Another black teenager was killed in Florida last week by an older, non-black assailant, and the media - just as they did in the Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman case - are predictably taking sides before all the facts are in.
MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry did her part Saturday saying in a piece about the incident, "This is no country for young black men" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY: The police acted the very next day. A man was arrested, charged and is in custody, being held without bond. So this, the alleged shooting of Jordan Russell Davis by Michael David Dunn is not that, the shooting of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman. But in so many other aspects of this case the parallels are undeniable. Another 17-year-old African-American boy shot and killed. The alleged assailant, an older white man, say he felt threatened. Although the boy he's accused of shooting was reportedly unarmed. Another claim of self-defense to justify the killing. Another pair of grieving parents losing a child and seeking justice. And again, that since for those of us who know them and love them that this is no country for young black men, which is why this week I am addressing my open letter to whom it may concern. It is me, Melissa. And if you are like me, this latest news has got you concerned, indeed.
Because here we are again. It's been barely a year since the killing of Trayvon Martin resurrected that old angst, long buried, but always there just below the surface, you know, that feeling. It`s the one that makes us hear about Trayvon, now Jordan Davis, and reach back across decades into our history for the name of another boy named Emmett Till. Then, it was a whistle at a white woman. Now, it's a hooded sweatshirt or music being played loudly from a car, but always this. One thing has been the same. No presumption of innocence for young black men, no benefit of the doubt, guilt, not determined by what they did or said, but presumed to be inherent in their very being. They need not wield the weapon to pose a threat, because if you are a young black man, you are threat enough. And in yet another case, it seems that perceived threat is justification enough for someone who would play judge, and jury and executioner.
Jordan Russell Davis will be laid to rest today. His father described his son as a typical teenager who was looking forward to starting his first job working at McDonald's, who was saving up to buy his first car. The day before he died, his mother says, he gave the Thanksgiving dinner prayer where he gave thanks for his family. But before Jordan could be eulogized at his funeral, the defense team for the man who was accused of killing him was already telling a different story about this young man and who he was. According to police, Jordan and his three friends were sitting in an SUV at a Jacksonville gas station. When Dunn pulled up next to them and asked them to turn down their music. Words were exchanged and this story, Dunn's attorney, Robin, tells us, about why her client felt threatened. "He sees that much of a shotgun coming up over the rim of the SUV and all he sees are heavily tinted front windows that are up and the back windows are down. And the car has at least four black men in it, and he doesn't know how old anyone is. And he doesn`t know anything, but he knows a shotgun when he sees one. And he's got his first gun as a gift from his grandparents when he was a kid in the third grade. And ..."
Police have no evidence that Jordan and his friends had any weapon in their car. But Michael David Dunn, a registered gun owner did have one. He used his gun to fire eight rounds into the boys' vehicle. Two of those bullets struck and killed Jordan Davis, who was sitting in the back seat. Dunn fled the scene. These are the facts as we know them today. As the investigation continues, details will no doubt continue to emerge. But as we watch the case unfold, let us be sure while we are watching that we continue to see in Jordan Davis what Michael Dunn did not, a human being, not a threat. Sincerely, Melissa.
For the record, Dunn has plead not guilty.
Also for the record, Zimmerman's trial has not occurred yet meaning that his guilt has not yet been established - except by the media of course.
While Harris-Perry pines for the presumption of innocence for young black men, she forsakes this right for the accused.
Maybe more importantly, she ignores murder statistics.
According to the FBI, 90 percent of black murders in 2010 were committed by blacks. Only eight percent were committed by whites.
As such, we don't have an epidemic of white people killing black people. We have an epidemic of blacks killing blacks.
This is clearly what's going on in our inner cities exemplified by the deplorable rage of such violence in Chicago.
If "This is no country for young black men" as Harris-Perry claims, it's far more the result of the actions of other black men and not whites.
But much as what happened with the Martin-Zimmerman case, when a non-black kills a black despite how infrequently it happens, that's far more important than the thousands of blacks killing each other.
Harris-Perry and her race card-wielding colleagues might consider that if they paid more attention to the far more prevalent black-on-black crime in this country, maybe it wouldn't be as prevalent.