By// Denene Millner
Just months after the shooting death of Trayvon Martin brought national attention to Florida’s controversial stand your ground law, another black boy is dead by the hand of a gun owner who says he
shot out of fear. Now, the parents of Jordan Davis are looking for answers—and changes to a law they say allows for vigilante justice.
Even after the horrifying phone call that revealed his child might be lying on an emergency room table and the worry-racked half-hour drive to the hospital, Ron Davis held on to a sliver of hope. He prayed that even if his youngest son had been shot, that he would still be okay. But when medical staff finally compared the photo on Davis’ cell phone with the teenage body a few rooms over, and returned with a team of people— including a doctor, a chaplain and two police officers— he knew that every parent’s worst nightmare had rushed to life for him in Technicolor.
The lifeless youth was indeed his son Jordan Russell Davis, a promising 17-year-old high school junior who had hopes of being a Marine. How his child died added rock salt and hot pepper to Davis’ shattered heart: Jordan was shot and killed by a Florida man upset that the teenager and his friends were…
listening to loud music.
“When the doctor saw my tears, his eyes welled up,” Davis tells JET in an emotional interview. “He said, ‘He’s such a nice-looking kid, but I just couldn’t revive him. I’m so sorry, Mr. Davis.’ That’s all I heard. That’s all I hear now.
“They said I could see my son, but because there was an investigation, I couldn’t touch him,” Davis recalls. “But when I saw Jordan lying on that table, I just grabbed him and I kissed him. They had to tear me away. And then I just sat there with him. He looked like he was sleeping, but we all know the finality of it.”
It is the permanence of Jordan’s death, and a proclamation by an attorney that his killer, software developer
Michael Dunn, may invoke the controversial Stand Your Ground defense, that has Davis and Jordan’s mother Lucia McBath fighting to dismantle laws that allow ordinary citizens to carry firearms in public and shoot to kill without judicial repercussion. Their call for gun law reform comes only nine months after another Floridian, George Zimmerman, employed a similar tactic to justify killing 17-year-old, Trayvon Martin, inspiring a nationwide referendum on race, the vulnerability of Black boys and our country’s fascination with guns.
TO READ MORE ABOUT JORDAN DAVIS AND STAND YOUR GROUND, PICK UP THE NEW ISSUE OF JET MAGAZINE, ON SALE TODAY.