To say Michael Dunn screwed the pooch would be understating things a tad.
Dunn is the 47 year old white software engineer who got into an angry exchange with four black teenagers in a gas station parking lot. The whole thing began because he thought the music being played in their vehicle was turned up too loud. Her referred to it, under oath, the other day as, "rap crap."
While some might agree with his opinion of the genre very few responsible people would go along with how Mr. Dunn handled himself and brought the argument to an end. Let's face it, firing ten rounds from a handgun, nine of which hit the teenagers' car, does seem a bit extreme.
Dunn had the weapon because--well--it is Florida and apparently every white person in Florida, no matter how brain dead, is allowed to carry one. When the smoke cleared Jordan Davis was dead in the back seat of the SUV he and his pals occupied. Young Mr. Davis didn't have a criminal record and forensic evidence proved he never attempted to exit the vehicle. In addition, despite what Mike Dunn might have thought, there weren't any weapons found on the youths, or in their car.
Besides playing their music too loud, Brother Dunn accused one of the teens of "scowling" at him. He also claimed they presented a, "clear and present danger" to him. His plea was self defense and his attorney cited the Florida stand your ground statute which allows goofs like him to pull a weapon and use it instead of doing something crazy--you know--like leaving.
It may have worked for George Zimmerman, but this time things turned out differently. After over 30 hours of deliberation the jury came back irrevocably hung on the single charge of first degree murder. However, on four lesser charges, three of attempted murder and one of, "firing a deadly missile into an occupied vehicle," they cooked his pale goose.
He won't be sentenced until March, 24th, but Michael Dunn is looking at 60 years total on the four counts--plus, States Attorney Angela Corey says she will retry him on the murder charge.
Because of the crime's racial overtones the media put a heavy emphasis on the ethnic make up of the jury, noting time and time again the panel was comprised of eight Caucasians, two African Americans, one Asian, and one Hispanic. So far none of the jurors have spoken to the press explaining why they could not come to a decision on the murder one charge, or why they didn't exercise their options to convict on lesser charges of murder two, or manslaughter.
It probably doesn't matter. Corey has promised a retrial and even if Dunn gets out on parole after 20 years, he'll be an old man with very few options remaining in what life he has left.
Apparently Mr. Dunn was utterly convinced of the righteousness of the kill. NBC News quoted his attorney, Cory Strolla as saying, "He basically said, 'How is this happening?' The counselor added, "It hasn't settled in." It will soon, especially when he takes a one way bus ride to some Florida correctional facility and has to seek out the dubious protection of The Aryan Brotherhood.
Jordan Davis' mother, Lucy McBath was quoted as saying, "...we are so grateful for the truth, we are so grateful that the jurors were able to understand the common sense of it all."
Yes, given the tyranny of the NRA, it was a refreshing change to see a group of people grasp the term, "common sense" and put it to use. That sort of critical thinking has been far too rare in this country lately.
Obviously no one can bring Jordan Davis back. He is lost to his family forever and despite what his mother said about closure in her statement to the press, there really is no such thing. She will always know her son was killed for no good reason and he will never have the opportunity to either succeed, or fail in life. Mike Dunn's fear and irresponsibility made sure of that.
Sadly, it is just a matter of time before it happens again.
Hey, this is, after all, the United States of America--and just because we can--we're all armed and dangerous. Just ask the family of Jordan Davis.
sic vita est