commentary by Patrick H. Moore

Now that the guilty verdict has been delivered in the Michael Dunn re-trial for the death of Jordan Davis, it is a foregone conclusion that he will spend the rest of his life in prison. Jordan Davis’ family feels that justice has been achieved and no doubt Dunn’s supporters believe that a grave injustice has been perpetrated.

Although I believe a second-degree-murder conviction with have been a more reasonable outcome, the evidence and how it should have been construed is not what I will discuss in this sad and remorseful post.

dunn3Why sad and remorseful? Simple. I am sad and remorseful because Michael Dunn could not live and let live and as a result Jordan Davis’ young life has been snuffed out and Michael Dunn’s life is destroyed. Assuming he lives for another 40 years, he will spend the next 14,600 days in prison. Thus, if Michael Dunn dies (metaphorically speaking) 68 times per day (approximately every 21 minutes) for the next 40 years, he will die 1,000,000 deaths (metaphorically speaking).

This assumes that Michael will feel utmost despair about three times every hour for the next 40 years which may be a conservative estimate. During this long desert-like stretch, he will never be a free man and he will never have sex with a woman. This is the harsh reality he now faces.

dunn5And why? Simple. Because he could not live and let live. When he saw and heard Jordan Davis and his comrades blasting their so-called “thug music”, he veered off into a dangerously aggressive state and ended up, for whatever reasons, blasting away at the young men and their vehicle. All he would have had to have done is simply sit there seething for a few minutes while his girlfriend was in the liquor store. He could then have driven away cursing and gnashing his teeth and no harm would have been done. Jordan Davis would still be alive and Michael Dunn would still be a free man. He could still be driving around locked and loaded cursing young men who play “thug music” and thinking, “What’s the world coming too?”

dunn15At this point, Jordan Davis cannot die 1,000,000 deaths (metaphorical or otherwise) because he is already dead. Although Ian Fleming once wrote, “You only live twice”, it seems likely that you only die once. Although I’m not certain, I believe Jordan and his friends could have quickly driven away when the aggressive (and very possibly intoxicated man) approached their vehicle. But sadly Jordan Davis also could not live and let live. Rather, if the reports are correct, he flung some angry words in Dunn’s direction who, at some point, grabbed his gun and started blasting.

Dunn started it, Davis continued it and Dunn finished it. Bang!

The young men were only playing their music, no doubt too loudly but that’s what an awful lot of young people do and have been doing for a long time. In my youth, it was the counter-culture working hard to be obnoxious; we had no finer pastime than pissing off the squares. A few times it almost got me killed or at least seriously injured but I was lucky. In those days, not so many people were driving around locked and loaded.


The Thugs Didn’t Like My Looks

dunn17On one occasion in 1967 (at the age of 17) I was hitchhiking on the edge of Madison, Wisconsin. I wasn’t even being obnoxious; I was simply hitchhiking, on my way back to California. A couple of white thugs caught wind of me and decided they were going to FUCK ME UP! They basically charged me from across a deserted parking lot on the edge of town. I have no idea why the parking lot was deserted in the middle of day; it was almost like it was a visitation from a Stephen King novel (the diaboloical parking lot). So the thugs charged and they were big, violent dum-dums and I was a skinny hippie who hadn’t been in a fight since junior high.

I would have either been killed or badly injured; no doubt the former if they had gotten completely carried away once I was down and bleeding. At a minimum, I probably would not have walked away.

dunn10Time seemed to pause and the thugs began to race toward me at breakneck speed. Two house painters in a white painter’s van were driving into town; somehow they saw this all unfold, realized I was in grave danger, spun a quick dunn12U-turn and pulled up alongside me with the thugs no more than 15 feet away. They flung open the sliding doors of their van and I dove inside with the thugs so close I could practically smell their breath.

I always joke that on that strange day, God saved me and perhaps He/She did. I’ll never know for sure.

I was obviously very lucky and so were the thugs. Because I was snatched away from the jaws of disaster, they came away from this with no blood on their hands. They were not charged with any serious violent crimes and I sped away toward my next adventure.

dunn6Jordan Davis was not nearly so lucky. Neither was Michael Dunn. The software engineer could not live and let live and therefore he will die 1,000,000 deaths. dunn7Jordan Davis apparently had to get his two cents in and therefore aggravated an already volatile situation, even though he and his friends could apparently have retreated WITHOUT EVEN TURNING THEIR MUSIC DOWN.

I had no such option but Lady Luck was riding with me in the guise of two benevolent house painters in a white painters’ van.

One day I will die but hopefully it will only be one death and hopefully it will not be overly painful. In the meantime, I am filled with sadness and remorse for Jordan Davis and Michael Dunn and all the unfortunate souls whose luck has run out.


dunn13Now the sun’s coming up, I’m riding with Lady Luck, freeway cars and trucks…

–Tom Waits “Ol’ 55”





16 Responses to Michael Dunn Could Not ‘Live and Let Live’ and Therefore He Will Die 1,000,000 Deaths

  1. Pam Harper-Smith says:

    Well done! You brought it home…….Not only their 2 lives will no longer exist, but how many other lives have been affected by this one act of aggression….Just because their music was loud, I agree, when I was young, we played so loud, then I recall my son driving home every evening, with the bass blaring, then just before he was home, he would turn it own! Just remembering when one was also young, and tolerance of others would save a lot of lives. I’m happy that the painters’ van returned to save you!

    • PatrickHMoore says:

      THX, Pam. I thank my lucky stars that the Painters decided to go out of their way and help a kid in need.

      it’s strange that tolerance seems to be a forgotten concept in our society today.

    • Rick says:

      Hell, at age 50+, I still play my rock ‘n roll music loud, especially while gassing up my car. Unfortunately, some people are very thin-skinned and take offense to loud music.

  2. liselasalle says:

    Davis’mother said publicly that she felt bad for the fact that Dunn would spend his life in prison, even if she agrees with the verdict.

    She also said she blames guns and thought that Dunn snapped, which does not fit 1st degree.

    Sad for all involved. I am sure Dunn did not go to his son’s wedding thinking he would attack someone at the gas station while his girl went to get chips and wine.

    I hate guns

  3. Tina says:

    Wonderfully done, I enjoyed reading this and your perspective. It is a good thing you were saved too but that moment must have been terrifying as they charged you.

    It is absolutely crazy that we do not value each other in today’s society. I wonder if Mr.Dunn will read this article, and most importantly I wonder if he truly feel like this was all worth it in the end….his bravado cost him his freedom.

  4. Max Myers says:

    Great post, mate and yeah, it’s so tragic that so many lives have been ruined because his temper, initially, at least, created this terrible situation. Regret is the domain of fools and they will all have a long time to consider the course they took.

    I like guns.

  5. Scatter says:

    A beautiful post Patrick.

  6. Mum says:

    Who was it that said, “Get busy living or get busy dying.”? Yes, sadly, Jordan Davis is dead and Michael Dunn will be busy dying a 1,000,000 deaths for his actions. Neither could “live and let live”. Good article. Heard you’re busy writing a crime novel – can’t wait to read it!

    • PatrickHMoore says:

      “Get busy living or get busy dying.” Wow! Not unlike Dylan’s immortal line: “He not busy being born is busy dying.” Sadly, M. Dunn must not have been living, or perhaps his version of life left little room for air, for tolerance, for diversity. As a result, Jordan Davis is dead and M. Dunn is going to the Death House for the rest of his time here on earth.

      The crime novel, “Cicero’s Dead”, should be out around the first of November. It’s getting close so naturally we’re pretty excited!

  7. Rick says:

    Great post, Patrick. I’m also glad that the painters in the van rescued you.

  8. Darcia Helle says:

    Poignant piece of writing, Patrick. It’s beyond crazy to shoot someone for playing music too loudly. Hell, we’d be shooting most of the population at one time or another.

    What strikes me here is that this wasn’t really about the music at all. If Dunn felt a desperate need to stop the music, why not shoot the radio? I could be way off, but I think this was more about Dunn feeling disrespected. He took his misplaced dislike of teens (probably black teens specifically) into the battle, Jordan made the mistake of mouthing off in response (as most teens probably would), and Dunn snapped. The music was just the catalyst for an angry man’s vengeance. To me, and again I could be totally misreading, it feels like Dunn was a time bomb looking for a target and an excuse to teach the wayward youth a lesson in respect.

    As for your personal story, that’s way too close for comfort! I wonder if those bullies ever found a different target. I’m happy you, at least, did not become one of their victims.

    • PatrickHMoore says:

      Hard to say if the thugs ever grew up. They were probably in their early 20s. I was very lucky.

      I tend to think you’re right about Dunn. Serious anger issues projected onto someone who symbolized something in his confused mind.

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