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Let’s Use All the Data This Time: Are Stand Your Ground Laws Racist?

Contrary to anti-rights rhetoric, black defenders are doing well in Stand Your Ground states. Also read: Zimmerman: No Gun, No Charges

by
Howard Nemerov

Bio

September 10, 2013 - 12:00 am

Splitting Stand Your Ground states into two time periods — pre- and post-enactment — is the first step in discovering this law’s impact. Since 14 of the 17 Stand Your Ground states enacted their laws in 2006, non-enacting states were split into two time groupings that paralleled the Stand Your Ground group: 2000-2005 and 2006-2011. For each “before” and “after” period, justifiable homicides were totaled by defender and attacker race. This creates two comprehensive “before” and “after” datasets, each covering five to six years, that help determine if there were any significant changes in justifiable homicide trends. These data help answer questions like:

  • How many total justifiable homicides occurred in the years before or after enacting Stand Your Ground?
  • How many of these were performed by black defenders against white attackers, or white defenders against black attackers?
  • Did the composition (percent of total) of these interracial defenses change over time?

Justifiable homicide data serves as an indicator of whether or not Stand Your Ground laws affect black defenders. One drawback with using justifiable homicide data is that the number of incidents is relatively small, and varies annually. Also, some states may go years without reporting an incident. Totaling five or six years together into these before/after pictures helps average out year-to-year variations.

This comprehensive dataset reveals that when compared to non-enacting states, Stand Your Ground states are merely comparable. Since the percent of black defenders killing white attackers is equivalent, Stand Your Ground states aren’t any more “racist” than non-enacting states (see table below showing Justifiable Homicide data collated with Castle Doctrine laws). In other words, it’s relatively uncommon for a black defender to shoot a white attacker, period:

a

This is also how the Tampa Bay Times misrepresented their data in order to imply that Florida’s Stand Your Ground law favored white defenders: they failed to mention that for most attacks by blacks, the successful Stand Your Ground defenders were black, too. There’s a reasonable explanation for this: Black murder victims get killed by whites only 7% of the time; blacks kill white victims twice as often (14%). Most of the time, murders are intra-racial (blacks kill blacks, 91%; whites kill whites, 83%).

Are blacks free to defend themselves? If not, that would indicate “racial disparity.” Stand Your Ground states are far more egalitarian than non-enacting states, because black defenders account for nearly as many justifiable homicides as whites, but whites in non-enacting states still account for a majority of all justifiable homicides:

b

Black defenders in Stand Your Ground states accounted for a greater portion of justifiable homicides after enactment, experiencing an increase in justifiable homicides in 11 of 17 states (65%). More Stand Your Ground states experienced increased justifiable homicides against white attackers after enactment. Stand Your Ground didn’t stop law-abiding blacks from defending themselves:

c

If fewer black defenders killing white attackers indicates racism, then non-enacting states must be “racist,” because black defense against white attackers declined 4.0% between 2006 and 2011, while increasing slightly (0.3%) in Stand Your Ground states.

Another missing context would answer the question: how did private-citizen defenses compare to law enforcement?

If more white police officers killed black attackers after enacting Stand Your Ground, it indicates one of two possibilities. First, if a state is racist regardless of self-defense laws, blaming Stand Your Ground is misleading. Certainly, there are anecdotal reports of institutional racism: for example, NYPD disciplined 17 cops who posted racist Facebook comments about black participants at last year’s West Indian Day Parade.

On the other hand, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder hasn’t announced an investigation into pervasive bigotry among law enforcement.

The second possibility is that if more blacks were killed while attacking law enforcement officers — who are known to be armed and trained in lethal defense — this indicates increasingly violent behavior among black attackers. (Since cops had no duty to retreat before Stand Your Ground, enactment only affected private citizens.)

Since enactment, black attackers in Stand Your Ground states accounted for 2.5% more justifiable homicides by cops, and 2.5% more by private citizens. Non-enacting states show similar results: Since 2006, black attackers account for 2.3% more justifiable homicides by private citizens, and 6.5% more by cops.

More interestingly, white cops in non-enacting states experienced an identical (6.5%) increase in the number of justifiable homicides against black attackers. Nobody’s alleging racism over this trend, and for good reason, which brings up another contextual question: has there been a change in who is committing violent attacks requiring defenders to use lethal force?

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
so a law that is color blind is a racial issue, I guess only in the eyes of racists would that make sense.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
There is an epidemic of black-on-white violence, not just at the individual level, but also black groups attacking white individuals, the group violence abetted by the use of social media to whip up and coordinate the mob.

We've heard about the attacks in Chicago, Philly, NY, Indy, Baltimore and elsewhere, but it's also happening in smaller cities like the Greensboro-Burlington NC area.

These racist attacks are the fruit of decades of racist federal policy. The Great Society laws (Affirmative Action, Section 8, AFDC, etc.) have been augmented by newer forms of organized and semi-organized racism, such as the CRA move invented by Jimmy and put into force by Bill to force banks to make home loans based on race.

Put that with the explosion of (reverse) racism in the culture - in movies, TV shows and music - and it's a natural outcome that blacks see themselves as aggrieved and on the verge of extinction, so they must fight. This is made more possible by the fact that so many of them have the free time, and cell phones, to do their "struggle" with the help of taxpayer money transferred to them every month from the racist crackers who supposedly oppress them.

Thomas Sowell is right: black America has been ruined by liberal social welfare policies.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
Howard: Two things: First: The "Stand Your Ground" law was absolutely irrelevant in the Trayvon Martin case. Those who keep criticizing it are only exposing their stupidity. Second: All the data in the world are not going to convince people who keep criticizing SYG laws. If they are too stupid to understand why the first point, they are not going to be able to understand the data you present.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (25)
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in orwell's 21st century urban america blacks are the ones with the guns and the grievances. of all groups black americans are the only ones who cannot get jobs because they are illiterate as a result of having no education in anything other than basketball. which will only take one so far. all other groups cannot get jobs because there are none to get. blacks, have settled comfortably into tribal villages with their own horror-film societal rules. no one seems to mind this much so we can look forward to an even dumber and more deadly criminal population.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'd like to know how he handled the lack of a hispanic sud set in Federal data as the Dept of Justice rolls the majority of hispanic crime under the white category
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
See my reply to Walterc below.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
There are a few flaws in this line of reasoning. First of all, black people don't care whether a black victim can defend himself from a _black_ attacker; racism is simply not a factor. Nor is racism involved in a white-on-white attack. Those cases just don't matter.

Racism comes into play only in a killing in which one party is white and the other black, and there are more cases of white people citing stand your ground to defend themselves against black attackers, than vice-versa. This means that, to one who does not care whether a person is an attacker or a defender, any law that condones self-defense is on balance pro-white and anti-black.

Also, consider the economic implications. A law that requires a robbery victim to surrender his money in lieu of self-defense when that option is available lets black people without opportunity make a living via robbery. A Stand Your Ground law, in contrast, denies black people that source of income, as it respects a white victim's right to freedom from unwarranted searches and seizures. (That's like preventing a person's slaves from being taken away without compensation.)

Also, anything that facilitates self-defense makes it harder to use the threat of crime to coerce white people to cough up more in taxes for social spending.

That is why black leaders want these laws repealed.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
Thank you! That analysis was just beautiful! I would love to see you polish and put out out in a bigger format!
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
Opposition to SYG laws stems from the belief that people do not have a God given right to self defense. It is a way to limit or abolish our right of self defense and further the gun control agenda. Facts and Natural Rights do not matter to critics of SYG. Often the charge of racism is the refuge of those with room temperature IQs and advocates of government control of all aspect of our lives.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
You get it.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
so a law that is color blind is a racial issue, I guess only in the eyes of racists would that make sense.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
You understand Al & Jesse's rules of order. To a hammer, everything looks like a nail. And when somebody chooses to act dumber than a bag of hammers?
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
There is an epidemic of black-on-white violence, not just at the individual level, but also black groups attacking white individuals, the group violence abetted by the use of social media to whip up and coordinate the mob.

We've heard about the attacks in Chicago, Philly, NY, Indy, Baltimore and elsewhere, but it's also happening in smaller cities like the Greensboro-Burlington NC area.

These racist attacks are the fruit of decades of racist federal policy. The Great Society laws (Affirmative Action, Section 8, AFDC, etc.) have been augmented by newer forms of organized and semi-organized racism, such as the CRA move invented by Jimmy and put into force by Bill to force banks to make home loans based on race.

Put that with the explosion of (reverse) racism in the culture - in movies, TV shows and music - and it's a natural outcome that blacks see themselves as aggrieved and on the verge of extinction, so they must fight. This is made more possible by the fact that so many of them have the free time, and cell phones, to do their "struggle" with the help of taxpayer money transferred to them every month from the racist crackers who supposedly oppress them.

Thomas Sowell is right: black America has been ruined by liberal social welfare policies.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
I find it curious that these types of articles (and associated studies) are listed as black and white without regard to any other races. Do these 1005 populations include Hispanic, Asian, Native American, Pacific Islander, mixed race etc? Or are all of the other races classified as white or black?

Seems to me we aren't getting the full story here. But I'm guessing that the studies care actually using a Black/Non-Black basis with mixed racial victims/attackers being classified as black if they have black in them (i.e. Obama the first black president) and white if they are any other mixed race (i.e. George Zimmerman the White Hispanic).

Can someone clarify that issue for me?
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
Unfortunately, most reporting police agencies do not enter the Hispanic origin code in the Supplemental Homicide reports. However, keep in mind that the anti-gun 'researcher' used the SHR data, so I used the same dataset he did to show how he fudged. Since we're comparing apples-apples between his research and mine (same data source) we can use this broader black/white comparison.

Or the Urban Institute can publicly issue a retraction of its research and we can move on to important issues, like how to communicate to thinking Americans of African descent that partaking of the Second Amendment better leads to their liberation.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
There is no Hispanic race. That was a fiction invented by Dick Nixon in the 1960s for political reasons. The supposed Hispanics are actually Caribes, Azteks, Maya, Mestizos with admixtures of west Africans thrown in because of meso-America's history with slavery.

When I first saw Marco Rubio - a Caucasian - talk about his struggles as an Hispanic, I knew him immediately for the lying RINO he is.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
It almost certainly depends on how mixed-race, or people of ambiguous race, are identified in police reports. I would imagine there are no universal standards on how race is reported by police departments. I have even heard of cases where the race of victims and/or perpetrators actually went unreported by the police because they feared it would be racially disruptive. Given these reporting variables, it's probably impossible to address the questions you raise.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
Howard: Two things: First: The "Stand Your Ground" law was absolutely irrelevant in the Trayvon Martin case. Those who keep criticizing it are only exposing their stupidity. Second: All the data in the world are not going to convince people who keep criticizing SYG laws. If they are too stupid to understand why the first point, they are not going to be able to understand the data you present.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
[Second: All the data in the world are not going to convince people who keep criticizing SYG laws.]

True. But if you are face-to-face with such folks, and you use data to counter their points instead of calling them stupid, people listening in will see you as the knowledgeable, reasonable one, and can be swayed toward your side.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Your Point Number Two is one of the cruxes as to why virtually nothing can be debated in this country anymore.
Either it's 'your proof is wrong, and I can prove it' [and then they never, ever do] or they just tell you their talking points are 'their opinions' and are incontrovertible to them, personally. [Basically, rock drills, nitroglycerine, split-bamboo whips and salt are not going to be at-all successful]
It might be trite and facile, but I look to appearances to determine who I am even going to talk-to anymore. I'm getting pretty good at 5-minute analysis by letting them do most of the talking, and it works for me most of the time, plus it keeps my blood pressure down to a tolerable level.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
The issue isn't about Zimmerman and SYG, but about junk research trying to justify repealing SYG.

Are you outreaching to undecided people? This research will help. That's the only reason I publish.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
They don't care about black defenders. They're only interested in black criminals, whom they regard as black victims in every case. Black criminal = black victim of racism. Get it straight.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
Monster... you said a mouthful and hit a home run with your comment.

Thank you.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
good info, but honestly it dosent matter..on either side. if the looney anti gunners cared about facts, we wouldnt be having this discussion to begin with and if im being attacked ima shoot the sob. i dont care what color he is, background, mental clarity, or motivation. my life is in danger i will shoot first, last and to heck with the questions. my right to defense comes from god and nature not the state
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
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