Michael Dunn a Victim of Audio Terrorism?
Did “Audio Terrorism” Cause Michael Dunn to Snap?
Yes, “audio terrorism“ is a thing. In Tampa, Florida and in other communities, they want to make it illegal. Audio terrorism describes the impact on the public when excessively loud music emanates from a passenger vehicle using a highly amplified sound system. Some of the immediate effects on the surrounds are the obvious noise, as well as rattling of windows and mirrors in other drivers’ vehicles. Coupled with safety concerns are health risks. In addition to having their windows and mirrors rattled, those exposed to extraordinarily high decibels experience raised blood pressure and a temporary rush of adrenaline. Hearing is also impaired. These symptoms were claimed to have been experienced by Michael Dunn when he was confronted with a vehicle occupied by four teenagers whose blasting music had Dunn feeling a sense of being under attack. This is how it gets to be known as audio terrorism.
Unfortunately, Dunn’s request to the teenagers to turn down the music, and the response that followed, resulted in a confrontation and the death of Jordan Davis, who was one of the occupants of the vehicle emitting loud music. Some would say that Dunn should simply have moved his vehicle away from the noise. Others believe the public has a right to airwaves free of excessively loud music that causes physical and mental harm to those nearby. Few have been willing to discuss the actual physical and mental impact that occurs in the presence of sudden exposure to extreme sound decibel levels from a nearby vehicle. Instead, most people focus on the resulting confrontation and tragic death of Jordan Davis. It takes a more analytical mind to dissect the full of the situation. In a civilized society, we still need to define what civil behavior is. As technology and access to it create new areas where sensitivity is needed, we must continually redefine what is acceptable public behavior. This ongoing process is often neglected.
In the case of Jordan Davis’ having been shot, CNN television personalities Don Lemon and Sunny Hostin have cried for weeks that Michael Dunn pulled out his gun entirely out of dislike of loud music, and because of race (the teens were black). It seems it’s always about race with Sunny Hostin unless the perpetrator is black, in which case she has nothing to say. Don Lemon endlessly oversimplifies this case, on national television, to the insult of millions with an ounce of intelligence. CNN had hung Michael Dunn out to dry long before there was a trial. They had invested a lot in his guilt. This narrow focus is exactly what perpetuates animosity and bigotry in this country. It’s certainly not fair and balanced.
Another crucial reason for cracking down on “audio terrorism” in Florida is the threat it poses to public safety. If a vehicle’s driver blasts music at 125 decibels while an emergency vehicle is attempting to pass, neither that driver nor other drivers in the vicinity can hear clearly the siren of the emergency vehicle. The drowning sounds from an amplified audio system present a serious safety hazard for all concerned. Keep in mind; these factors impact the driver and passengers in his vehicle with far greater impact and impairment as well.
The Michael Dunn case is more complex than just loud music. Allegations exist of threats beyond the music, which led to gunfire. These factors are still being worked out in the courts. Michael Dunn was recently convicted of attempted manslaughter for shooting at the vehicle occupied by the teenagers. The goal of the anti audio terrorist measures is to expand existing laws pertaining to excessive noise and disturbing the peace. As a society, it seems we’ve reached an unfortunate point of actually needing to enforce being civil to one another, even when it comes to how loudly we play our music while in proximity to others. To me, it’s just common sense. I was taught to respect the space of others while out in public. Playgrounds are for children to scream and holler to their hearts’ content. The public streets should not be an adult battleground for the right to hear oneself think.
In Florida, they aim to quash audio terrorism. Any stereo that can be heard 50 feet, or more, from a vehicle has now been outlawed in Pinellas County and in Sarasota where fines can be imposed. A new Tampa ordinance was preliminarily passed in March 2013. Under the draft, first-time violators would get a $250 ticket, $400 for a second offense. The third offense could mean a $500 fine and/or 60 days in jail. The city council voted 6-1 in favor. The ordinance is welcomed by fed-up citizens who say it’s been long overdue.
Yes, audio terrorism is a thing. It’s deadly serious too.
CNN Ignores Full Facts Including Audio Terrorism in Favor of Playing Race Card
Of course, a few pawns at CNN inject robust decibel levels of racism as being the main issue in the Michael Dunn case, while ignoring the full picture. Sunny Hostin and Don Lemon are always on the same sad note about “white privilege” versus black profiling rather than using complex reasoning. Jeffrey Toobin (another CNN sounding board) echoes Hostin and Lemon, backing their bigotry with ardent sincerity to boost ratings. On a recent panel show on CNN, in speaking of the Michael Dunn case, Jeffrey Toobin said, “This was a case about a kid killed because he was black.” This was quickly followed by Sunny Hostin chiming in, “Well said!” Those are direct quotes. How do you simplify it down to race so readily? Ratings.
So, that’s all CNN gets from this? I’ve never seen so-called journalists project such narrow views. They seem incapable of examining complex layers. Don Lemon is practically giddy with sophomoric angst about the plight of the victimized black man. Wake up and smell the coffee, Don. The Civil Rights Movement was actually a thing too. Affirmative Action has come and gone with decades spent deferring white persons’ “privileges” in preference of conferring favor to minorities, regardless of abilities. There’s still more work to do in the scheme of things. What did we get for all of those sacrifices? We’ve lost a lot of traction in education and productivity in this nation, but we have the first black president in history. Now, please recognize that this wailing and flailing arms about race does nothing but perpetuate a climate of racism. It has to stop. Younger folks won’t recall this, but during the 70s and 80s there actually was a period when racial harmony was coming together and this nation was less divided than it is right now.
How about a little balance, CNN? A good audio technician knows how to adjust the balance and tweak the equalizer. A true audiophile knows that playing music too loudly only distorts and ruins it. Shouting racism at every turn results in the same undesirable distortion and loss of harmony. It’s time to grow up and help fix the problems within our communities, not continuously cry racism while missing the rest of the notes. Try changing your tune and being part of the solution.
Television Journalists Need to Set an Excellent Example
We need a better example from the journalists at CNN. This recent shooting case was not just about loud music. Firing a gun while in an agitated state is just one layer of the Michael Dunn, Jordan Davis story. (Is this another strong argument for gun control?) Did you talk about that between rants of racism? The affects of music so loud that everyone’s blood pressure goes up is another aspect. Did you look at it from that perspective? Applying the law objectively is another facet. It’s not just about race. It’s about a jury and a fair trial. Try using more complex reasoning for a change, Sunny Hostin and Jeffrey Toobin. Don’t just dismiss this as being a case solely about race. That’s just irresponsible, at best. Stop acting so naive, Don Lemon. Consider the effects on everyone involved when it comes to excessively loud music (the phenomenon also known as audio terrorism). Who cares if it was rap? Nobody fires a gun just because they don’t like the choice of music. Just because Michael Dunn mentioned rap and thugs, do you make that the entire case? What was the behavior of all of those involved? I found it interesting that the problem of audio terrorism has been an ongoing problem in Florida for a while. It’s real. I’m not saying it was the root of this case, but I’m not dismissing anything, unlike CNN.
Echoes of George Zimmerman Case
Finally, if and when Michael Dunn is tried a second time for the murder of Jordan Davis, I would suggest that the jury be given the benefit of a full re-enactment of the crime with as much realism as is possible based on the evidence and descriptions from actual witnesses. I would like to see a re-creation using the same decibel levels of sound, and the same music that was playing at the time of the incident. I suggest the jurors experience the sound levels both from the inside the teens’ vehicle, as well as the sound levels and vibrations felt from inside Michael Dunn’s vehicle. If this demonstration is permitted (considering some jurors may not want to subject their ears to possible damage), the jurors who participate will get a clearer sense of how the entire situation evolved and the true impact of the “loud music” and the role it played in the confrontation. If anything, this could be a valuable lesson going forward. I predict, however, that the State of Florida may have not learned how to choose their battles. This could well go the way of the George Zimmerman case.
Robert George Reoch
Copyright Robert George Reoch