Nineteen Candles: The Tragedy of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” Law

Jordan Davis would have turned 19 today.
Jordan Davis would have turned 19 today.

Last night, Michael Dunn was convicted of three counts of attempted murder in the so-called “Loud Music” trial in Jacksonville, Florida. No decision was reached on the key charge of first-degree murder of 17 year old Jordan Davis. Michael Dunn, 47, will spend the rest of his life in prison (20 years each for the attempted murder convictions). Jordan Davis would have turned 19 today.

These are the facts.

Dunn is a middle-aged white man.

Davis was a black teenaged child.

The state of Florida continues to cling tight to its controversial “Stand Your Ground” law which allows a person who believes they are in danger to use lethal force against their potential aggressor. Remember poor frightened George Zimmerman? Yeah, that “Stand Your Ground” crap.

These are also the facts. And these are the facts that give me, as a Florida resident, a sick feeling in my gut.

Racism is alive and well in Florida. Oh, it may not be as brash and vocal as it is in other Southern states, but it is here and it is ugly.  

Some people simply choose to hate. Some proudly carry that stain on their souls like a badge of barbaric honor. As Americans, it is their right to hate whomever they like, as long as their hatred does not manifest itself into bias, discrimination or violence.

I despise racism. I feel it’s a blight and I would banish it from the world in a heartbeat if I could… but it’s these people’s right to hate in silence.

However, it is this very “right to hate” that makes “Stand Your Ground” unfeasible in today’s society and, frankly, frightening in Florida.

Hate is an emotion based on fear, and “Stand Your Ground” is a law born of it. Both are wrong. But while hate is something it will take centuries, if it is even possible to ever eradicate all together, “Stand Your Ground” is something that should be and could be abolished right now.

Innocent people are losing their lives, here.

Innocent children are dying, Governor Scott.

Change is needed.

It is needed now.

Are you man enough to do it, Governor?

Are you?

I’m desperately afraid that you’re not. And that is more than a pity… that, sir, is a tragedy. If you don’t believe me, just ask Jordan Davis’ parents today, on the 19th birthday their son will never see.

Until tonight…

Chloe

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