Michael Dunn was convicted of attempted murder the other day. This was taken as a recapitulation of the Zimmerman acquittal by a number of notables, including Ta-Nehisi Coates, Jessica Williams and the writers of The Daily Show. The actual murder went unpunished, after all, and the value of a person’s life and equality before the law remains a relatively unserious concept. But it’s not all bad. Unlike the Zimmerman case, the jury didn’t stampede for acquittal. The bulk of Dunn’s jury were willing to deadlock and his murder charge will be retried. Dunn’s conviction for attempted murder and his pending retrial for murder is an increment of progress, even if advocates for Jordan Davis can’t see it at the moment.
It’s still all about white people and what white people allow each other to do to everyone else, so the anger at the deadlock is understandable, as is the skepticism about whether the prosecution will do all they can to obtain a conviction in the retrial. So as a white person I’m going to make it just a little worse and talk about white people and our response to the crime committed by Michael Dunn.
Thug Life in Chrome
The ugliest comments online have focused on how “thugs” need to be stood up to, that Dunn was only standing up to the playing of very loud rap music. Dunn’s own words echo this line in talking about other inmates, but he uses even more bigoted, explicitly supremacist language. Loud music is the kind of behavior that violates everyone’s space, and for these bigots it’s a justification for picking a fight with a stranger and escalating all the way to deadly force. It’s also taken as received wisdom that loud rap music is the tip of a criminal underclass, an unterberg, that goes with saggy pants and the other etceteras which are code for an implicitly criminal culture (black) that is opposed to allowing normal (white) people to feel completely easy and comfortable. This feeling of comfort is something to put everything on the line for, especially if the “normal” person has had a bad day and thinks they might need to beat on their girlfriend or shoot a stranger to make the voices stop. And unlike white criminals in lockup, people like Dunn think blacks should get a special message, through mass administrative executions, that their entire culture should Watch Out.
I would just like to note that as someone who lives on a narrow but busy street that— bbbrrrrrmbmbbummmbbuuubmmmmmbm —I’d just like to point out that there are other forms of obnoxi— BRMMMMBMBMBMBUUUBMBBBUUUMMMMBL —obnoxious intrusions of personal space using incredi— BRRRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAPPPBB PBBPBooooooooooooooooo —incredibly loud mechanical dick-waving. These varying forms of intrusive dick-waving aren’t always limited to the Other. We white people have our own thugs and our own thug-emulators.
An Arrow that Strikes True and Shames
Unlike Dunn, instead of shouting at and shooting these inconsiderate suburbanites who are attempting to pass themselves off as members of an outlaw motorcycle gang, I’m happy to just think of these people as entitled jerkoffs or idiot kids. Or, as Trey Parker and Matt Stone put it, they’re just a bunch of the F Word. There are more enlightened (and less homophobic) ways of putting it, but we’re talking about trying to educate a bunch of entitled suburban honkeys who think that growing a goatee and putting a 4 inch exhaust on their pickup makes them a badass (for example No. 2). Baby steps are needed, and once a few more NFL players come out of the closet, maybe a few circle-track drivers and an oil magnate, the loop will be closed. And then we can start executing these whitebread fuckers, because people who put unmuffled exhaust pipes on a street vehicle are obviously up to no good and we are putting them On Notice. There’s no telling what these cranked-up pinheads could be planning. Possibly they are coming up with pretexts for shooting the rest of us.
Frankly, the image I see in the mirror every morning—straight white male of rural background and conventional haircut—deserves an epithet of its own that elicits offended gasps instead of giggles. If there are sides to the miniscule amount of genetic diversity in the human population, then there are some assholes who are really letting my side down. My folks deserve a very dirty name, because the criminal thugs among us are only slowly getting the message. Words like “pig” and “cracker” don’t touch us and we’ll only stop giggling at the anger of women and other races when we’re no longer in control.