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Dumb Intelligence
2/19/2014 3:35:34 PM

By Beverly Gadson-Birch

Will someone please tell me what in the hamsandwich is happening in Florida in the case of Michael Dunn, a 47 year old white software developer, who shot into a carload of teenagers killing 17 year old Jordan Davis because he found their loud music offensive? He referred to their music as “thug” music.

When I think of a software developer I don’t see color, I see intelligence. So, what was Dunn thinking? Did he think he could kill a teen and get off using the “Stand Your Ground” defense? Well, he did get off in a sense because the jury did not find him guilty of murder. After all, these teens were just thugs. All Dunn had to say is one of them had a gun or they threatened him. Instead, Dunn was found guilty of three counts of attempted murder because he fired into a fleeing car with four teens killing one. Dunn’s defense was he feared for his life because he “thought he saw a gun being pointed at him”. Had he gone about his business and left the teens alone, nothing including the confrontation would have happened.

What makes the Dunn case such a compelling case for murder is his attitude after the incident. At what point did Dunn know he killed one of the fleeing teens? He shot at the vehicle 10 times striking it 9 times. He was so unmoved by the incident that he went to kept his reservation at a bed and breakfast inn with his girlfriend, ate pizzas and went to sleep. He never reported the incident to the police. How can you fire your gun 10 times at teens or anybody for that matter and not report it to police? What am I missing here?

This is not the first time we have seen a Stand Your Ground defense render an inappropriate verdict. Travon Martin was murdered and his murderer, George Zimmerman, walked away a free man. Ironically, both youths were 17 years old and in both instances they were minding their own business. Both were being pursued by adults who should have known better. In Zimmerman’s case, he was told by the 911 dispatcher to return to his vehicle and not follow Martin. In Davis’ case, he and the other teens were fleeing the scene after the “dumb” software developer pulled his gun and began firing.

Do these cases really fall under the Stand Your Ground defense? How is it that the instigator can cry wolf when he was the one selling wolf tickets? In other words, you start the fight and when you get your butt kicked, you run for your gun and your defense is you feared for your life. The Stand Your Ground defense is being used in the wrong context of the law. If either of these cases were reversed, both teens would be in jail for life never to see the light of day again. Whoever said justice was blind was certainly telling the truth. However, Justice is only blind when it comes to “just us”.

And to think I almost made Florida my home. I love Ft. Lauderdale but I loved Charleston better. We have also had some controversial cases in Charleston as well. One case that stands out is the Singletary case. I didn’t know Singletary but I knew his father. We worked together for a number of years. His father was an educator and a solid figure in the community.

Singletary was a guest at Shuler’s home where the incident took place. Shuler was his friend. They were drinking, having a good time and things got out of hand. By all accounts Shuler assaulted Singletary by slapping him twice. The tussle began and Singletary got the best of him. It was when Singletary let go of him that he got his gun and shot him. Was Shuler in clear and present danger at that point? Would Singletary have been justified in pulling out a gun and killing Shuler because he feared for his life? Y’all might not agree with me but I think this Stand Your Ground law needs to go back to committee to fine tune what constitutes clear and present danger.

In the case of the 76 year old Ladson man who shot and killed a 25 year old who accosted him early in the morning with a stun gun in his driveway, that’s what I call clear and present danger. First there is the age difference; and, then he was trespassing on another man’s property armed with a stun gun. Obviously the young man was up to no good. This appears to be a clear case of Stand Your Ground.

Why is Black life so irrelevant? It doesn’t matter if it’s a black or white life. What it boils down to is this: if you can’t give life, you shouldn’t take it. Don’t put all black youths in the same bag. Being Black does not make them “thugs”. White youths play loud music as well but does that make them thugs? When are we going to take away the negative stereotypes we heap upon folks? Would Mr. Dunn have displayed the same type of behavior toward white youths playing loud heavy metal music as he did the black teens? Why did he put everything on the line? Why did “intelligence” act dumb that day? In most states there are ordinances against playing loud music in public. Didn’t “intelligence” know that? I am sure “intelligence” could have dialed 911 on his smart phone and reported the incident. Instead, “intelligence” decided to take matters into his own hands. Intelligent people think before they act. They think about the repercussion of their actions. Dumb intelligence is when you act before you think. Are y’all with me?

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