If there is one consistent theme among shooters such as George Zimmerman and Michael Dunn, it is insisting that although they are the ones who fired the gun at an unarmed person who died, they are the “victim.”
Tapes made of Dunn’s telephone conversations with his fiance from jail as he awaited trial after gunning down an unarmed 17 year-old have been released. They clearly show not only his blatant racism but his perception of being victimized and not holding any of the blame.
After being told by his fiance that she believed he is innocent, Dunn replied, “I was thinking about that today. I was like, I’m the f***ing victim here. I was the one who was victimized. I mean I don’t know how else to put it. It’s like they attacked me. I’m the victim. I’m the victor but I was the victim too.”
In another call, he compared himself to a rape victim who has been accused of “asking for it” by dressing provocatively. That is not simply overreach, it is an insult to every rape victim, they were actually attacked, not just annoyed by a group of young men who happened to be of the wrong race.
Anderson Cooper discussed this mindset with Benjamin Crump, attorney for Trayvon Martin’s family on his CNN show, Anderson Cooper 360 on Tuesday.
Cooper began by asking Crump, “We hear Michael Dunn say over and over again that he was the victim in this situation not Jordan Davis, when you hear him say this what goes through your mind?”
“Well unfortunately you have all these individuals with these imaginary fears of young black men for whatever reason,” Crump replied. And then when they’re held accountable by the law or just being arrested, Anderson, then they feel like they are the victim. Well I’ll tell you they are not more of a victim than Jordan Davis’s family, they are not more of a victim than Trayvon Martin’s family.”
The conversation turned to how the existence of stand your ground laws endanger the lives of young black men because with the victim dead there is no one to dispute whether or not there was sufficient reason for the shooter to feel his life was in danger.
As Crump explains, stand your ground laws should be called “don’t miss laws” because if you miss you go to prison, but if you don’t miss and kill your victim you walk free.
Cooper followed up with a discussion by a panel consisting of criminal defense attorney Joseph Haynes Davis, New York Times op-ed columnist and CNN political commentator Charles Blow and the CNN legal team of Sunny Hostin and Mark Geragos.
Cooper first asks Sunny Hostin if anyone feels that the attack was entirely racial and that Dunn would not have reacted as he did had the SUV been full of white youths, how the release of these recordings has affected her opinion.
“It just solidifies my opinion,” she said. “When you listen to the calls he talks about the black people in jail as animals. He writes letters from jail calling blacks thugs, and I think what was so interesting is when he writes the letter to his grandmother and he says ‘this may sound radical, but if others did, when black people threaten them killed them maybe they would change their behavior.’ I mean, I believe that speaks volumes about the person’s character.”
Blow spoke about how these boys were doing what all 17 year old boys do, being 17 year old boys and how we have all been in a situation where someone’s loud music was annoying and said that you deal with it, you don’t open fire on the vehicle because you “feel threatened.”
You can watch the discussions in the videos below from CNN.