A life was not lost. A life was taken. Stolen. Jordan Davis did not live to celebrate his 19th birthday today. He was shot by Michael Dunn. Michael Dunn drove away from the scene like this was a normal event. I don’t understand. I don’t understand any of it.
The jury verdict is in. Dunn has been convicted of four out of five charges, but the main charge of murder in the first degree has been declared a mistrial. I don’t understand why yet, but legal analysis will surely be published soon.
“This defendant was disrespected by a 17-year-old teenager, and he lost it. He wasn’t happy with Jordan Davis’ attitude. What was his response? ‘You’re not going to talk to me like that,’” Wolfson said. “He took these actions because it was premeditated. It was not self-defense.”
I’m a parent. We all have moments of anger over the behaviour of teenagers. We don’t shoot them. This trial carries headlines of “the loud music trial” in much of the reporting in the USA. It isn’t a “loud music trial” it is a murder trial. A teenager was shot and killed.
Many white feminists wonder why women of colour don’t find much in the feminist movement for them. I was discussing this with a friend this morning before this verdict came in, so I am reminded of that conversation now. Racism is a far greater threat. As a mother of children of colour, I can tell you what I am sitting here worrying about the most. Not will I manage to score a seat on the board, my main worry is will my kids live to their old age. Will I see my grandchildren?
Yes, both Trayvon and Jordan lost their lives in the USA, not Australia. Yes, I know the USA has bigger problems than we do, but that doesn’t stop a mother worrying. Our problems in Australia are far from non-existent and we know that all too well.
Huffington Post reports the following words were used by Dunn in a letter from jail to his grandmother:
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.
If that is his mindset, he probably did think he had every right in the world to silence people “unlike him”. Or was he just trying to back up his version of events that he had been threatened? I don’t know, but I DO know he advocates killing.
I haven’t pulled all my thoughts together yet on this case at all. I’m just writing what I feel at this time. I do know this, like every other mother of a non-white child living in a predominantly white society, I feel fear deep in my gut. I sure as hell know feminism fades in importance when the lives of my children are a more immediate concern.
Please visit the Walk With Jordan Foundation and support the work of Lucia Kay McBath, Jordan’s mother, and her husband and family. Although separated by the seas, we can reach out and share experiences and work together for a better future for our children.