Friday, November 30, 2012

And Yet Another Case of Gun Cockiness

Down in Satellite Beach, Florida, a man with a permit to carry a concealed weapon killed a teenager in a car that was playing loud music:

Michael Dunn, 45, was moved Tuesday from the Brevard County Jail back to Jacksonville, where he will face charges of shooting Jordan Davis, 17, to death.

The two came face to face Friday night at the Gate Station on Southside Boulevard and Baymeadows Road. Police say an argument over loud music ended with Dunn firing several shots into an SUV carrying Davis and three of his friends.

Now, for the first time, we're hearing Dunn's side of the story, from his attorney Robin Lemonidis. She said, "They were blasting some rap music. And he said he rolled down his window, pulled up on the passenger side, and rolled down his window and asked, would you mind turning that down? And said it very politely."

The attorney says the teenager in the front seat turned down the radio. But then she says her client heard the teens cussing at him, making threats. She says Dunn rolled down his window and said, "He said excuse me, are you talking to me?"

At that point, she says one of the teenagers told Dunn he was dead. "And that's when the guy in the back seat raised the barrel of a shotgun over the rim of the window," said Lemonidis. "At that point, he just snapped into self protection mode."

Dunn's attorney claims that's when her client reached for a gun he had in the glove compartment of his car, loaded it, and fired. "Firing at the car, because they're showing him a gun, and he can't see their hands," she said. "And he doesn't know. They're about to blast him in the face with a shotgun, as far as he knows."

She says Dunn then drove away, not realizing he had hit anyone. The next morning, she said Dunn heard on the news someone was dead. He drove to his home in Satellite Beach, and turned himself in. "He did what any responsible firearms owner would do," said Lemonidis.

JSO says no drugs and no guns were found in the teens' SUV.

Action News asked Lemonidis why Dunn didn't call police. She said her client was more comfortable turning himself in at a familiar place.

OK, here we have another case of a man with a legally-carried gun getting cocky and initiating a scenario where he would be able to shoot someone. The situation started when Dunn, not the teenagers, moved his car beside that of the teens and asked them to turn their music down.

Well, here's the deal, folks: when you're carrying a concealed weapon, you don't get to act as the Noise Police, telling teenagers to turn their music down. When you're carrying a concealed weapon you mind your own business, unless you or someone in your immediate vicinity is in danger of death or great bodily harm, and you had better think twice about acting as a Good Samaritan to protect a third party you don't know.

Did Dunn really see a shotgun? Chances are we'll never know. Dunn is in the wrong because he initiated the encounter. Playing music too loudly is a misdemeanor at best, and certainly is not a capital offense. And it's not the job of concealed permit carriers to deal with it. If Dunn had a problem with the noise, he probably had a cell phone he could have used to call police to the scene to deal with it. Instead he played cop himself, and killed a young man. George Zimmerman, when he shot Trayvon Martin, perhaps was justified in shooting, since Trayvon was assaulting him at the time; Dunn had no such provocation...or excuse.

Lesson: Carrying a gun doesn't turn you into a cop. Dunn will probably see prison time for this; chances are good that he had a clean criminal record before this, since he was able to acquire a CCW license. Damned shame he didn't learn discretion.


Gunnutmegger said...

"OK, here we have another case of a man with a legally-carried gun getting cocky and initiating a scenario where he would be able to shoot someone."

Neither you or I know the complete facts of this situation. It seems fishy, I agree. But those are the words of an attorney, not the actual party involved.

In such cases I prefer to err on the side of caution and not condemn lawful gun owners until a clearer picture of what happened is available.

In that manner, I can avoid being lumped in with gun-haters like the Sarah Bradys and Joan Petersons of the world. Frankly, those people are assholes and I won't help them tar the reputation of gun owners.

But your mileage may vary.

Bob said...

@Gunnutmegger: Your quote isn't from an attorney, it's my opinion of what happened, which is why it is in regular font whereas the quoted article is in italics.

All I can do as a blogger is analyze the actions reported in the article. If I think those actions were unwise, I'll say so. My readers can comment on what I write and point out any errors in my analyses, and hopefully we come to a mutually acceptable understanding of what was done correctly and what was not.

In the current story, we have a gun owner who approached strangers and asked them to turn down their loud music. Was he in the habit of doing so before he started carrying a concealed handgun? If so, that points in one direction; if not, it points in another. The general rule a gun owner should follow, though, is that once you decide to carry a concealed weapon, more discretion in your interactions with fellow citizens is required, not less.

Gunnutmegger said...

More discretion is a wise choice. No argument there.

But where is the line drawn?

And how is asking someone to turn down loud music an inherently provocative act?

There is too much that we don't know about this incident.