When is Murder—Murder?

JDavisMichael Dunn fired nine bullets into an SUV in which Jordan Davis, a Marietta teenager, was a passenger. Dunn fired his handgun through the vehicle and struck Davis in the back and groin after an argument over loud music on the parking lot of a convenience store.

When is murder, simply murder? I am not sure anymore. And apparently neither are other people. What defines murder? Now we are vigorously debating if it is murder if someone dies after you shoot into a car. It is clear that for some people this is perfectly reasonable. Gratuitous qualifiers include, it depends on how loud the music is playing in the car that you shot into. Or maybe it depends on who is in the car. As expected, lawyers, law students and jurists will debate the fine points of the law in this case but for an ordinary person like me—the choices seem much more simpler. When you can walk away, when you can ignore the loud music, when you can retreat into a nearby building, when you can call the police, and when you can drive away, there is no earthly reason to shoot into a car no matter who is in the vehicle. But if you do then you should be held fully accountable to the damage you do and the murder you commit.

An Excerpt from the Atlantic written by Ta-Nehisi Coates
On the unfinished life of Jordan Davis

“But some are given more days than others, and I think of dying at 17, in my loudness, in my vanity, which is to say in my human youth, and I tremble. I was barely anything. I understood barely anything. When Michael Dunn killed Jordan Davis, he obliterated a time-stream, devastated an open range of changes. And somewhere on that American jury, someone thought this was justice, someone believed in the voodoo of shotguns and teleportation. Michael Dunn killed a boy, and too robbed a man of his chance to be.

And this will happen again, must happen again, because our policy is color-blind, but our heritage isn’t. An American courtroom claiming it can be colorblind denies its rightful inheritance. An American courtroom claiming it can be colorblind is a drug addict claiming he can walk away after just one more hit. Law and legacy are at war. Legacy is winning. Legacy will always win. And our legacy is to die in this land where time is unequal, and deeded days are unequal, and blessed is the black man who lives to learn other ways, who lives to see other worlds, who lives to bear witness before the changes.”