Because my life has been chaotic over the last couple of months, I haven't really followed the trial of Michael Dunn. I don't feel qualified to have much of an informed opinion about the case, but I did feel that Mr. Dunn did not have an adequate defense for opening fire on a car of black teenagers and killing 17 year-old Jordan Davis. I see that the jury was unable to agree to a verdict on the murder charge, but was willing to convict Dunn on four counts, including three for attempted second-degree murder. Based on those convictions, Dunn will spend the rest of his life in prison, so I don't think it is even necessary to have another trial on the murder charge. I suppose if Jordan Davis's family insisted upon a new trial, the prosecutors would be obligated to pursue one, but it would be a waste of money. This jury didn't deliver a perfect verdict, but they delivered an adequate one. Sometimes, that's how our system of justice works. The important thing is that the jury made clear that you can't shoot at black kids just because they make you nervous. That was really the principle at stake in this trial, and it's why people compared it to the George Zimmerman case.Is the only principle at "stake in this trial" whether a white person will even be charged with murder in Florida for killing a black person? Whether a Jury of mainly white people managed to even grasp that it might be a bad idea for men to shoot up cars full of teenagers? That's setting the bar for our principles as a people really pretty low. In addition it matters to me, and it should matter to all of us, that the Jury basically was forced to accept the notion that Dunn's only real crime was shooting up a vehicle and nearly killing lots of kids--that actually killing the kid he claimed to be aiming at was, in some sense, justifiable because a black child--and I have a 17 year old who I still consider a child--is considered so naturally, culturally, dangerous that Dunn can claim to be in fear for his life regardless of the actual circumstances of the shooting. If Dunn had asserted that all the kids were armed would he have gotten off even for shooting blindly into the car? Florida's SYG law is a horrendous, destructive, immoral law and as a country we ought to be protesting it. Under it, as far as I can see, a lunatic gun owner is immunized from his actions even if his actions are based on a complete misapprhension of the situation. If an armed paranoid hears a car backfire is he legally immunized against shooting up the car and its occupants? If Adam Lanza walked into a highschool and opened fire on the teenagers there and survived to claim that he was in fear for his life because, obviously, teenagers...am I right? would the state of Florida charge him?
Sunday, February 16, 2014
Could Adam Lanza Have Been Convicted If He'd Shot Up a Florida Highschool Full of Black Teenagers?
I'm a big fan of Booman Tribune and read it every day but I have to say I'm puzzled and shocked by this post on the Dunn Case:
Posted by aimai at 10:43 AM