People Kill People

[Content Note: Gun violence; death; racism.]

In February of this year, Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by George Zimmerman in an incident that stank of racism and underscored the obscenity of Florida's gun laws—specifically the "Stand Your Ground" self-defense statute.

Last Friday, in a shooting eerily reminiscent of the murder of Trayvon Martin, Brevard County Floridian Michael David Dunn, a middle-aged white man, killed 17-year-old black teenager Jordan Russell Davis after an "exchange of words" over the volume of music emanating from a car in which Davis was a passenger.
Michael David Dunn, 45, and his girlfriend were in Jacksonville Friday for Dunn's son's wedding when they stopped at a convenience store, Jacksonville sheriff's Lt. Rob Schoonover said.

Jordan Russell Davis, 17, and several other teenagers were sitting in a sport utility vehicle in the parking lot when Dunn pulled up next to them in a car and asked them to turn down their music, Schoonover said.

Jordan and Dunn exchanged words, and Dunn pulled a gun and shot eight or nine times, striking Jordan twice, Schoonover said. Jordan was sitting in the back seat. No one else was hurt.

Dunn's attorney Monday said her client acted responsibly and in self-defense. She did not elaborate.
That's a real shame, because I'd love to hear some elaboration on how shooting into a parked vehicle, then driving the fuck away, is an act of self-defense.

There will, of course, be all sorts of explanations and rationalizations for how this is not an incident of violent racism. I don't know all the facts, but I do want to make this observation: There may have been a good reason for Dunn to ask a car full of teenagers to turn down their music. Maybe he needed to make an emergency phone call and the music was so loud that even with rolled-up windows, he couldn't make the call, and there were no other spots in that parking lot to pull into, and nowhere quiet to walk, and everything in that moment depended on quiet in that exact space.

But I doubt it.

What I suspect is that Dunn felt, not necessarily consciously, that his age and his race and his gender gave him the right to tell a bunch of kids, at least one of whom was a young black man, who were there first, to do what he wanted them to do. And he got miffed when they wouldn't, when they failed to acknowledge and defer to his privilege.

I could be wrong about that.

But desperation generally doesn't pull a trigger "eight or nine times." Rage does. Resentment does. Entitlement does.

And it's the same thing that generally drives the fuck away from the scene of killing a teenager who got mouthy about turning down the volume on a car stereo, and then claims self-defense.

[H/T to Jordan Banks.]

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