News From Terre Haute, Indiana

February 18, 2014

RONN MOTT: Another death

Ronn Mott
Special to the Tribune-Star

---- — Michael Dunn was attending his son’s wedding. With him, his fiance, or girlfriend, and he had driven her to a nearby convenience store, pulled up beside an SUV that was blaring its music loud enough to hear on the moon, and it made Dunn angry. An argument about the music ensued and it did not get quieter. Dunn said something to his lady friend about really hating this thug music. There was movement inside the SUV and Dunn said he saw the barrel of a shotgun and decided to defend himself. He shot up the SUV and killed a teenage boy.

I’m really sick about this. I’m sick of the states giving everybody and their blind uncle the right to carry a gun, and I’m sick of “gangsta” rap music being used as a sound weapon against the straight and narrow of the white man, and I’m sick and tired of every time this happens it’s a young, black man who will not have an opportunity to be anything other than what he was when he died.

I try to be polite at 4-way stops, often allowing other cars go in front of me when it is my turn. It most often just takes a few seconds, but it gives me an opportunity to be kind to other drivers. The Michael Dunn episode need not ever be. He was not shot at or threatened by anything other than the music and some verbiage. If the boys had only turned the music down, if Mr. Dunn had decided not to tell them to do so and simply left … this killing would never have happened.

For God’s sake, an ounce of being polite, just an ounce, and this would have never occurred. On the charges that Michael Dunn was convicted of, he will spend the rest of his life in prison or not get out until he is a very old man. A 19-year-old boy would be alive with his entire life ahead of him. Now, he’s dead. All of the lives around this incident have been crushed by it. It is so stupid. These teenagers not wanting some middle-age white man to tell them anything about their music, a middle-age man angry about what he has heard and what has been said to him … all of this testosterone, one life dead and others ruined.

I don’t like this defiant music of the street. In fact, I think it is a joke. It isn’t even music, but for someone to get killed over something he likes, whether I like it or not, doesn’t matter … does not matter!

It was his music and he has every right to hear it. Now, this totally impolite incident has killed one and more than likely will send another to jail for the rest of his life. We’re getting to be a senseless nation. I’m afraid this will not be the last of the lack of sensitivity in dealing with our fellow humans. Every time this happens I have to wonder … is there any hope for us Americans? Can it be the diversity we want to have is not going to be allowed to be a success?  

I hope this young boy’s family can survive this. And I hope the same for Dunn’s family as well.

God bless America, and may we grow smarter before we grow angrier again.

Ronn Mott, a longtime radio personality in Terre Haute, writes commentaries for the Tribune-Star. His pieces are published online Tuesday and Thursday on Tribstar.com, and in the print and online editions on Saturday.