Perhaps you’ve marched and rallied in the various #BlackLivesMatters protests over the past several years, or you’re possibly connected to the thousands of gun violence victims and their families. Maybe you’ve watched the stories on television and read about them in the newspapers or on the Internet. Whatever your involvement, surely Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland and Jordan Davis’ names mean something to you.
For Jordan Davis’ parents especially, his name meant everything. “3 1/2 Minutes, 10 Bullets” is Jordan Davis’ story, it’s a heartbreaking tale of two parents desperately seeking justice for their child. In 2012 on Black Friday, Jordan Davis was in a parking lot with two friends waiting for a third to come out of a gas station. The boys were relaxing in the car, blasting their music, and enjoying the early evening in Jacksonville, Florida. A white man named Michael Dunn decided that their music was too loud for him. Words were said, and 3 1/2 minutes later, Jordan Davis was dead.
The film opens with Jordan’s parents, Ron Davis and Lucia “Lucy” McBath, discussing how they choose his name and moves through Michael Dunn’s murder trial, as the duo ban together to seek justice for their baby boy, who will be eternally 17 years old. As if we were sitting in the courtroom ourselves, the audience becomes privy to inside information about the case. From very small details, like the time Davis last spoke to his girlfriend to Dunn’s phone calls from prison to his fiancée, everything is slowly revealed. The audience hears from Davis’ girlfriend, and the boys who were there on his last day. We learn who he was; that he was a terrible basketball player and a sharp dresser, and we get the smallest glimpses of the man he might have become. Davis was extremely close to his father, he was funny, loved, and outspoken. Throughout the film Jordan Davis speaks directly to us, and we listen because his parents demand that he be heard.
Much of the film felt very much like an episode of “First 48” or another reality crime program. Jordan’s last moments become reduced to the things he did that day, to the clothes he was wearing, and what he allegedly said. It’s a film that is not only deeply rooted in race, but also grounded in gun violence and Florida’s absurd “stand your ground” laws. It’s about this law’s inability to work properly within our system. After all, it’s absurd and impossible to try and determine what another human being is thinking.
Continue reading at Shadow and Act.
Image: 3 1/2 Minutes, 10 Bullets Film