Jordan Davis Shot Dead in Florida

Another unarmed black teenager has been gunned down in Florida. Will this play out the same way the Trayvon Martin killing did?

Second verse, same as the first. In an argument over loud music, Jordan Davis was shot to death by Michael Dunn, who claims he was acting in self-defense, reacting to seeing Davis and friends brandish a gun that, it turns out, never existed.

Dunn evidently initiated the encounter, telling Davis and his friends to turn down the music in their car. Yeah, they were at a gas station, and Dunn could have waited two minutes and just left, but no, he’s a middle-aged white man and they’re a bunch of black teenagers, and that means it’s his world, not theirs, and they’re intruding on it. Dunn says he then felt threatened by the reaction of the teenagers, and pulled out the gun he was carrying for just such an occasion, blasting away at the car, snuffing out a human life, and then fleeing the scene with his girlfriend because they were scared they were being chased by gang members.

Let me repeat that. Dunn opened fire on a carload of unarmed kids, killing one, and then ran and hid because he was scared of them.

I’ve known guys like Dunn. I think most of us have. He’s the type who carries a gun, and has a lot more at home, because he hopes to use them. He is so shiveringly afraid of the imaginary enemies he thinks surround him, most of whom are black or brown, that the only way he can get through the day is with vivid fantasies of how one day he will have an excuse to cry self-defense after killing someone.

Killing someone for playing their radio too loud. And then running away. And I’ll bet you folding money he still thinks of himself as the unjustly persecuted good guy in this story.

What’s worse, over the coming days and weeks, we’ll see plenty more affluent middle-aged white guys coming forward in the media to defend that narrative. We did last time, we will this time, and we will next time. Unless anyone seriously believes there won’t be a next time?

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About Noah Brand

Noah Brand is an Editor-at-Large at Good Men Project, and possibly also a cartoon character from the 1930s. His life, when it is written, will read better than it lived. He is usually found in Portland, Oregon, directly underneath a very nice hat.

Comments

  1. I’m a white man who defended George Zimmerman’s actions, to a degree. There’s a huge difference between that case and this one (assuming, perhaps too quickly, that we have all of the facts). Trayvon Martin threw the first punch against Zimmerman. He attacked Zimmerman. That’s far and away different than the white man here firing shots into a car that was playing loud music.

    So I think it’s incorrect to conflate the two as if the circumstances are the same. I paid very close attention to the Zimmerman/Martin case as it was unfolding. I was completely sympathetic to the Martin “side” as the circumstances of the case were being dealt out by the media. But as the circumstances became more clear – as we learned more about the timeline of events and the injuries that Zimmerman did in fact suffer – my opinion, like many, many others, flipped. When people thought that Martin was clearly the victim, they viewed him purely in sympathetic terms. Only when the facts didn’t meet the narrative did that change.

    • we still don’t have definitive evidence as to who began the actual physical altercation between Martin and Zimmerman—this, I assume, is largely what the trial will hinge on.

    • Who needs evidence when you can rip on affluent white men? Just bring out the Jump to Conclusions Mats!

      It worked so well with Duke Lacrosse, Trayvon Martin… etc…right?

    • Weather Trayvon threw the first punch or not (I really don’t think he did) he didn’t have a gun! A good old fist fight might have worked but Zimmerman had a gun, no match. U people are gonna believe what u want and so will I but with or without a conviction God will take care of the guilty in both cases along with those that have been apart of the wrong that has been done and that I Fully believe. May God have Mercy on all of their souls!

      • it’s a bit more complicated than that. if trayvon initiated the altercation, overpowered zimmerman and zimmerman shot martin then you can’t reasonably call it murder. but if zimmerman initiated the altercation and was overpowered and then killed the boy then it’s definitely murder. it does matter who initiated the altercation and chuck doesn’t have the answer to that, and his definitive statements discredit him. you can look at his blog to see further what his agenda is.

  2. I would have to agree with Chuck that this case seems to be different in many ways than the Zimmerman/Martin incident. As the facts are now it is hard to defend or sympathize with Dunn or defend his actions. It’s hard to claim self defense when you are outside a vehicle and those you are “afraid of” are inside of the vehicle. While a vehicle can be used as a weapon, those inside of it are far more vulnerable as they have nowhere to go to take cover from someone who shoots into the vehicle.

    As its currently being reported I don’t see anything that would qualify this man for the “stand your ground” provision. I would also say that the only thing in common between this and the Zimmerman/Martin case is that a young black male is dead. While its easy to stop there, we need to look further at the evidence as it comes out to be able to determine further if they are one and the same. On the surface though my opinion would be that this new incident is much more worth the criticism and outrage that the previous case received.

  3. Hmmmm>

    First – I’ve known guys like Dunn. I think most of us have. He’s the type who carries a gun, and has a lot more at home, because he hopes to use them. He is so shiveringly afraid of the imaginary enemies he thinks surround him, most of whom are black or brown, that the only way he can get through the day is with vivid fantasies of how one day he will have an excuse to cry self-defense after killing someone.

    So may I enquire when you have been to Mr Dunn’s Home – or interviewed him or family members to know so much about him – the contents of his home – and so be able to write in this way?

    So did someone see the shooting, cos they way they is speaking it’s from an eye witness perspective and they really need to let the Police Know they were there so proper interviews can take place.

    I suspect that there is a little issue here of Over Stepping the mark and substituting opinion and bias for something called reality. P^/

    I have not axe to grind on race issues, though I am quite aware of how racism gets played out on so many levels. I do find it interesting that there are very high quality and detailed photo images of Michael Dunn on the net – but there is rather a prominent, statistically aberrational and even colour blind issue of so few pictures of Jordan Davis about.

    Now if Jordan Davis had been the one in the orange suit there would have been whole Memorial sites with pictures of the White Guy out there!

    However , the main focus of this case is not race – not even gender – it is the law described as “stand your ground” – because that is where the power to shoot with impunity and kill is coming from – and the law does not say white guys can use it and others not.

    That law is dangerosue because anyone can use it as justification for killing on any grounds – and it ls open to abuse on racial grounds – gender grounds – sexuality grounds – age grounds… in fact anyone can hide hate and antagonism behind it.

    Maybe that is where the focus needs to be and not on what some wish to present as presumed fact about other people that they have never met!

    • Thanks for another thought provoking comment and a fantastic distillation of what’s really important here. From my read the stand your ground law isnt going to protect him.

      Now back to your regularly scheduled bashing and generalization of white, middle class (or even worse afflluent!) men. From reading here you would think middle aged, middle class white men commit the majority of gun violence in this country.

  4. I think we need to avoid trying to turn every single instance of a middle aged white guy killing a young black guy into another Treyvon Martin analogy. Just like the original a lot of snap judgements were made by people before the details became clear. And even if it turns out the same (which I don’t think it will) all that does is erase the individual event.

    These cases aren’t a Widows 7 taskbar where we can just collapse all the similar buttons together.

    From what I see of this Dunn/Davis case Dunn had nowhere near the seeming justification that Zimmerman had. It seems that at least Zimmerman was actually attacked by Martin to which he reacted. Dunn appearently went so far as to see a gun that was not actually there.

  5. Chuck, the argument in favor of Zimmerman, for me, stops at the point where he was instructed to not leave his vehicle and to stop following Trayvon. The alleged comment by Trayvon that “You’re gonna die tonight”…I mean really, who says that besides movie villains. Bottom line, Martin would be alive if he hadn’t been profiled by an overzealous wannabe cop. Fortunately, Zimmerman will have his day in court even though it’s statistically accurate to say that the loss of a black life is not equal to the loss of a white life in our justice system. In reference to the article, what authority did Dunn have to tell some kids to turn down their music? It seems like another totally avoidable situation and even perhaps another guy with a gun who was gonna show those kids who has the real power. Fucking cowardly, if you ask me.

  6. Austin Lord says:

    The only thing in common is a young black man is dead?

    In both cases, a racist man carrying a gun approached someone that they incorrectly perceived as a threat, and created a situation. Zimmerman was told by the 911 operator not to pursue Martin, but, feeling scared and carrying a gun, he approached him anyway. I don’t buy self-defense when the killer created a situation in which he knew he would feel threatened before anything even happened. In both cases, the men made an excuse to approach these individuals.

    You really don’t see similarities between Dunn and Zimmerman?

    • Exactly. Both situations were started by the gun owners, knowing they had their guns. Stand Your Ground is an excuse for people to murder others. That law must be changed. And I am wondering more and more these days where a “well regulated” “militia” comes in. These murders are not a militia, and far from well-regulated. Ditto mass murders with assault weapons. The NRA has way too much power, so America has way too many gun murders.

    • GirlGlad4TheGMP says:

      I read this article and only one thought came to mind. Not the race of the perp and victim, not Trayvon & George, but why on God’s green Earth would you purposefully engage persons you believed might be a credible threat in the first place? I don’t go around looking for trouble, most sane people don’t, and a threat assessment takes seconds. Why did Dunn feel it necessary to approach this carload of kids at a gas station? Even more troubling was why he says he did…it’s a public space, not owned by Dunn, and certainly a free (at least in theory) country…why did Dunn think it appropriate to dictate the behaviour of a bunch of kids?
      There’s no long-term effect because you’re at a gas station for a short amount of time. It’s not like say, yelling to your downstairs neighbour to keep the noise down after midnight.

      I’m not going to drop this down to race nor say I know that Dunn’s intentions were to ultimately cause injury, but the man did intend to Lord over someone that day…and the result is that people died. I hope justice is served.

    • Austin,

      Zimmerman shouldn’t have gotten himself into that situation, but there is no indication that he was going to go and shoot Martin. He was perhaps emboldened by his possession of a gun as well as his position as a neighborhood watchman.

      Those facts combined with the immediate interaction he had with Martin. Martin didnt’ know Zimmerman had a gun, and it seems that he physically attacked Zimmerman which then led to the weapon being fired. Stupid decisions compounded upon stupid decisions. Both in the case can be seen to have instigated it, depending on what you consider instigation. Is watching someone walk through the neighborhood and then walking to look for that person instigation? Or is throwing a punch instigation? It was a tragedy and it is sad that Martin died. But to just be 100% sold on the idea that Zimmerman was a racist asshole and was the only one involved who did anything wrong is misguided, IMO.

  7. One other dissimilarity between the cases: Zimmerman isn’t white–oh wait, that’s right, he’s a “white Hispanic.” (For those of you who don’t know, a white Hispanic is a Hispanic whom the media would really prefer to be white, as “white guy shoots black teen” is much more newsworthy than “Hispanic guy shoots black teen.”)

    How about good old-fashioned waiting for all the facts to come in before leaping to conclusions? I know, reporting facts is hard work, and it’s much easier and more fun to just spout your semi-informed opinions…

  8. The Wet One says:

    Didn’t get the notice that open season on young black kids had arrived?

    Who’s been picking off my flyers? If I see that punk I’m gonna give him a dose of lead. He’s scaring me to death!

    ;-)

  9. wellokaythen says:

    Racism is still, undeniably, a force in our society. I don’t discount that possibility.

    But, let’s look at all the possibilities here. If there was any kind of “–ism” at the root of this, it has to include the fact that he was male. I don’t think we can ignore his gender any more than we can his race. He wasn’t just a “black teenager.” He was a “black male teenager.” If there are larger social stigmas at work, it’s probably two at once, being black and being male.

    I honestly think it’s less likely he would have been shot if he had been a black girl and not a black boy. I doubt anyone would be so quick to imagine a gun in his hands if he was either white or femlae. Same with Trayvon Martin, who was shot for being male as much or more than he was shot for being black.

    After all, as people on a site about Good Men, I think we should not lose sight of the obvious fact that he was male, and that may have been a big factor in his death.

    • After all, as people on a site about Good Men, I think we should not lose sight of the obvious fact that he was male, and that may have been a big factor in his death.

      I would also point out another fact and Massive Factor – MASSIVE – which unfortunately does pass a great many by, becasue to them it’s so obvious it has to actually be stated – actively stated – to get it noticed at all!

      Even then it can’t be seen, recognised or even found significant – a contributing factor even – by so many.

      It’s so obvious and so important it gets frighting when people hear it. They act like computers with defective code and just clear the buffers – it goes right out of their head and does not get considered.

      In many ways the immutables of Age – Race – Sex/Gender are all red herrings and distracting form what is a bigger issue and where real change is possible. But, so many prefer to use the red herring scape goats and not look at the bigger and Mutable issue – they run away and blame things that can’t be changed rather than changing what can!

      The Simple fact is that he was killed in The USA.

      If he had been young black and male with other young males in a car in so many other countries, his risk of mortality by gun shot would have been around Zero.

      The Simple fact is that he was killed in The USA.

      I don’t have the exact figures to hand (and I’m not going to rifle the Interpol databases and sources to collate them again) but the last time I had the figures circa 2006 it was 30000 gun deaths per year in the USA Vs an equivalent population in countries where guns are not purchasable by mail order and over the counter in literally 10 minutes.

      The Simple fact is that he was killed in The USA.

      USA = 30000 gun deaths per year – equivalent Population with UK + France + Germany + Switzerland + Sweden + Japan + Australia + Denmark and maybe Lichtenstein and Monaco for good measure … annual death rates by gun =100 …. for all of them COMBINED! .

      30000 Vs 100.

      The Simple fact is that he was killed in The USA.

      So have a think – there is Michael Dunn sitting in down town London and he gets pissed at the black kids in the car with loud music. What does he do with no gun to pull? Throw a loaded Air Freshener?

      The Simple fact is that he was killed in The USA.

      .. and then add in an insane law which means if you can get away with claiming “stand your ground” literally means you can get away with murder. Hell I’ve even seen it in storylines from US Prime Time like Desperate Housewives … and It was the Angelic Bree Van de Kamp who was saying she could shoot and get way with it!

      The Simple fact is that he was killed in The USA.

      You can make the some central and pertinent point 6 times and guess what – it will be invisible because it is the USA.

      If he has been in so many other countries his chances of ending up dead as a young black man in a car with other young black men would have been Zero – or as near as dammit it should have been.

      The Simple fact is that he was killed in The USA. It’s just so obvious it gets ignored.

      The Victim was Young – Black – Male – In the USA. Now which one could be changed with ease – his genetics, his ethnic origin, his date of birth or living in the USA. Hell – some might even consider making the USA a safer place for people to live Period , but why bother with that when it’s easier to use the immutables of race, age and sex as scapegoats?

      The Simple fact is that he was killed in The USA.

      • THANK YOU!!!!!!! Brilliant. Spot-on. Bingo.

        Wellokaythen, YES…black PLUS male.

        MediaHound, gun culture in the US is INSANE.

        Black + male + USA = death sentence for many individuals

        Ease of owning assault weapons = mass murders of men, women, children of all races

        ENOUGH!!! You know what I really hate about the country I love?? Our narcissism…our confidence we’ve got it all figured out…our self-absorption…our inability to look outside our own borders at what is working in other countries. “Rugged individualism?” Maybe. It’s also stupidity and arrogance.

  10. Tray did not throw the first punch; however, if he did not he should have after having this racist monster attack out of nowhere? duh!!!! I have seen racists like zimmerman before; they murder behind the law because they think that just because the law is unjust and cruel toward blacks, the door is opened wide for them to kill blacks and folk of color who are just as hated, whenever and for what ever reason they wish…..who cares about justice for a black youth or child???NO ONE!!! Look at the 7 yr old black child gunned down by a white man just for delivering the newspaper; or the racist doc caught on tape counting NEWBORNS in the hospital and everytime he got to a black newborn child; 1,2,3,4,jail, 1,2,3,4 jail…..who does that? as we say in the islands…a sick mind, mon! As long as these sick cowards are being enjoyed and allowed to walk free after murders like these, it will never stop!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] At GMP, Noah Brand misses the mark worse than Ta-Nehisi: What’s worse, over the coming days and weeks, we’ll see plenty more affluent middle-aged white guys coming forward in the media to defend that narrative. We did last time, we will this time, and we will next time. Unless anyone seriously believes there won’t be a next time? As of yet, no middle aged white men have come forward to defend the shooting of Jordan Davis.  Why?  Because people (including middle aged white men) are fair-minded.  If Davis was shot by a man who complained about loud music, it seems clear to most that the complainant went too far.  That’s different than George Zimmerman seeing a stranger in his neighborhood after a series of burglaries.  So if middle aged white men are fair in the instance of Jordan Davis, maybe they were being fair in the case of Trayvon Martin.  As you’ll recall, almost everyone believed that Zimmerman was guilty, full stop, in the first couple of weeks of reporting on the case.  The pendulum swung as it became clear that the narrative didn’t match the evidence of the case. [...]

  2. [...] neighborhood. Bet you won’t hear that on the news, no they’re too busy talking about Jordan Davis and Trayvon Martin, no one ever wants to talk about reverse [...]

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