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Another Victim Of Black Blindness?

Memo Pad

Another Victim Of Black Blindness?


Call it black blindness.

It is a kind of myopia that afflicts some of us — too many of us — whenever we gaze upon a dark-skinned man. It causes some of us — too many of us — to see things that are not there, and to miss things that are. Sometimes, it is fatal.

Such was the case for Amadou Diallo, the African immigrant who died in a hailstorm of gunfire in 1999 after police mistook his wallet for a gun.

We cannot yet know if black blindness was the cause of death for Jordan Davis, a 17-year-old black kid who was killed the night after Thanksgiving. But there is reason to suspect it was. Davis was shot by a 45-year-old white man, Michael David Dunn, who says he saw a rifle. At this writing, police have recovered no such weapon.

The altercation began with an argument in a gas station in Jacksonville, Fla. Dunn had pulled in so his girlfriend could go to the convenience store. In an SUV next to him were Davis and three other teenagers playing their music too loudly. Dunn told them to turn it down. An argument ensued. Dunn’s attorney, Robin Lemonidis, says the teenagers peppered him with obscenities and insults. Then, she says, Davis poked a rifle through an open window, threatened her client and began to open the door of the SUV. Dunn reached for his pistol, she says, and came up firing. The SUV peeled out. Dunn kept shooting at it because, his lawyer says, he feared the teenagers might come back after him.

“There is no racial motivation here whatsoever,” she told The New York Times. But even if you buy that, Dunn’s story still has holes in it you could drive a shot-up SUV through.

Consider: someone’s got a gun trained on you, about to shoot, yet you have time to reach for your glove box, open it, unholster your own weapon, as Lemonidis says her client did, and bring it up? Not even Little Joe Cartwright was that fast on the draw.

Then there’s the fact that afterward, Dunn and his girlfriend went to a hotel. You’ve been threatened, you had to shoot to save your life … and you go to a hotel? You don’t alert authorities about this SUV full of dangerous kids roaming the streets?

Leonard Pitts Jr.

Leonard Pitts Jr. is a nationally syndicated commentator, journalist, and novelist. Pitts' column for the Miami Herald deals with the intersection between race, politics, and culture, and has won him multiple awards including a Pulitzer Prize in 2004.

The highly regarded novel, Freeman (2009), is his most recent book.

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  1. Dominick Vila December 3, 2012

    Florida’s Stand your Ground law is nothing less than a license to kill. Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis were both murdered in cold blood. The latter in front of witnesses. Hopefully the security cameras at the gas station captured this tragedy to expedite the judicial process. Let’s not forget that Mr. Dunn not only left the premises after murdering Davis for playing music too loud, he actually left the state, allegedly, because he needed to find an unbiased lawyer.
    The sad part of this is that it would not surprised me if tens of thousands of dollars are donated to help Mr. Dunn defend himself against the evil of four black teenagers sitting in an SUV listening to music. BTW, the teenagers were unarmed and according to witnesses did not threaten Dunn in any way. In fact, they remained in the SUV and Dunn fired 7 or 8 shots into the SUV.

    1. Germansmith December 3, 2012

      Florida is a dangerous place where most violent crimes are committed by Blacks or Hispanics (I am Hispanic myself)
      I will request from you the same decency you would expect from people of not assuming because you are Black or Hispanic you are a criminal or on welfare.

      Let us not assume those 2 young bucks were murdered until an investigation and a trial takes place….the law of the land says you are innocent until proven guilty. If it worked for OJ Simpson , it should also works for the rest of us.

      I personally like the Stand your Ground law, but I do realize there is a need to modify it as lo eliminate abuses of it.

      Is anybody publicizing the fact that this law is also use by drug dealers (most of then armed) to kill each other with impunity of the law ? BUT since those dealers are Black or Hispanics killing each others…black on black crime or Hispanic on Hispanic crime…there are no “racial overtones” to sensationalize the news.

      Let us not forget that the majority of blacks killings are at the hands of other blacks….that is where the ‘real problem” is …if we can stop that, them we can help them move above the strife.

      1. James Cranford December 3, 2012

        Poppycock,you are blind sir and the reason this law is in effect-shame on you.

        1. Sand_Cat December 3, 2012

          WELL SAID!

      2. Dominick Vila December 3, 2012

        German, you may want to take a look at the prison population in the United States before you suggest that Blacks and Hispanics are getting away with murder. That is simply not the case. Regarding violent crime in America, I would say that is an equal opportunity disaster. Proportionately, there are as many white murderers as there are Black and Hispanic murderers. The difference involves the way we stereotype ethnicity in the USA. Yes, Black gangs in Chicago, and Latino gangs in Los Angeles, are responsible for much of the violence that take place in our inner cities, but do you honestly believe all the White Supremacist groups that influence mass shootings like the one in Arizona and the one in Wisconsin, and most of the “Stand your Ground” executions are not influenced by hatred, intolerance, and facilitated by a law that protects people like Mr. Dunn?
        Yes, suspects are innocent until proven guilty, but that does not preclude citizens from forming an opinion when evidence suggests a person murdered a 17-year old kid because he was playing music too loud.
        The police did not find a gun, let alone a shotgun, in the SUV. The four kids had just come out of a movie theater and stopped in a parking lot to listen to music. That is no reason to kill a person. The same goes for Trayvon Martin, who after watching a basketball game on TV decided to go to a 7-Eleven to buy an Iced Tea and a bag of Skittles. His crime was that he decided to walk home through an apartment complex where a self-appointed vigilante felt entitled to enforce his interpretation of the law even after law enforcement officers told him to stop chasins Martin.

        1. Germansmith December 3, 2012

          Never I suggested Blacks and Hispanics are getting away with murder. I just said, most of those people murdered are killing each others.
          The police did not find any weapons in the car…If you call the police because your friend was shoot…do you keep any weapons you may have around or do you dump it? How long does it take to make a weapon disappear?
          An argument took place when there were asked to lower their music and NOBODY knows what really transpired in the argument between one white dude and five young angry teens.

          Let an investigation take place before we go around ready to lynch anybody based on “public opinion”

          1. Juan Victor December 5, 2012

            Angry teens? Hummm you since to be taking sides already!

          2. Germansmith December 5, 2012

            You are kidding right?
            If they had smiling agreed to turn down their music, there would have been no argument.
            An argument requires angry people.

            Maybe the reason I visualize what happened is because I have been in the same situation before…but without the shooting. In instead my car was vandalized and damaged because I objected to the language used in front of my minor daughter.

      3. SueTX December 3, 2012

        You lost me at “young bucks”. If that wasn’t a phrase straight out of a KKK meeting, I’ve never heard one. It’s unconcious, underlying bigotry like this that can defend the shooting of a young man simply for the color of his skin. Check your own prejudices sir, before pointing the finger at anyone else.

        1. Germansmith December 3, 2012

          Sadna, Sue….To me a buck is an spirited horse or young male person
          But after your reply I looked at other meanings in Google and I did notice it was also used as a racial slur in the 19th century…..It was not my intent
          and I regret you took that as my meaning for the word.

          It seems to me, that race is still a very sensitive issue in this country, but rest assure that my opinion of these situations would not change if the young people killed would have been Hispanics.

      4. Sandna December 3, 2012

        “Let us not assume those 2 young bucks were murdered until an investigation and a trial takes place..” Isn’t that one of the names they used to call slaves? Haven’t we moved on yet?

        1. rustacus21 December 3, 2012

          … the pattern is plain enuff to understand. Making excuses only gives cover to those suffering from the deep mental illness that IS racism…

      5. Justin Napolitano December 3, 2012

        You are a racist evidensed by the “black Buck” comment.

      6. RobertCHastings December 3, 2012

        But this was not a ‘black on black” assault, it was a white on black assault,that, in many Southern states (Florida included)is looked upon as justified, or reduced to a lesser assault charge. In the Trayvon Martin case, George Zimmerman was pretty much allowed to stage the crime scene, the investigation was fraught with inaccuracies and inconsistencies, and Mr. Zimmerman, although frequently criticized by the police for being too zealous and actually being told by the police in this case NOT TO PURSUE Trayvon Martin, was still allowed to post bond. Jordan Davis, and almost the other three young men in the vehicle, was clearly murdered, simply because Michael Dunn did not like their music. No weapon was found in their vehicle, which refutes his claim that they threatened him with a gun. This was clearly murder,with no justifiable motive, and it should be treated as such. Where is Nancy Grace when you need her?

      7. dsand1445 December 3, 2012

        There are so many offensive things about your comment Germansmith First “young bucks” what we talking about deer. Your attempt to sound logical here does not work for me. The only modification to stand your ground is to abolish it period. You comparing apples to oranges. Stand your ground to black on black or brown on brown crime. It doesn’t justify the need if anything it increase the opportunity to use the law. From the TAMPA BAY TIMES ..”A Tampa Bay Times survey, compiled from 31 Florida newspapers and public records, shows that the number of cases in which “stand your ground” has been invoked has climbed dramatically in the past year and a half. The analysis shows that police and prosecutors continue to apply the law unevenly.”

      8. turqno January 4, 2013

        I think stopping referring to those two murdered young men as “2 young bucks” would be a step towards “helping them” move above strife. I see no reference to young male deer being killed in the article.

    2. Dol5 December 3, 2012

      I believe you have it right when you stated that the Stand your Ground law is a license to kill. And in those states that have this law this type of killing will continue until this law is stopped. But that may be wishful thinking on my part.

    3. turqno January 4, 2013

      Well said, and true. Thank you.

  2. Jim Myers December 3, 2012

    I can’t help but wonder if a black man felt threatened by a white man, would the law side with the black man, or the white man?

    1. Dominick Vila December 3, 2012

      The answer to your question can be found in most prisons in the USA, and it is not limited to the use of lethal force. If a black man or a Latino kill a white person, that black or Latino is immediately charged with murder. The ground people like Mr. Dunn are entitled to stand on does not belong to every citizen, only the privileged ones. I think it is important to note that neither Davis nor Martin were breaking in into anyone’s property. They were killed for one reason, and one reason only, they were black and were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

  3. howa4x December 3, 2012

    The real name of the law is the legal shooting of black youth

  4. stcroixcarp December 3, 2012

    Do black teenagers have the right to stand their ground against a middle aged white man (or woman) who IS armed and threatening them? What if Davis did have a gun? Wouldn’t he have had the right to kill some guy who threatened him because his music was too loud? Why did this old white guy confront these kids in the first place? He could have just rolled up his windows and driven away. Shame on the NRA for pushing the stand your ground law.

    1. Sand_Cat December 3, 2012

      More shame on Florida for passing it.

  5. BDD1951 December 3, 2012

    My God, what next.

  6. jstsyn December 3, 2012

    Pretty sad for a so called civilized country.

  7. gargray December 3, 2012

    I wonder if he is a republican? You got that right.

  8. Hillbilly December 3, 2012

    We are becoming an uncivilized country with laws like stand your ground and one that the NRA is working on to get passed in Tennessee after the first of the year that says even if an employer says no guns on company property that employees can have guns in their locked cars on the the company’s property and can’t be fired for it.More Republican politicians sticking their noise where it doesn’t belong in a private business rules regarding guns.The gun laws of today make it seem like we are still living in the days of the old west and defending the fort against the attacking Indians.

  9. onedonewong December 3, 2012

    Florida’s stand your ground law is a common sense approach to todays thugs. There are laws in other states that you have to “retreat” before you can shoot UTTER NONSNSE, those laws are in place to protect the criminals not the honest law abiding taxpayer.
    Pull a gun threaten someone with any weapon and you get to meet your maker which makes sense.
    As for Pits defense of “black blindness” I only have to counter with a quip from the rev Jesse Jackson who said that he crosses the street when he sees a group of black coming towards him or following him ….and he’s BLACK.
    Pitt’s defended OJ with the same logic and its a tired argument

  10. rustacus21 December 3, 2012

    How this law ever made it on the books is the biggest mystery of all. It wasn’t needed in the 1st place… that is, unless U aren’t aware of what ‘rich-only tax cut cash’ can do to make mischief & mayhem in civil society (see > http://wwwdotthenationdotcom/blog/166978/how-alec-took-floridas-license-kill-law-national# <). Those conservatives & lazy, irresponsible non-voters among us have this blood on their hands & the sooner these law are repealed & conservative influence & money are erased from our citizen-centered governance, the better the entire nation & planet will be!!! Our nation has gotten away from its Liberal/Progressive roots & these are but 2 examples ('ghost-written' legislation & extra-legal protections for the rich 1%) of how far lost we are as a Democracy! Understanding this, we know what needs to be done now, in 2016, but even more importantly, in this coming up 2014 MidTerms, in ousting conservatives on the payroll of ALEC & other anti-Democracy, anti-Middle Class/working po0r, anti-government conservatives, who have slowly turned America into the nitemare we're now witnessing, but is slowly recovering from…

  11. dsand1445 December 3, 2012

    As an African American father and uncle it has become my biggest concern ,when my son wears his hoody hangs out with his friends. Cowards murdering black teenage boys and claimming they feared for their lives when they initiate the confrontation. THIS IS BAD LAW. Don’t tell me this is not racial. There is no doubt in my mind that if there is even one white teenage boy murderd. This law will be abolished. Who son,nephew,brother will be killed next. Stand Your Ground.

  12. dsand1445 December 3, 2012

    In the first five years the law was in effect, it was invoked 93 times. In the last year and a half, it has been invoked at least an additional 37 times.
    “Justifiable homicides” reported to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement have increased threefold since the law went into effect
    Proponents say the law is working, allowing citizens to protect themselves from harm without worrying about legalities in the heat of the attack.
    But the law has also been used to excuse killings in bar brawls, gang shootouts and road-rage incidents. The Tampa Bay Times Article by By Ben Montgomery and Connie Humburg
    March 23 20012. Now image what the count is now.

  13. looterman December 3, 2012

    “Black Blindness” is right up there alongside “I couldn’t help myself” and “Nobody was looking, so I did it”. They’re all tailor made excuses. “Black Blindness” is just an inverted excuse.

  14. Dee Miller December 4, 2012

    The “Stand your Ground Statutes” Not being a bad thing what so ever and should not be accepted as an affirmative defense that would be defined as a crime if this law was off the books; Such actions as this case would seem on face value to have nothing to do with Racial issues nor Stand your Ground; But some with an agenda served by the connection wan,t to portray such. Young people Do play music loudly; Of what Buisness is that of the lone White Guy and common sense would suggest not confronting 4 teenage boys in such a situation since it is of no concern to you what so ever; This would preclude suggesting that you feared for your life and used lethal force in self defense when if this description is accurate I would assume Dunn as the aggressor and provocator so the Stand your Ground would have nothing to do with anything related to the entire scenario. There is no way this as described have anything to do with Racial Profiling or Stand Your Ground as could be portrayed in a Court of Law.

  15. E. Williams December 4, 2012

    I am astounded at the lengths defense lawyers now go to get their clients off…truth and justice be damned. Clearly, Mr. Dunn’s story was made up after the actual facts took place. We should enact a law against lawyers who knowingly present lies in court to make sure that justice is NOT done. Does this lawyer not know about crime scene analysis? Bullet trajectory? On site cameras? Both she and her client should end up in jail. Florida’s governor, Rick Scott, is a whole other issue. Perhaps Floridians can overturn the Stand Your Ground Law after they have voted Mr. Scott out of office!

  16. Tera Paillet December 4, 2012

    These religious crucifixions against young black men have return behind the family feud between Christianity and Islam. The word Islam did not affect the re-election for President Obama yet; Mormon Mitt didn’t have any momentum to the election even in Florida. The ex-governor has gone stir crazy with governmental biblical time and condolences to all black families who have lost a child by weaponry or adoption.

  17. Sherleye Thomas December 5, 2012


  18. Sherleye Thomas December 5, 2012


  19. byr5773 December 12, 2012

    The sad fact is that by far the largest number of deaths of young black men is by other young black men. Simply headlining the relatively small number of young black men killed by white people is, in itself, far more racist, and just obscures the real problems faced by black people in black communities.

  20. Robert Reed January 11, 2013

    come o there must be video theres always video at any conveince store/gas station

  21. MizzerBill January 28, 2013

    Since most violent crime that is perpetrated against black people is committied BY black people…are we to assume that they too are striken by “Black Blindness”.


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