Another Warrant for Profound Doubt
It is irrational to think the first-degree murder trial of Michael Dunn is merely another episode in a “STAND YOUR GROUND” reality series. The subject matter of the trial is too painfully vile to be dismissed as just an accidental probability in what we shall be obligated eventually to call “global death-planning.” Once the trial is concluded, regardless of the verdict, we shall have to locate it in relation to violence (especially male on male violence) as a primal American virtue. American virtues, of course, are universal. Ultimately, we shall find ourselves locating or mapping the negative fourth-dimensionality of the twenty-first century. Despite the juridical necessity to avoid contempt for Florida law, the distorting filters of mass media and social networks sharpen our intuitions about Dunn’s intent from angles of critical race theory. The trial of Michael Dunn serves as yet another warrant for profound doubt about the efficacy of American justice. Like the trial and exoneration of George Zimmerman, the Dunn trial tempts us to inscribe permanent disdain for theories of justice as they manifest themselves in the worlds we inhabit.
Our ground for such disdain is predicated on a “reasonable inference rule” and on unambiguous historical evidence of white male recuperation of a bogus entitlement to murder non-white males. It is on this ground that I stand and remark that we have a capital insult to intelligence in the fact that Mark O’Mara, George Zimmerman’s defense attorney, should provide expert analysis of the Dunn trial. If the construct of justice were more than a figment of legal theory, O’Mara would have the professional decency to recuse himself. But decency is rare in the public sphere.
From an unchartered sector of consciousness, I hear the ghost screams of Jordan Davis and Trayvon Martin and twenty plus victims of the Atlanta Child Murders which occurred between 1979 and 1981. It is the bane of long memory that a few of us are condemned to hear in the unfinished song of crime and punishment in the United States, in the unfinished ancient opera of global violence. I have begun to think that the blatant acts of Michael Dunn, George Zimmerman, and other males who perform under the color of standing ground belong to the devil’s cut in the Book of Job.
It seems to be something other than a coincidence that Dunn’s trial unfolds during Black History Month. From the vantage of legal narrative, it seems to be a kind of anthropological reality-testing and rejection of myths of American progress authored by the State of Florida. Common African American sense bids me to leave conclusions to a future where truth might be verified without prejudice. But my male humanity tempts me to imagine that a few good men might join Nathaniel Turner and his comrades in sending a message to give eyesight to the color- and otherwise-blind citizens of our troubled and troubling nation. I hasten to assure the National Security Agency that my dream of revenge is an act of fiction.
Jerry W. Ward, Jr. February 10, 2014