After thinking on the Michael Dunn verdict, or non-verdict, I’ve come to the conclusion that some Americans are afraid of almost everything they come in contact with. What does it say when a jury can convict a person on second degree attempted murder in shooting at three people but not find him guilty of murder for killing the person who died in that same shooting? I asked the question before, “Should I now be in fear of my life?“, and now the answer is revealing itself in high-resolution color detail.
What kind of society are we encouraging when we allow someone to get away with murder based on their prejudices? When a person hates a particular culture or group, should they be treated with kid gloves when they claim to be in “fear” of someone within that group or culture and act upon that perceived “fear”? When our society continues to look the other way within the justice system in these cases, are they encouraging the feared group to become fearful of the others and act out on their fears which further fuels the deadly cycle?
I’ve listened to many people discuss their opinions on how that verdict confused them because Dunn was found guilty of attempted murder but no verdict was returned on the murder charge. I can clear up that confusion very quickly. In America, the young Black man is feared as though he is an apex predator that has to be killed on sight in order to be controlled. Some of that fear is rightfully placed based on the actions of a few, but you cannot paint an entire group based on the actions of some of its members. Instead of trying to deal with the violent few, it’s becoming the norm to consider them all violent and dangerous until otherwise known. If the young Black man is killed before it’s known, then the attitude of some is “Oh well, he was probably a gang banger anyway”.
I don’t know what that jury was thinking, nor do I want to know. If, and that’s a great big if, I ever cross the state line and enter Florida, I will definitely have the necessary equipment to ensure my survival for the length of my stay. It may not have been the intent of these juries with their non-verdicts, but I’m beginning to think that we will begin to see Black men having a fear of the “Angry Middle-Aged White Man”. Based on the sensationalized cases over the past few years, there may be some people who will find that fear rational. Society is already paving the way to make it the norm again. Seems as history is repeating itself. Back in the 50s and 60s, a White man could kill a Black man in this country and pretty much get away with it thanks to a jury of his peers. It seems that we’re headed back into that era once again.