Stand Your Ground: Why Florida’s Laws Need a Revision

jordan-davis-friends_full_600

            Jordan Davis’ friends after the tragedy occurred

On the Night after Thanksgiving, Jordan Davis, a 17 year-old Black teenager was shot to death by Michael Dunn, a 45 year-old white male from Florida. In a Jacksonville Gas Station, Dunn and his wife pulled up to Davis and his friends’ SUV, the wife quickly going into the convenience store. After Michael Dunn repeatedly told the teenagers in the SUV to turn the music down, his lawyer testified that he thought he saw a shotgun poke out from the driver-side window heard a threat to fire, and saw the SUV door opening. Evoking Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law, which gives the gun owners authority to shoot if threatened., Dunn shot and killed Davis using the gun in his glove box.

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               Jordan Davis

In total, 9 shots were fired from Dunn’s gun at the SUV, even as they drove away. Dunn’s reasoning that they were ‘gang members’ that would eventually be back. Dunn and his wife then fled the scene without reporting the incident to the police.

This has very eerie undertones of the February 2012 case of Treyvon Martin and Michael Zimmerman, also happening in Florida under the “Stand Your Ground’ law. Like the Martin case, some are referring this tragedy as an example of ‘Black Blindness’. Because of the stigmatization of the black male in U.S. society and media, we have been cultured to associate the image of a black man, especially a teenager, with violence.

michael-dunn

 Michael Dunn

Dunn said that race didn’t come into consideration and that this was a simple act of self-defense, however, negative stereotypes and stigmatization run so deep….that how can he even be sure?

A quote from the Kansas City Star commented, “the frightening thing, if you are a young African-American man, is that you know nothing makes some folks feel more “threatened” than you. Nor do you threaten by doing. You threaten by being. You threaten by existing” Because the ‘Stand Your Ground’ policy is based on an initial perceived threat, because black man are stereotyped as threatening, it basically allows individuals to use deadly force against them and pass it off as gang activity or a drug-related threat.

So I may be embellishing a little, but the point remains that these policies are certainly racially charges that that is not okay.

-Kerry Sakimoto
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About rowlanda12

This is a blog about the 2012 presidential election. Content is generated by students in Professor Heldman's Politics 101 class. She does not necessarily endorse the views expressed here.
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