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'Stand-Your-Ground's Race Problem: Four Blunt Points on the Jordan Davis Shooting

Michael Dunn on the stand during his trial in Jacksonville, Fla.
Michael Dunn on the stand during his trial in Jacksonville, Fla.Photograph by Bob Mack/Florida Times-Union via AP Photo

The jury is out on whether Michael Dunn committed first-degree murder when he shot and killed Jordan Davis at a Florida gas station in November 2012. Whatever conclusion jurors reach, though, the Jacksonville “loud music” case ought to be seen as a reckoning for “stand your ground” laws such as Florida’s, which allow people to use deadly force in response to a reasonable fear their lives are threatened.

Davis’ pointless death—whether or not it’s ultimately deemed the result of premeditated murder—illustrates the need to rethink whether stand your ground encourages racially tinged paranoia likely to lead to the killing of young black men.