain or exploitation. The verdict has been read…there would be little to no gain in “playing the race card” at this point in the trial. By refusing to even talk about race in America, how are we supposed to fix the ever-gaping problem that rears it’s ugly head in every facet of our society?