The PJ Tatler

Houston Chronicle Promotes Anti-Rights ‘Stand Your Ground’ Propaganda

To promote gun control, anti-rights promoters rely on deceitful tactics. The Houston Chronicle’s latest article—Texas justifiable homicides rise with ‘Castle Doctrine’—provides an excellent example.

Since Texas enacted Castle Doctrine in 2007, the Chronicle decided to include private citizen justifiable homicide numbers back to 2006. They also completely ignored police justifiable homicides, deleting 75% of the dataset. The Chronicle blamed Texas’ “Castle Doctrine/Stand Your Ground” for the increase in justifiable homicides, particularly by removing the Duty To Retreat: Defenders no longer must initially seek escape before using deadly force. But when examining all justifiable homicide data from 2000-2010, a different picture emerges.

Next, they ignored Concealed Handgun Licensee growth, which more than doubled since 2000. When correlated with private citizen (civilian) justifiable homicides, it becomes clear that licensee growth, not Castle Doctrine, is a significant factor. (For statistics buffs, Spearman’s = 0.94, a very strong positive correlation). The graph below shows that the CHL licensee population grew modestly between 2000 and 2006. As it accelerated after 2006, so did justifiable homicides.

[Red = years before self-defense enhancements; blue = years after.]

Prior to 2007—before Castle Doctrine enhancements—both police and private citizen justifiable homicides remained relatively flat, but accelerated after enactment (see graph below). The problem with the “It’s Castle Doctrine’s fault” allegation is that police already had no duty to retreat, so their rules of engagement didn’t change in 2007.

[Red and green = years before self-defense enhancements; blue and purple = years after enactment.
Red and blue = police; green and purple = private citizens.]

Before Castle Doctrine, police averaged 28 justifiable homicides per year, private citizens averaged 26. After enactment, police averaged 47 justifiable homicides per year, private citizens averaged 46.

The similarity between police and private citizens suggests evidence of more violent attackers. Over 60% of police justifiable homicides are self-defense. When criminals attack people known to be armed and trained, that indicates violent, criminal intent.

More concealed handgun licensees on the street means there’s a greater chance criminals will make an “error in the victim selection process” and attack an armed citizen.

Anti-rights articles need “experts” to justify their slant. The Chronicle interviewed a Brady Campaign operative, who stated: “Things police can’t shoot you for, your fellow citizens can. This is just appalling.”

But the Chronicle’s goal isn’t repealing Castle Doctrine, but the civil right of self-defense. This paragraph reveals their bias:

“Texas law goes further than other states in allowing deadly force not only to protect property, but also to stop rape, arson, burglary, robbery, theft at night and criminal mischief at night.”

They apparently believe it’s wrong to use forceful defense against rape and other violent attacks, but all states justify it against violent crimes. Federal standards justify it against felonies. The Federal Bureau of Investigation defines non-police justifiable homicide as: “The killing of a felon, during the commission of a felony, by a private citizen.” Using force during burglary or arson (both felonies) generally means the victim’s at home, again justifying self-defense.

In the Texas Penal Code, civilian justifiable force circumstances involve felonies. The only difference in Texas is citizens’ ability to use force at night for criminal mischief, but this law existed prior to 2007. When the loss reaches $1,500, criminal mischief is a felony. Castle Doctrine didn’t change civilian rules of engagement.

Police can also use deadly force during arrests and are not limited to felonies. They’ve had no duty to retreat since well before Castle Doctrine.

Manipulate data. Cite “experts” who make stuff up in order to rabble-rouse. Attack the civil right of self-defense. All in a day’s work for those who hate your Liberty.

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