As the trial of Michael Dunn gets underway on February 3, Lucia Mcbath, the mother of 17-year-old Jordan Davis, is making the rounds of network interviews, preparing for Dunn’s trial and telling the story of her fight to change or end stand your ground laws to anyone who’ll listen.
Yet, Mcbath and Jordan’s father Ron Davis have been tirelessly and emotionally sharing their story across the country since the tragedy, to gain support and awareness in the struggle for gun control and against stand your ground laws.
It’s happening all across America. Whether by a gun, a knife, or other means, far too many people are killed every year by others who have the option to invoke “stand your ground” immunity to try and avoid prosecution.
These amended self-defense laws can allow someone to manipulate a scenario that allows them to cause great bodily harm or take another’s life.
The Movement to End Stand Your Ground is releasing a new 35-second video, “All Across America” today, with images of unarmed “stand your ground” victims, to help call attention to this. Check it out, then share it with everyone you know:
In a tale of two murders, the victims were very much alike. Both had the same teenage passions that all 17-year-olds have. Both teens were born in February, both were killed (though miles apart) in Florida, and both in the same year.
Both had loving parents who had divorced, leaving a void that only a child’s heart could feel. And both of these 17-year-old teens were black. Yet, one is now a household name. The other, some people may have never heard of – yet.
They now share a common legacy. Each was killed by someone who had the option to invoke Florida’s “stand-your-ground” law. The shooter in each case has never showed or expressed public remorse, and neither shooter claimed stand your ground immunity. At least, in one case – not yet.
Yet, the differences are all too clear. Trayvon Martin, whose name is now a legend, may have even been considered ‘thuggish’ by some standards.
He was alone when he was killed in a quiet apartment complex on a rainy February night in Sanford, Florida two years ago by George Zimmerman, a Peruvian-white man, with no apparent witnesses to the shot being fired. Zimmerman waited for police, was questioned, and released, but wasn’t arrested until months later, after a public outcry.
The trial lasted a month, and Zimmerman was acquitted on July 13, 2013, leading to protests, marches, petitions, boycott threats, demonstrations, a fear of riots across America, and a nationwide call from media, civil rights groups, and others to end stand your ground laws.
Jordan Davis, in comparison, could possibly be considered a ‘choirboy’ in comparison. The family attorney, John Philips, has said Davis was an “all-American kid”.
Nine months after Martin was killed, Davis sat in the back seat next to a friend in an SUV, with another friend in the front passenger seat, waiting for the driver who had gone inside the store at a bustling, lit-up Jacksonville gas station the night after Thanksgiving, on November 23, 2012.
A Volkswagen Jetta pulled into a parking spot next to the SUV booming Chief Keef’s rap music. The driver, a 47-year-old white guy named Michael Dunn, waited as his girlfriend went inside the store to buy wine. Dunn later told police he “ordered them to turn the music down”.
According to Rolling Stone, the friend in the front passenger seat turned the sound down, but Davis reached over the console and cranked it back up. He and Dunn threw f-bombs at each other as the SUV driver got back into the driver’s seat.
Dunn said, “You’re not gonna talk to me like that”, reached into his glove compartment for a 9mm gun, and began firing, killing Davis in the back seat. Dunn was arrested the next day, after police traced his license plate, and has been in jail awaiting trial ever since.
While Dunn has not yet claimed stand your ground immunity. He has claimed he felt threatened and claims he saw the barrel of a gun in the SUV, but no gun was ever found.
A real test case for stand-your-ground is coming early next year. Dunn’s trial, originally scheduled to start September 23, was rescheduled to February 3, 2014 at the behest of his attorneys.
Maybe this will be America’s real wake up call, so that many people who still think stand-your-ground law is all good will see the loopholes, see how it actually jeopardizes society, realize it is in fact a very dangerous, flawed law, and take action by starting over to change it.
Imagine acting in a movie about a stand your ground case, and months later your own child is unjustifiably killed by someone claiming immunity under stand your ground law. That’s exactly what happened to Lucia Mcbath.
Mcbath, a professional model and actress, is the mother of 17-year-old Jordan Davis, gunned down in Florida by 46 year-old Michael Dunn during an argument over loud music. She and the teen’s dad, Ron Davis, have been advocates for changes to Florida’s stand your ground law.
Mcbath has a small role in a new movie, “Stand Your Ground: A Cry For Justice“, where she plays the fictional Mrs. Reymundo, a grieving mother and the wife of a man named Juan Reymundo. Not much is known about her small part. But much is known about the death of Mcbath’s son, Jordan Davis.
On the night after Thanksgiving 2012 (just months after filming wrapped up), as an SUV full of teenagers was parked at a Jacksonville gas station, Michael Dunn parked next to them and got into an argument with Davis as rapper Chief Keef blared from the SUV’s sound system. Dunn didn’t like the music, and started a shouting match with Davis. Then he opened fire, claiming he feared for his life. Davis, in the back seat, was the only one shot, and died on the scene.
The “Stand Your Ground” movie is a courtroom drama based on a true story of faith and a journey experienced by Jackie Carpenter, a Georgia woman, as she fights to free her son, Jason Veitch, from charges of felony murder and other charges. Veitch was defending private property in 2008 when he accidentally shot and killed Gaston Gonzalez, suspected of stealing construction materials. Veitch was later cleared of all charges.
Lucia Mcbath has endured and will continue to endure her own personal journey through stand your ground law as the trial of Michael Dunn approaches early next year.
Here’s a trailer for the movie, scheduled for a limited theatrical release January 17, 2014:
Since July, the movement to Boycott Stand Your Ground States has called for a bi-monthly economic boycott of stand your ground states on the 13th (monthly anniversary of the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial for the shooting of Trayvon Martin), and on the 26th (presumably to bolster the economic impact) of each month – with Florida as the first target. The next dates are this Sunday, October 13th, then 13 days later, on Saturday, October 26th.
The Boycott SYG internet movement is calling on consumers, including vacationers, to avoid spending money in Florida and other states with stand your ground laws, urging a boycott of Florida-based corporations (think Koch Brothers or cruise lines like Carnival) and products such as any Florida citrus juices (like Tropicana).
That could mean simply staying on-board while docked on a cruise in Florida, not booking travel in Florida for boycott dates, not buying Florida juices for a day, or entertainers not booking for those dates. How this may affect Florida’s usually robust economy arguably remains to be seen.
Entertainer Stevie Wonder spurred the boycott consciousness when he announced that he would not perform in Florida or any other states with stand your ground laws. Stevie helped romanticize a Martin Luther King holiday with the song “Happy Birthday”, so could the same celebrity power possibly translate into a victory against stand your ground laws in America?
When enough people come together for a common cause powerful things can happen. In the 1960’s, leaders of the civil rights movement led boycotts that brought about many changes in America.
A boycott of Florida and other SYG states is a powerful movement that can, at the very least, bring about changes that are needed in the law.
This boycott movement has released videos and aims to first target states individually, then collectively.
What do you think? Could an economic boycott damage Florida’s economy?
EndStandYourGround is not the organizer of this boycott, but is wholeheartedly encouraging, endorsing, and supporting it.
The Dream Defenders are prophetic young people with a vision. The activism group correctly predicted that, at a Judiciary committee hearing, Senate Bill 122, introduced by Senator Chris Smith (D-Fort Lauderdale), would be killed, and that SB 130 , filed by Senator David Simmons (R-Altamonte Springs), would pass – leaving a dangerous part of present stand-your-ground laws intact. That’s what happened today.
This kind of underhanded, deceitful, problematic, and insensitive law-making cannot and will not be tolerated by those who pay the salaries of and vote to elect officials sworn to act in the best interests of the people. It cannot and will not be tolerated by those who are against stand your ground laws.
We support you, Dream Defenders, for being such an inspiring force, salute you on a great video, and share your vision!
Here is a statement and video on YouTube that tells the story:
Two bills have been introduced that would make changes to Florida’s Stand Your Ground law. One bill, SB122, is by Senate Minority Leader Chris Smith. The other bill, SB130, is by Senate Majority Whip David H. Simmons.
The key difference between the two is that Chris Smith’s bill (SB122) attempts to fix the “No Duty To Retreat” loophole, which allows people to leave places of safety to aggress towards a perceived threat. This loophole empowers people to go out of their way to pursue violence.
It is likely that the Senate will attempt to kill Smith’s bill (SB122) and pass Simmons’ bill (SB130), which leaves “No Duty to Retreat” untouched.
‘No duty to retreat’ is one of the most problematic provisions of Stand Your Ground. Dream Defenders believe if there is an opportunity for retreat, there should be a duty to retreat as well. A society that isn’t encouraging a responsible ‘duty to retreat’ in public spaces is encouraging violence and recklessness.
A repeal of Stand Your Ground is central to the Dream Defenders’ package of legislation, Trayvon’s Law. If a full repeal is not possible, we support the best reform possible. We will examine and recommend changes to reform legislation with respect to legitimate concerns. – Dream Defenders
I don’t let a weekend go by without finding some fresh, motivating gospel music to listen to. With the help of a feel-good Sunday morning sermon, high-spirited gospel music helps revive a weary soul destined to spend a new week navigating our doomed society and working hard to pay bills.
As reported a few weeks ago, Rapper T-Dogg produced a new hip-hop gospel song featuring Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon’s mother. I liked it so much I bought it, And with every potential hit comes a music video, this one released last week for the surprisingly well-done “Joy Comes In The Morning” track, which came out in August.
Travis Gammage, better known as T-Dogg, out of Deerfield Park, Florida, is rapping and hip-hopping his way to stardom on a different level from most mainstream fast-talkers. He’s gospel rap’s rising star and the mastermind behind the song.
According to reports T-Dogg was inspired after watching Sybrina Fulton interviews in the media, and has said he wanted to “step outside of [himself] and see what she would be feeling”.
Now, to be clear, Sybrina doesn’t actually sing on the song, but gives the intro, and then the outro:
“No matter what you do, always know God is in control. You must always stay encouraged and hold your head high. I am glad to know that my angel Trayvon is watching over me and a peace of my heart is in heaven.”
The track has a simple time-worn message, meant for those who have lost loved ones to senseless violence: praising a supreme being even through the hard times brings hope for the new day.