Jordan Russell Davis was with friends in an SUV listening to music in a gas station in Jacksonville, Fla., over the “Thanksgiving” weekend. Their fun and camaraderie came to an abrupt halt as this 17-year-old African American was fatally gunned down.
The shooter was Michael David Dunn, a 45-year-old software engineer, who claimed he felt “threatened” by the four unarmed youths, who were simply sitting in their vehicle enjoying themselves. Dunn shot at them eight or nine times, striking Davis with three bullets and killing him. A grand jury indicted him for first-degree murder and three counts of attempted murder in the Nov. 23 shootings. It is expected that Dunn will claim his murderous acts constituted “justifiable homicide” under Florida’s “stand your ground” law.
Ronald Davis and Lucia McBath, the parents of Jordan Davis, appeared on MSNBC on Dec. 12 to discuss their son’s horrific slaying and publicize the need to overturn the “stand your ground” laws. Davis avowed that in Florida, “the best that we can do as Jordan’s parents is to get the ‘stand your ground’ law repealed because this is just a shield for people to go ahead and use their firearms without any type of thought about human life. So that’s why we’re going to repeal that.”
The Color of Change blog maintains that the “stand your ground” law “legalizes vigilante homicide, has demonstrated racial bias in its application, and has led to an increase in gun-related deaths in the more than two dozen states where it has been passed into law. These laws give individual gun owners a greater right to shoot and kill than the rules of engagement for our military during times of war grant to soldiers in war zones. It must be repealed now to protect families and communities and prevent senseless deaths.”
There is tremendous outrage not only in Florida but around the country at this racist murder. It took place less than a year after vigilante George Zimmerman fatally shot African-American youth Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla. Zimmerman is hiding behind the “stand your ground” law — which is promoted in every state by the ultraright National Rifle Association — to try to justify his heinous act and avoid being held accountable and imprisoned. His senseless act sparked demonstrations from coast to coast in solidarity with the Martin family and their quest for justice for their son.
The horrendous crime which took Jordan Davis’ life requires that all progressive forces express solidarity with the Davis family and fight to overturn these reactionary laws wherever they are enacted.