By: Keith Wilkins
St. Petersburg Live Music Bar Scene Examiner
PALM HARBOR – As many local live music fans may or may not already know, Kevin Lindsay, lead singer for My D’Vice & Dirty Sanchez , recently suffered a tragic loss back on March 6th when his son, Brandon Baker, was shot and killed near his home in Palm Harbor.
According to Lindsay’s other son, Baker’s twin brother, the details of the shooting are as follows:
On Tuesday March 6th at 2 a.m., Brandon Baker was driving home after attending a party. Brandon’s twin brother was following behind him in a second vehicle as well. Somewhere during their journey a third vehicle, driven by an off-duty security guard named Seth Browning, started to follow and tailgate the two brothers vehicles. After a while, Brandon pulled over to the side of the road near his apartment complex, in order to allow Browning to pass by. However, Browning didn’t pass by, instead he pulled over to the side of the road as well, right behind Brandon & his brother. When Brandon exited his vehicle to approach Browning’s vehicle and ask why Browning was following them, Browning pepper sprayed Brandon in the face. As Brandon fell to the ground following the effects of the pepper spray, Browning then shot and killed Brandon. After witnessing the altercation, Brandon’s twin brother then exited his own vehicle. As the brother approached Browning’s vehicle, Browning then raised and aimed his gun at the brother as well, but then backed down.
Deputies say Browning was concerned about the way Baker was driving and decided to follow Baker to get his vehicle tag number. The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office has stated that Browning never called 911 to report an erratic driver.
The Palm Harbor shooting of Brandon Baker closely mirrors a separate, unrelated shooting that took place in Sanford Florida approximately one week prior on Sunday February 26th. On that day, Trayvon Martin was walking home when he was confronted by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer. Though the details of what lead up to the shooting are not clear, Zimmerman’s attorneys are claiming he acted in self defense.
For many Tampa Bay residents who are familiar with the shooting of Brandon Baker, they have recently been wondering one thing… Why is the shooting in Sanford receiving nation-wide media attention, yet the shooting in Palm Harbor is not? The Palm Harbor shooting is barely even receiving any local media attention. Though the specific details in both shootings are different, the situations themselves are identical. Both shootings took place in Florida, both were nearly one week apart from each other, and both shootings took place near the victims homes. Both shootings involved a citizen who allegedly followed the victims, shot and killed the victims, and then later claimed that the shootings were in self defense. Neither of the shooters were immediately charged with any crime either. So what is the difference between the two shootings? One is receiving nation-wide media attention and the other is not.
Many have speculated that the Sanford shooting is receiving all the attention due to the fact that the victim and shooter are of different races. The Sanford shooting involved a shooter that was Hispanic and victim that was African American, where the Palm Harbor shooting involved a shooter and victim that were both Caucasian. If this is the reason, is it fair? Is the Sanford shooting more important or more tragic then the Palm Harbor shooting, simply because the shooter and victim were of different races? Was Trayvon Martin’s life more important then Brandon Baker’s life, simply because the shooter and victim were of different races? Of course not! So why does the mainstream media find the Sanford shooting more newsworthy then the Palm Harbor shooting, even though the situations are the same? Could it be that the Mainstream Media has an agenda? That could be a possibility according to some.
Also, why are there no journalists in the mainstream media asking these same questions? After all, this, in it and upon itself, should make any journalist salivate… to be the one to question why one story receives Nation-wide attention while the other doesn’t. After all, asking questions like that would make a huge story. The reasons for the apparent double standard in the mainstream media over the two shooting incidences will most likely go unknown, much like the reasons for the shootings themselves.