Sometimes It’s Just Not Worth It

So there’s another trial in Florida revolving around a situation that ended up with an African American teenager being shot by a white male. The shooter is claiming self-defense and the prosecutor is claiming murder. After the fiasco that was the Zimmerman trial I’m not even going to make an attempt to guess whether or not the defendant is innocent. But I will take a moment to discuss potentially confrontational situations:

On the evening of 23 November 2012, Mr Dunn and his fiancee parked at the petrol station in Jacksonville, Florida, after attending his son’s wedding. His fiancee went inside to buy wine and crisps.

Davis and three other teenage boys, all African American, had stopped at the same place after visiting a shopping mall.

On Tuesday, Mr Dunn, a software developer, testified that the music blasting from the boys’ sport utility vehicle, next to his, was so loud it hurt his ears. He said he asked them cordially to turn it down, and they did.

But Davis, sitting in the rear passenger-side seat, apparently ordered his friend in the front seat to turn the music back up. Then, Mr Dunn testified, he became verbally abusive toward Mr Dunn, called him a “cracker”, a derogatory word for a white person, and then threatened his life.

Here’s the million dollar question: was it worth engaging with the teenagers in the first place? Obviously we have the benefit of 20/20 hindsight to say it wasn’t. But let’s put ourselves into the shoes of Mr. Dunn for a second. Were you in his position would you have asked the teenagers to turn their music down? I wouldn’t have. Why? Because it simply wouldn’t have been worth it. Mr. Dunn was only at the gas station temporarily, which means the discomfort of the loud music would only last a minute or two. That right there makes the effort of asking the person to turn down their music greater than the reward for me.

I’m not saying Mr. Dunn was in the wrong by asking the teenagers to turn their music down. What I am saying is that most of the time when faced with a short-term inconvenience inflicted on us by another it’s better to just suffer it. Especially when you consider how hotheaded people in this country can be. Something as simple as asking an individual to turn down their music can seen as a challenge and the response is often going to be a confrontation (not necessarily a violent one but a confrontation nonetheless).

The first step on should take in any self-defense situation is avoidance. This is something everybody should keep in the back of their head.