|(Orlando Sentinel) What do hoodies, Skittles, loud music, texting, popcorn and good old American foul language have in common? The answer is senseless killings, a not-guilty verdict, a hung jury, a flawed justice system and Florida’s broken cultural ethos. |
The erosion of human compassion in Florida is truly frightening. It is especially scary in the case of young black males. If Michael Dunn were black and Jordan Davis and his friends white, would there be a hung jury or a hanging?
I’m not a liberal or a Democrat, but I clearly realize that the sleeping giant in the Florida justice system is an ingrained pathology of racism backstopped by a double dose of societal denial. That said, black-on-black violence is perhaps more problematic, and blacks and whites should be equally outraged when murder occurs in Pine Hills. Trayvon Martin, Davis and Chad Oulson were, in my opinion, murdered. George Zimmerman, Dunn and Curtis Reeves should either be imprisoned for life or sent to the gallows.
That said, I am not concerned about the outcome of the Reeves “movie shooter” trial. Why? In Florida the justice system statistically provides white victims of white-on-white gun slayings greater justice than victims of white-on-black gun-related killings. I believe that Reeves will be rightfully convicted for killing Oulson. Whether or not Oulson, a husband, father and Navy veteran, yelled, cursed, made threats or threw popcorn at Reeves will be irrelevant at the end of the day. Why? Because the jury will rightly determine that Reeves’ deadly response was criminal.
The jury verdicts in the Martin and Davis cases reek of racial animus. Why? Because Floridians naturally consider black male youth threatening and thus lack compassion for them. This fear of black male autonomy appears to be turning the self-defense Castle Doctrine into the Hassle Doctrine where: black male youth autonomy (strike one), loud hip-hop music or trips to the store (strike two) and firm verbal retorts to white-male directives (strike three) may lawfully amount to fear of “imminent death or great bodily harm,” justifying the use of deadly force. Dunn was apparently so threatened by the presence of an SUV full of unarmed black youth that he shot into it 10 times, killing Davis.
After fleeing the scene of the crime, enjoying pizza and a good night’s rest, he conveniently alleged that an unarmed child brandished a weapon and called him a Cracker. What is a Cracker anyway? I know people in Florida who consider it a nickname. Nonetheless, add using what may be perceived as a white pejorative to the new Hassle Doctrine and a hung jury or not-guilty verdict seems virtually guaranteed in Florida.
The truth of the matter is that Dunn appears to be a bigot and misogynist. A neighbor told investigators he physically and psychologically abused his first two wives, forcing one to have sex with strangers in a swingers club the night after they were married.
Dunn’s 12-member jury was composed of four white men, four white women, two black women, one Asian female and one Hispanic man, but no black men. I wonder why? It will be interesting to learn more about the debates and dynamics that underwrote the hung jury and mistrial. The jury deliberated for about 32 hours over four grueling days but remained deadlocked on first-degree murder, second-degree murder and manslaughter charges against Dunn. Why?
As things currently stand, no one has been held accountable for killing Davis, despite the fact that the evidence is overwhelming and in jailhouse letters Dunn admits to his racist proclivity of violence toward blacks. He wrote that the “jail is full of blacks and they ALL act like thugs …This may sound a bit radical but if more people would arm themselves and kill these [expletive] idiots when they’re threatening you, eventually they may take the hint and change their behavior.” In another note he wrote, “The more time I am exposed to these [black] people, the more prejudiced against them I become.”
Why aren’t more Floridians outraged by Davis’ killing? As Martin Luther King Jr. noted in reference to the St. Augustine Movement, Florida must now “bear the cross” of racial justice.