Denise Hunt tears up as she finds out the jury is deadlocked on the first-degree murder charge for Michael Dunn outside of the Duval County Courthouse as jury deliberations enter the fourth day of deliberations, Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014, in Jacksonville, Fla. Large crowds gathered outside the courthouse to wait for a verdict in the Dunn trial. Dunn was convicted Saturday of attempted murder in the shooting death of a teenager during an argument over loud music, but jurors could not agree on the most serious charge of first-degree murder. (AP Photo/The Florida Times-Union, Kelly Jordan)

Tears follow the Michael Dunn verdict

Denise Hunt tears up as she finds out the jury is deadlocked on the first-degree murder charge for Michael Dunn outside of the Duval County Courthouse as jury deliberations enter the fourth day of deliberations, Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014, in Jacksonville, Fla. Dunn was convicted Saturday of attempted murder in the shooting death of a teenager during an argument over loud music, but jurors could not agree on the most serious charge of first-degree murder. (AP Photo/The Florida Times-Union, Kelly Jordan)


WE’VE CRIED COUNTLESS TEARS concerning our boys. But not even a river of tears can wash away the reality that our sons face each day. Their lives are not valued like those of other children, because while they are precious to us, the larger society sees boys of color as a threat.

That much was clear in the wake of the Michael Dunn verdict–a jury decision in which a killer was found guilty of second degree attempted murder, but was not convicted of first degree murder in the shooting death of 17-year-old Jordan Davis.

[blocktext align=”right”]”Not even a river of tears can wash away the reality that our sons face each day. Their lives are not valued like those of other children, because while they are precious to us, the larger society sees boys of color as a threat.”[/blocktext]Seeing that reality was hurtful, because we see our own sons in the face of each black boy who is murdered. We hear the lusty cries that greeted us when they emerged from the womb. We remember their first words, and visualize their first steps, and revisit the dreams we had for them from the moment we looked into their eyes.

Each time a black boy is killed a piece of our collective family dies. In response we bottle up our emotions and guard them from the children who remain. We tuck our tears away and hide them from a world that doesn’t seem to care. In many cases, we even hide our true feelings from ourselves.

Photo: Milton Perry

Photo: Milton Perry

But today I want to give our families a chance to speak out about what it means to lose our boys to violence. And after we express the rage, and the hurt, and the pain, I want us to do one thing more. I want us to talk about solutions, because if the killing of our boys is going to stop, it must stop with us.

Tell us what you think. A boy’s life may very well depend on it.

Solomon Jones is editor and creator of Solomonjones.com

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Skdamc Da Partystarter

Hey Solomon. There is no such thing as a bloodless revolution. I’m at the point that I want to pick up arms and defend our future. These murdered children could have cured cancer, solved homelessness or saved a life. No society in power has ever willingly given up that power. I’m tired of the marches, sit ins, talking heads tsk-tsking these barbaric acts against our future. I’m starting to think of Chester Himes’ unfinished novel “Plan B” as more of an instructional manual. I’m that angry.

Solomon Jones

I understand the anger, but you’ve got to channel that anger into something positiv. Otherwise it will eat you up. My suggestion is that you try to find a way to make a positive difference in the life of one young man. Just one. That will make all the difference in the world.

Skdamc Da Partystarter

I’ve coached youth basketball, I was a single parent for 18 years, raising my son and I’ve been an active participant in the lives of my daughters. I mentor a young man who wants to be a DJ because I DJ
myself. I did what folks said we were not capable of doing. I also watched grief almost destroy my son when his brother and best friend was brutally murdered in 2005. My son has never been in trouble with the law but that is nothing to brag about. He’s not supposed to be in trouble. My anger stems from the fact that my son, my namesake, can be taken from me simply because of the color of his skin. Most of us have faced some kind of discrimination in our lives but this stuff here eats at me. My great uncle was lynched in North Carolina causing my late grandfather to move up north in the ’30’s. My family was one of the first Black families to integrate Cobbs Creek when my grandfather brought a house on 62nd and Spruce. The edge of West Philly. My grandfather owned a haberdashery, a candy store and later retired from Dietz Watson as a head Butcher. My grandfather put 7 children through catholic school. In 1961, he purchased a brand new station wagon for his large family. He was STOPPED by a terrible police officer with the car filled with my grandmother, father, aunts and uncles. He asked my grandfather how could a N***** afford this car and what was he doing in this neighborhood. He belittled my grandfather in front of his family and my father, since deceased, told me he saw his father “broken”. History repeats itself because in 2009, I was stopped by two rogue police officers with my now wife in the car. I was in front of my house. Because of my blood pressure medicine, I had to use the bathroom terribly. The “officer” attempted to lecture me in front of my fiancée as if I was a child. I told the officer of my condition, told him he could follow me into my home but I was going to the bathroom or he was going to shoot me. I also told him I did not need to be lectured by him. Now, there were people outside side so it wasn’t some act of bravery but frustration. He gave me a ticket for not having brake lights but do you know what he said to me on the loud speaker when he stopped me? “Take your foot off the brake.” I paid the fine , went to traffic court and won. I say all this to say that this dehumanizing of Black men is ingrained in our society, it’s part of the culture of America and I sometimes feel as if I’ve had my fill. I appreciate your advice and I’ll calm down. But my son is now 24 and he is STILL in endangered and will be for the rest of his life. That’s no way for us to live, man. Thank you for letting me vent.

phyllis ryan jackson

Saturday afternoon I was in the bleachers watching my grandson playing basketball. I loved seeing the game which I played over 50 years ago, but I also obsessively checked Michael Skolnik on Twitter regarding the jury’s verdict on Michael Dunn’s killing of a young man who could have been one of the players racing up and down the basketball court. As Jordan Davis’ Dad said following the verdict, there are “a lot of good kids out there”; indeed, I was watching good kids last Saturday, and I pray, that we can, as a nation, invest in their futures and treasure and protect them all.

Lynda Rubin

I’m horrified by the number of people, white, black, older, younger killed
by gun violence every day in this country, on the streets, in malls and in the schools, and we need to do something about that. That being said, young black men and boys are being shot and killed because people believe that it’s OK to do so. It’s lynching
using another weapon. We need to re-educate people throughout this country about what lynching was all about and the lengths that Jim Crow South (and, yes, less publicly elsewhere) went to keep African-Americans under their thumb. It took the televised in your face actions of these atrocities in the 50’s and 60’s to force good people to recognize that they could not ignore these anymore.

Solomon Jones

You’re right, Lynda. Television made the rest of America say “This is wrong” when they saw the atrocities taking place during the Civil Rights movement. But in today’s climate, where things like this have so much more visibility because of social media, cable television, etc., we seem to see the opposite effect. Too many Americans seem to be defending these actions. I wonder how we use the power of the media to turn the tide like it did during the Civil Rights movement.