Dunn’s got a Gun  

Dunn ain’t Sheep, he’s Wolf

He’s no Black but True Blue

This skin he wears is Curly and Crew

Direct off the back of Clone Daisy Lou

Six shotguns three handguns in his pad

Packing silver ready to ride bad

Military brothers having his back

Get ready for Thugs Take out the Slugs

Rap is Crap

Who the loud Thug there?

It’s Notorious Big Dunn

Watch out Youngblood!

Dunn’s got a gun

Rap is crap!

The media made a big deal of Michael Dunn saying that ‘rap is crap’ and that he hates ‘thug music’. In fact, this case became known as the Loud-music trial. A great Marketing ploy to make it recognizable and catchy. Murder is big business nowadays so you have to promote it a certain way to get the public interested. If you called it Dunn’s got a gun, who would really care?

Michael Dunn

Michael Dunn

So Dunn like countless others does not like Rap and thinks of it as crap. It is his prerogative. Some think Country or Jazz is crap. I love me some Rap, but I totally understand that after watching videos and listening to some of the lyrics, one could be alarmed.  Women are portrayed as hoes and talented artists like Ice-T and Snoop Dog used to be pimps leading a life of crime.

Eminem talked about killing his wife in his lyrics and wrote Stan to tell a fan not to put his own wife in the trunk of his car. After all, ‘it is just a song.’ But is it just words? When Big Pun came out of his helicopter to sing ‘I am not a player, I just fuck a lot,’ I laughed, but would I want everyone listening to this? I blame the promotion of that type of music more than its existence.

GZA

GZA

This cultural phenomenon started with thugs and gangsters and rap battles became a form of domination and intimidation. It crossed over to Hip Hop and we now have talented rappers like GZA rapping about science and touring universities. Watching rap battles between young females on ‘Queen of the Ring’’ makes me wonder if I should applaud their quick and steady jabs or wash their mouth out with soap. My interest died down when this young girl called Couture told her opponent ‘she would choke her baby with booster cables.’

If young men are listening to Rap while sitting in an SUV with tinted windows, they might be mistaken for the ‘real thing’ by guys like Dunn, who cannot tell the difference.

Jordan Davis and his friends were from all accounts, ‘good kids’, and they were listening to Beef from Lil Reese the night of their encounter with Dunn. If he couldn’t stand that type of beat, he could have chosen another spot. But when he parked beside the Durango and asked them to lower the music, to Davis, he became a tough guy asking others to respect his territory.

Davis defied his authority and called him a cracker and a nigger. We could say their war of words could have been a Rap battle but Dunn did not play by the rules and used a gun. He became the real thug.

Florida the Beautiful and a cow named Angela!

Angela Corey

Angela Corey

The tragedy and the trial that ensued happened in the beautiful state of Florida; a name meaning Feast of flowers, snakes, crocodiles and Angela Corey, the biggest Fleur du mal and a thorn in the side of so many justice seekers.

As State Attorney of Florida where they have the infamous Stand Your Ground law and several other trigger-happy statutes, Angela Corey has the reputation of playing dirty and her tough pro-death penalty stance is legendary.

Corey fails to be cognizant of the implications of the laws she was elected to implement and adhere to, and many want her to be held accountable for her actions, particularly after the relentless manner she went after the conviction of a twelve year old boy called Christian Fernandez.

In 2011, she boldly stated:in the juvenile system, we can only incarcerate or have him contained for not even two years…,” which was untrue. Florida law grants the juvenile system broad discretion to handle the treatment and rehabilitation of children like Christian, including the power to detain a child as long as necessary to protect public safety.

Christian Fernandez

Christian Fernandez

The treatment of Christian by Corey, and her office, has been, utterly appalling.

According to the Bureau of Statistics, Florida sends more juvenile offenders to adult prisons than any other state. In 2009, 393 juveniles entered adult prisons.

On March 23, 2012, Corey was appointed as a “special prosecutor” by Florida Governor Rick Scott to investigate the slaying of Trayvon Martin, but after apparently perfunctory investigation, she stated that the case would not go before a grand jury. She finally brought a charge of second degree murder against Zimmerman. But as we saw at trial, the “prosecution” of Zimmerman was to say the least, half-baked. Who could forget their star witness Rachel Jeantel? She came across very poorly for lack of adequate preparation, and it took Piers Morgan to explain on his show that she had a speech impediment. This trial raised a lot of eyebrows.

Corey tried the case of Michael Dunn with more fervor, but as usual there were some surprises du Chef. Even though Dunn and his fiance’s police interviews had been taped, none of the police interviews with the occupants of the SUV were taped. This could be perceived as very self-serving. One of the boys had said that Jordan Davis was getting out of the SUV, but changed his story at trial. What are we to think of this? Is it manipulation to support their case or pure negligence?

stand-your-ground-lawEven though Zimmerman and Dunn did not invoke SYG or demand a prehearing, it was mentioned at trial and their whole language reverberated around it. Ifeared for my life’ ‘I felt threatened’ “I reacted to a threat. And they both knew that the mere existence of this law was protecting them as they felt safe to react to a stressful situation with a concealed weapon.

After Dunn’s mistrial on the first degree murder charge, Angela Corey made it clear that she would retry him. Why? He is already facing life in prison. She has been eating young black defendants for breakfast so she is not doing this for Jordan Davis but rather to shine the media spotlight on herself.

On June 20 of 2011, U.S. District Judge Jose E. Martinez had declared Florida’s death penalty unconstitutional.

Florida has the highest number of death sentence reversals in the US with 23. Michael L. Radelet of the University of Colorado has documented that there have been 87 ‘Death-to-Life Overrides’ in Florida since 1992.

It makes me wonder at times if Florida needs to be declared Ward of the Devil or is simply in need of an exorcism.

Perception versus reality!

perception-realityYou often hear the expression ‘Careful who you judge’ and in Journalism, “Stay away from propaganda’’.  But in the case of Michael Dunn, because the victim is a black teen and his shooter a white middle-class man, all hell broke loose and these principles went out the window.

When the media and the state attorney’s office can profit from the public’s outrage, they usually do. Like vampires, they suck the marrow and often the truth out of a case to feed our desire for Justice which is easily transformable into a vendetta.

We must start by distinguishing between perception and reality. Not just the perception of the media and Justice system but of the other parties involved.

Michael Dunn is the defendant in this case and the perception he has of himself and of his life is very important. I am convinced that he sincerely sees himself as a hard-working law-abiding citizen raised by a good family with decent moral values. He is close to his parents and his two daughters. He has rekindled his relationship with his long lost son and is on good terms with his former wife. The proof is that they both invited him to be part of his son’s wedding in Jacksonville and they testified on his behalf.

His former neighbor had sordid stories to tell to the police and HLN about Dunn but as it is hearsay, not admitted in a court of law and remaining to be corroborated by his former spouses, I decided to exclude them for obvious reasons.

Help me Rhonda

Help me Rhonda

He is a computer engineer, has created software for his parent’s company and was working for HP at the time of the tragedy. But the best part of his life, according to him, is that he has a strong four-year relationship with Rhonda Rouer and they are very happy together. So far so good.

When it comes to his core beliefs, from what I read on his now defunct website, Dunn seems to agree with some of Ron Paul’s principles as a libertarian. Paul is brilliant and makes more sense than many US politicians: the elimination of the Federal Reserve, too much intrusion from the government into people’s private lives, the withdrawal of American troops abroad, etc. Dunn is not scary or dangerous in his beliefs SO FAR.  But the slippery slope comes with weapons, immigration and his radical notions on solving crime.

His mind is too obtuse to realize that he was also raised in the ‘gun culture’ he so deplores. He handled a weapon for the first time at age 3,  goes to the shooting range once or twice a month and as he told detectives, “I have practiced all my life to be ready for a moment like this.’’

pavlov-dogSadly, he has become the Pavlovian dog who salivates when he hears a bell. In his case, he shoots when he hears ‘ghetto’ music.

We also have the jail letters written by Dunn. He says he is not against a race but against the ‘criminal culture’, so these are two different notions. Does it show that he is a blatant racist? I am not convinced of that. I am sure he would be fine with people of any race if they had a job at Hewlett Packard.

He abhors the whole thug and gangster lifestyle even if he does not realize that he has more or less adopted it on some level by making statements like this: “This may sound a bit radical but if more people would arm themselves and kill these fucking idiots when they’re threatening you, eventually they may take the hint and change their behavior.’’ 

Ted and Georgette!

Ted and Georgette

Ted and Georgette

The way Dunn and Rhonda left the crime scene is understandable because of fear of retaliation, but the fact that they did not call the police that very night or the day after shows total oblivion in the face of ‘having committed an offence’. They believe they are the good elements of society so they can do whatever they want. They will go talk to their own local sheriff in their own town on their own time. You can’t help being flabbergasted by the ignorance bordering on arrogance displayed by this ‘perfect’ Ted and Georgette couple.

When I hear them talk, especially Rhonda, I am reminded of the classic episodes of Ted and Georgette on the Mary Tyler Moore Show. An arrogant buffoon with his naïve and adoring girlfriend who is not as dumb as she seems. In fact, if not from this ‘incident’, I could imagine Rhonda lovingly offering Michael a look like your dog Calendar of him and Charlie while leading a pretty normal life.

french-bulldog dunn-dog

However, Dunn did not come across as arrogant during police interrogations or on the stand. He was pretty calm and subdued and mostly shell-shocked. The media tried to make him sound extremely cocky but I saw his demeanor as pretty normal.

Juror

Juror

Juror No. 8 thought he was nice and did not consider this trial to be about race but the search for justice. I think she was a beacon of light in this total insanity. Jordan Davis’ parents reacted to her statement by saying that she probably did not want to admit it and questioned if a nice person would shoot someone. Actually, seemingly nice people commit crimes all the time.

To that, Chicago activist and attorney Alan Mills adds, “The Demonization of those who violate the law is a peculiarly American trait. It is more than anything else what allows us to run abysmal prisons…which simply would not be tolerated if we considered most prisoners just as ordinary people who made a mistake…which is what they are.’’ 

Jordan Davis

Jordan Davis

Jordan Davis

When it comes to Jordan Davis, it is normal that the image projected by the media would be positive. You are not going to attack the character of a 17-year old teenager who was killed in an SUV after badmouthing the guy in the next car. Rolling Stone Magazine rolled out the red carpet and almost portrayed him as the young fresh prince of Bel-Air — a popular kid adored by his mom who even home-schooled him for years. A trend setter at school with a new gorgeous girlfriend who was a great student, a hard worker and a very positive influence on him. They had a falling out but were on the mend after his visit at her place of employment that night.

He faced hard times for a while but his father gave him tough love and he was back on track. His friendships were solid and the night he was murdered, the only kid who had a rap sheet was the driver of the SUV and they had hung out together only twice so far. No doubt, the idea of having wheels to go to the mall was very appealing and it was more about mobility than friendship.

Jordan Davis parents

Jordan Davis parents

His parents, and especially his mother, are stellar. They have not promoted hatred or enticed racism during this whole saga. His mother keeps repeating that it is about guns and has to be respected for that alone.

When Davis encountered Dunn, their mutual prejudices contributed to the tragedy that ensued. The kid had no idea that by disrespecting Dunn, he was in fact lighting the short fuse that caused the fire.  He told his friend that he was tired of being told what to do. And Dunn inadvertently, awoke that feeling in Davis who totally overreacted. 

Some wait a lifetime for a moment like this!

Dunn felt threatened by the ‘gangsterism’ image of an SUV, thug music and vulgar words. To this day, I do not think that he grasps what really happened. He is still hanging on to the notion that he was in danger and not the other way around. The kids presented all the signs Dunn had been conditioned to be afraid of and despise. I think Davis’ mother was right when she initially said that he snapped.

Comedian Chris Rock said during an interview that as a teen, he attended a mostly white school and that it turned out to be a traumatic experience. Even as a grown man, he sometimes found himself having a nose bleed if he was in a room with only white people. Lord knows that they were no threat to him but the trauma lingers. Similarly, people like Dunn, often have a brain bleed when confronted with a real or imagined situation they perceive as dangerous.

It really is about distrust and the US is facing a crisis if they do not work at reconciliation and changing their gun laws.

Every time an avoidable shooting incident like this one happens, people are outraged and then it dies down and nothing gets accomplished until the next tragedy. It has become a vicious circle and an ideological Rap battle between Republicans and Democrats. YO! SYG was born from the Republicans for the Republicans and they are willing to fight for it.

I sometimes fear a civil war in the US if the two mentalities become more polarized than they already are.

A Super Power and its Super Citizens!

america-super-powerThis tragedy is only the tip of the iceberg. The American economy is weak and the high level of incarceration is indicative of its core weakness at identifying and solving real societal problems. High unemployment contributes to feelings of discontent towards immigrants.

The American border towns are at war and a thug like Sheriff Arpaio is hailed as a hero because he throws Mexicans in jail indiscriminately. But the reason many of them cross the border to work and feel safe originates from the US.  How can Mexican citizens fight the crime gangs in their own country when they are not armed and the drug lords have weapons provided by Uncle Sam? The drug trade fueling terror and killing their economy is mainly aimed at American consumers.

Trying to take guns away from many Americans would be construed as robbing them of their power and identity. It is ingrained in their culture. Yet, weapons are supposed to be for the military and law enforcement.

Statistically, their elimination would solve a huge part of the problem with violence. I think Ted Nugent would shoot me over this remark because his existence is entirely defined by packing heat. Not unlike the US having lost its imperial strength and refusing to relinquish it, some are fighting the idea of being relegated to the rank of ordinary citizens. Many fear the government itself and have the pipe dream of descending on it or defending themselves against it.They think it is their fundamental right to be armed when in fact, it is a privilege. They have twisted the poor Constitution like a pretzel to try to prove their point.

disneyThe chain Al Jazeera had an interesting view of the US dichotomy vacillating between the Disney Magic Kingdom Economy and the military-industrial complex. The country would gain by restraining their ambitious nature and going back to their roots and infrastructures. Build a solid nation instead of obsessing about being a Super Power.

I hope that Peace and anti-gun activists become as vocal as their opponents have been in recent years with their loud Rap aiming at the destruction of women and gay’s rights, healthcare and the protection of the weak elements of society. Their adamant insistent jab on the wisdom of the proliferation of guns should be challenged. It is about time the peaceful ones lay on the railway tracks to stop that gravy train. 

Nobody wins!

Jordan Davis would be alive and well and Michael Dunn would be walking his dog Charlie on the beach without these insane laws.

My thoughts are with their families. Jordan’s parents and friends have been devastated and the three young men who survived the shooting will try to go on with their lives with a newly acquired fear and no doubt, distrust of white men in black sedans.

Dunn’s parents will be bankrupt morally and financially and his children marked for life. The love of his life Rhonda will not stick around and Dunn will become another lonely statistic in an American prison.

Some say weapons don’t kill people but they were created for that mission only. Is there such a thing as a responsible gun owner when confronted with unpredictable life circumstances? It is like lighting a forest fire and waiting to see which way the wind is going to blow.

  The family that shoots together, stays together!

the-family-that-shoots-together

                                           

Update:  Dunn was convicted of three counts of second-degree attempted murder toward Davis’ friends. But after more than 30 hours, jurors couldn’t reach a verdict on his first-degree murder charge, resulting in  a mistrial on that count. At his next trial, he was sentenced to life in prison without the chance of parole for the shooting death of unarmed black teenager Jordan Davis. The sentence also carries an additional 90 years for three previous convictions of attempted murder — 30 consecutive years for each count — and 15 concurrent years for firing a gun into an occupied vehicle.

 

 

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