The recent killing of Jordan Davis, a 17-year-old African American male, has brought to the surface feelings of anguish and concern for many African Americans around the nation. In recent months we have had to bury one of our sons, Trayvon Martin, who was murdered in his neighborhood by a crazed gunman who felt threatened by his presence. In the wake of Davis’ death, we have been reminded of the continuous problem with gun violence and gun control in America, but it also brings to the surface a problem that we’ve faced for decades. We are consistently losing our young black men to gun violence. This violence is not always rendered through Black on Black crimes, but it is also seen in hateful, malicious crimes channeled through laws such as “Stand Your Ground”.
The “Stand Your Ground” law, which is active in at least 31 states, gives an individual the right to use deadly force, in self-defense, if there is reasonable belief that their life is in danger. The problem here is that the individual who feels threatened does not have to flee the situation, but the law gives them the right to act and kill if necessary. Michael David Dunn, a white man, stated to police that he got into an argument with Davis and his friends after he asked them to turn down their music outside of a convenience store. In the face of an ignored request, Dunn then stated that he saw what looked like a gun emerge from the SUV that Davis and his friends were driving. At the sight of the illusory weapon, Dunn released at least 8 to 9 rounds into the vehicle. The gunshots killed Davis, and Dunn, who was arrested on the scene, now pleads for help from the “Stand Your Ground” law.
While I have tried to resist the temptation to make this about race, it cannot be ignored that what we are seeing in the Davis and Dunn case is an indication of what it means to be Black in America. Furthermore, it points to the realities that African American males face as they navigate through life. Laws, such as the “Stand Your Ground” law, are slowing showing themselves to be institutionalized systemic evils that threaten the lives of Black men. This law has the potential to become the new Pharaoh in the land of America. The Pharaonic mindset is one that says, ‘whatever is endanger of disrupting the empire, wipe it out’ (Exodus 1:22). The truth is that Black men are disrupting America’s empire. With President Obama being the leader of the free world and with Black rappers turned multi-million dollar entrepreneurs like Jay-Z, Ice Cube, and P. Diddy owning their own companies being at the forefront of the culture, it is no wonder the empire is threatened. If the empire allows the Black culture to continue to grow in influence and power, then its demise is inevitable. The Pharaonic system will go to extreme measures to make sure it remains the domineering ruler of the land—even if it means committing murder.
The killings of Jordan Davis, Trayvon Martin, Troy Davis, and even Emmett Till have proven to be attempts by the Pharaonic Empire and/or its constituents to make subordinate the Black race by any means necessary. While Whites have been convicted of violence done in the name of “Stand Your Ground”, African Americans out number Whites in epic proportions. Studies show that when Blacks are the slain victims in states that uphold the “Stand Your Ground” law 73% of the perpetrators walk free, while 59% of the perpetrators walk free when Whites are the victims. No matter how hard the empire seeks to ignore the statistics, the stats don’t lie; they tell of the shrewd face of racism that exist in this country.
The tragedy of Jordan Davis begs for the repealing of the “Stand Your Ground” law. While I understand self-defense, it is not okay to empower people to use deadly force in situations that may not warrant it. There is a fundamental difference between standing one’s ground and murdering innocent people. The problem with “Stand Your Ground” is that it does not clearly articulate these differences. It is a law that can potentially encourage an already ‘trigger happy’ society to bear arms and become their own enforcers of justice.