Where do you stand when it matters most?

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, center right, and Orlando Police Chief John Mina, center left, arrive to a news conference after a multiple shooting at a nightclub in Orlando, Fla., Sunday, June 12, 2016. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, center right, and Orlando Police Chief John Mina, center left, arrive to a news conference after a multiple shooting at a nightclub in Orlando, Fla., Sunday, June 12, 2016. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

In an ironic twist, the same night and weekend that the late boxing legend, humanitarian and peace prophet Muhammad Ali was laid to rest following an interfaith ceremony and public displays of adoration, the nation was thrust into mourning due to acts of domestic terrorism.

Former “The Voice” contestant Christina Grimme, 22, was murdered after performing at a concert in Orlando, Florida, on Friday, June 10, by Kevin James Loibl, 27, who traveled from St. Petersburg with two guns. He killed himself after murdering Grimme. According to reports, he did not know Grimme. In the wee hours of Sunday, June 12, Omar Mateen, 29, of  Fort Pierce, a trained security guard, unleashed a fusillade of bullets on revelers at gay club Pulse, also in Orlando, killing 50 and injuring 53.

Grief-stricken shooting victims comfort each other as they try to cope with the trauma they experienced.

Grief-stricken shooting victims comfort each other as they try to cope with the trauma they experienced as a result of the massacre inside Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

As loved one flocked to the streets to learn the fate of the victims, elected officials took to the airwaves to share their views, extend condolences and, in the case of Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick of Texas, tweet unsparingly “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked. A man reaps what he sows,” in reference to the lifestyle embraced by the victims. Calling the massacre “an act of violence and hate,” President Barack Obama ordered all flags around the nation to be flown at half staff in honor of the victims.

Ali was admired and celebrated in life and in death for taking a principled stand against the Vietnam War. He was unapologetic and willing to accept any consequence associated with his position. Some responded with hate and anger, while African-Americans stood taller, in awe of a man who risked it all at the height of his career and in the prime of his youth.

Omar Mateen, who was born in New York to parents from Afghanistan, killed 53 people enjoying themselves at Pulse, a gay nightclub located in Orlando, Florida, on 6/12, 2016. He was killed by police.

Omar Mateen, who was born in New York to parents from Afghanistan, killed 53 people enjoying themselves at Pulse, a gay nightclub located in Orlando, Florida, on 6/12, 2016. He was killed by police.

Where do you stand when it matters most? Today, that’s an increasingly difficult question to answer. Individuals, whether they are famous athletes, so-called celebrities, professionals or the everyday person, are reluctant to take a stand on principle. As wall to wall coverage of the Pulse massacre continues unabated, Ali’s boldness, sense of integrity and unwavering commitment to his principles stand out more than ever.

Kevin James Loibl gunned down singer Christina Grimme as she signed autographs after performing in Orlando, Florida on June 10, 2016.

Kevin James Loibl gunned down singer Christina Grimme as she signed autographs after performing in Orlando, Florida on June 10, 2016.

Today’s athletes are too politically correct and focused on money to take a stand and mean it; celebrities are more concerned with garnering followers and vacuous publicity rather than influencing others and cementing a legacy; many professionals are too complacent and devoid of passion to shape their brand around principles that define them.

But as details filter out about Mateen’s 911 call to pledge allegiance to ISIS prior to the bloodbath he inflicted at Pulse, and investigations continue into unearthing the motives of both killers, it bears asking: What defines me? What drives my sense of integrity? What are my principles? Where do I stand when it matters most? The answers to those question could shape the future of our society as a whole, while building the character of every individual so that, like Ali, we all aspire to be greater than we ever envisioned.–OnPointPress.net-

Florida verdict shows siege mentality, broken judicial system

Michael Dunn

Cold-blooded murderer Michael Dunn, being escorted to face justice in the senseless killing of unarmed teenager Jordan Davis in Jacksonville, Florida.

It’s been apparent for quite some time that the system used to select jurors in this country is broken and needs overhauling. In Florida, especially, it seems that whenever it’s time to determine the fate of a non-black person who has murdered a black teenager in cold blood, jurors, who tend to resemble the murderer rather than the victim, are loathe to secure justice for the victim.  One disgusted Florida resident was firm in his assessment:  “Our legal system is now complicated therefore we need people with the intellectual capability to digest that… I think all aspects of our legal system is broken,” he stated.

The latest jury to toe the line and preserve the status quo is the Jacksonville jury which declined to find Michael Dunn guilty of first degree murder in the killing of teenager Jordan Davis this past Saturday. The jury chose instead to find Dunn guilty of three counts of attempted murder and one count of discharging a missile after he fired ten shots into the vehicle carrying the teens as they listened to rap music. Proclaiming themselves “deadlocked” on the top charge, the jury convicted Dunn on the four lesser charges, making him eligible for up to 60 years in jail. The judge declared a mistrial on the murder charge, due to the jury’s failure to do its job and render a verdict for Jordan Davis, who was a 17-year-old teen, out with his friends,when he was mercilessly gunned down by the heartless Dunn.

“We are so happy to have a little bit of closure,” a tearful  Lucia McBath, Davis’ mother, said after the split verdict was delivered, one day before the slain teen would have celebrated his 19th birthday. “We will continue to stand and we will continue to wait for justice for Jordan.”

Jordan Davis

Slain teenager Jordan Davis would have celebrated his 19th birthday on February 16.

The jury was deadlocked on the top count of murder, albeit finding the perpetrator guilty of attempted murder and discharging a missile. So in essence, the jury decided that while Dunn shot and killed Jordan and fired a fusillade of bullets into the jeep carrying his friends, they could not find common ground on the charge that the death was intentional and the teen was unarmed, even though the police found no weapon and the other teens insisted that no one was armed other than the murderer. Naturally, Dunn’s lawyer has been making the media rounds, telling all who will listen that he will appeal the verdict and seek justice for his client.

Black boys are being murdered in record numbers across the country and in Florida, especially, it seems as if their basic existence comes with enormous risks. While the Florida prosecutor has indicated that Dunn will be retried on the top murder charge, its attorney general Angela Corey, leaves a lot to be desired with her selective prosecution and unbalanced enthusiasm when prosecuting cases. Take the unbridled venom she demonstrated in personally going after Marissa Alexander, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison for firing a warning shot after being assaulted by her abusive husband.

The conviction was overturned on a technicality but Corey was quick to state that she will try Alexander again, determined to lock her up although no murder was committed and no one was harmed. Corey’s prosecution of Alexander was relentless and her planned retrial of the Florida mother is unseemly. But for some reason, Corey did not deem it necessary to personally prosecute George Zimmerman for murdering Trayvon Martin, leaving that up to her inept team. Similarly, in the Dunn case, Corey popped up only after the split verdict to state, with no sense of urgency or passion, that Dunn would be retried on the top count.

Florida Sate Attorney Angela Corey (L) declines to personally prosecute non-blacks who murder unarmed black teens but she relishes personally prosecuting black mothers such as Marissa Alexander (Right) who fired a warning shot at her abusive spouse but did not harm anyone.

Vindictive Florida State Attorney Angela Corey (L) declines to personally prosecute non-blacks who murder unarmed black teens but she relishes personally prosecuting black mothers such as Marissa Alexander (Right) who fired a warning shot at her abusive spouse but did not harm anyone.

For the duration of the Dunn trial, no mention was made of the stark fact that Dunn pre-judged Davis and his friends, shooting up their vehicle in anger because they, black teenagers, whom he described as “thugs,” dared to enjoy the music of their choice. Somehow, the racial motivation was not deemed important to the Florida prosecutors. Dunn and his girlfriend calmly returned to their lodging after the brutal murder, ordering pizza and enjoying themselves, without deigning to call 911.

During his testimony Dunn showed emotion when he talked about his girlfriend and his dog but he was expressionless when he talked about his dastardly execution of Davis. Such heartless disregard for a teenaged life is grossly appalling. It is even more troubling that the trial seemed focused on the prosecutors trying to explain that Davis was a “good boy,” as if Davis was on trial, instead of the murderous Dunn.

After the verdict was announced, Ron Davis, the victim’s father, chose his words carefully. “We were good parents to Jordan. He was a good kid,” he said. By all accounts, the teen certainly was a good adolescent, on the cusp of adulthood. But that did not matter in a society where Stand Your Ground Laws empower bigots to shoot and kill innocent black boys without provocation and then craft what is perceived as a perfect alibi: claiming that they feared for their lives, that they were being threatened or attacked.

Not only does the Stand Your Ground law that exists in Florida and other southern states need to be struck down, it is imperative that jurors, particularly those in Florida who seem to have difficulties getting it right, be better versed on the nuances on examining evidence through the prism of reality instead of being blinded by race. This siege that has enveloped the survival of black boys needs to be fought as aggressively.

Murderers fight to walk free when they kill innocent children and young adults for no other reason than the victims are black. These killers feel that they have a right to kill because black lives, in their minds, lack valueThe fight continues for justice for Davis, and other innocent black boys whose lives were snuffed out too soon. Parents, activists and concerned citizens across the globe need to stand up and say: enough!–OnPointPress.net.

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