“My client did not wait to become that victim,” he said. “My client did not wait to either get assaulted by a weapon or have someone potentially pull a trigger,” he said.
“Now, does it sound irrational? Of course it sounds irrational. But have you ever been in that situation?” Strolla asked.
— Quoted from “Michael Dunn convicted of attempted murder; jury can’t decide on murder” by Tom Watkins and Greg Botelho, CNN Justice
So let me get this straight: Michael Dunn was not a victim of assault. He was not a victim of a shooting. He acted irrationally — aka insanely, stupidly and crazily — by shooting into a vehicle filled with Black teenagers and killing Jordan Davis, all because he didn’t like the volume of the music in their car. And yet, somehow, his lawyer manages to construe this incident as one in which Dunn was so afraid that he had no other option but to defend himself with deadly force? Really?
No. The offense and oppression is multiplied even further by the ways mass media chooses to talk about the case.
Instead of calling this trial what it really is about — racism, classism and white supremacy culture intersecting with a culture of violence and white-male vigilanteism — the “news” outlets continue to call this the “loud music” case. So intense is the desire not to acknowledge the devastating impact of racism in our society that popular discourse about a case that is obviously laden with racist assumptions and presumed privilege will avoid naming the issue at every turn. Even when these are Dunn’s own words on the matter. Even when sanctioned avoidance trivializes the injustice.
I don’t know what it is going to take to dial-down the rationalization and legalization of white fear that is rearing its ugly head in the United States right now, but it needs to happen — and fast. The lynch mob mentality is riding high and the consequences are too steep for those of us who share the “wrong” shade in the racial hierarchy.
Nekeisha is the co-founder of Jesus Radicals and co-organizer of its annual anarchism and Christianity conference. She is an occasional writer and speaker with numerous interests including animal ethics from a Christian and anti-oppression perspective. She joined the Anabaptist/Mennonite tribe in 2003 and works for anti-racist transformation within the church. She also takes part in ecumenical conversations as part of the Ekklesia Project.