Who’s More Dangerous?

Let’s face it: the “Stand Your Ground” law is basically a legal cover for and an invitation to white racist men with guns to shoot and kill young black men. And, don’t tell me that those who wrote the law didn’t know how it would be interpreted or that they didn’t mean it as such. They damn well knew and that was the purpose of it.

The law basically says that if you encounter someone who threatens you, or as it’s usually interpreted by jurors, if you feel threatened, justifiably or not, you can “stand your ground”, instead of walking away from the perceived “threat”, which often is nothing but a false perception and which you might otherwise do if you’re so afraid or to simply avoid escalation. And, who more than armed white men would be afraid of unarmed teenaged black boys, so afraid in fact that they have to shoot and kill them?

The “mistake” Mr. Dunn made was to shoot at the SUV in which three other boys were sitting, too whom he couldn’t claim any threat from since they didn’t tell him off. Jordan did and that was enough for him to feel threatened and act on “stand your ground” to “defend himself”. Had he not shot at the vehicle, or had Jordan been alone, he would not have faced the attempted murder charges and in the worst case, he would have faced a hung jury, with most agreeing with the claim of “self-defense”, as they did on the murder charge.

It doesn’t surprise me that most white jurors could relate to a big armed man fearing for his life when one or a few black kids play loud “thug music” and must be “up to no good” (George Zimmerman) and must be “bad” (Michael Dunn), without knowing them. Most white jurors, too, know that black teenagers must be bad and up to no good, and so dangerous that you have no choice, but to shoot and kill them. But, Mr. Dunn didn’t just shoot at Jordan who, as he claims, posed a “threat”; he shot 10 rounds, 3 of which killed Jordan, and continued to shoot even while they were fleeing from him. The jury separated the killing of Jordan which was supposedly for self-defense from his continued shooting at the vehicle which obviously could not have been for self-defense. The “Stand Your Ground” law doesn’t just give cover to white men with guns to kill black teenagers; it also gives the juries in such cases the pretext to acquit the killer.

But, that’s not all; the courts taking up these cases also contribute to these incomprehensible outcomes by pretending that race is not a factor and forbidding even its mention, giving more ammunition to white jurors to dismiss the real issue which is at the very heart of such tragedies.


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