Sunday, April 8, 2012

David Horsey on the Stand Your Ground Laws

To stifle any incipient sense of security, gun-rights advocates have been busy inventing new laws to solve problems that do not exist. The now-controversial "stand your ground" law in Florida is a fine example of this. Before the legislation was passed, nobody had gotten into serious trouble for using a gun to rightfully defend himself in the Sunshine State. Nevertheless, with the urging of the NRA, the Florida Legislature became the first in the nation to pass a law guaranteeing citizens the right to start shooting instead of running if they feel threatened.

Since the law took effect, the number of Florida gun owners killing someone and successfully claiming justifiable homicide has tripled. This means either that a lot of people had been running away before or that quite a few people are now exploiting the law to bump somebody off and then claim self-defense.
Don't you love that point? Justified homicides tripled. Do you think that many Florida gun owners were retreating before? Does that make sense to you?

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.


  1. Do you think that many Florida gun owners were retreating before?

    Police shootings went up, too. I don't suppose you think that the police were retreating before?

    Of course David has to tiptoe through some blood
    If Trayvon Martin were not dead, he could weigh in on this issue. But, of course, the 17-year-old black kid was gunned down while on his way home...

    Mr. Martin was shot while engaged in a violent act upon another person.

    1. Yeah, either that or he was defending himself.

  2. Since you asked for a comment ... the counter argument may be : How many people saved their life, or their family's lives, by being armed ?
    Obviously, we will never know the answer to that question.

    There is an old adage : Liars figure, and Figures lie ... thus, just because something tripled, it still must be analyzed for context. (For example, you will hear many note that gasoline has doubled during the Obama years, yet we know that gas nose-dived as his term started and that there are many other contributing factors.)
    So, if the city is the Murder Capital having one a day and it triples, that's major ... but if it's a small town that goes from 1 to 3, there might be some other factor.
    According to PolitiFact the new number averages 36 ... Gary Kleck, a professor of criminology at Florida State University, has researched how the FBI and police departments define justifiable homicide, "I don’t believe anything triples.…Increases that sharp are probably due to some artificial cause like a shift in how people are defining events. It’s possible nothing actually changed in frequency except police departments increasingly defined homicide claimed to be defensive as a justifiable homicide. … Local police departments are increasingly viewing alleged defensible homicide as falling into the UCR definition. I don’t think they are trying to rig data, they honestly shifted their perceptions of what qualifies."

    So, the numbers can be bent ... instead, the better observation may be from Bill Cosby --“We’ve got to get the gun out of the hands of people who are supposed to be on neighborhood watch. Without a gun, I don’t see Mr. Zimmerman approaching Trayvon by himself. … The power-of-the-gun mentality had him unafraid to confront someone. Even police call for backup in similar situations. When you carry a gun, you mean to harm somebody, kill somebody.”

    1. Kleck has a convenient explanation, one of course that cannot be disproven.

      You described nicely the reason why I don't put much stock in statistical "proof." I try to use common sense and honesty. The idea that expanding the castle doctrine in this way increased the frequency of bogus DGUs make good sense to me. The arguments against that, like Kleck's, seem like justifications.

    2. Common sense and honesty? How is that different from saying, my little toe is twitching, so it must be so? Our common sense and honesty tells us that these are good cases of self defense and the law is forcing the police to accept that.

      But Mikeb, do you seriously believe that the police and prosecutors look at a shooting and want to charge the shooter, but are prevented from doing so by a stand your ground law? They aren't noted for their sympathy for people they believe to be criminals.

      Reporters, commentators, activists, and members of the general public who weren't on the scene and don't have access to the evidence keep telling us what happened. They're constructing their opinions within the world of their narratives. We all do that, but given what human beings have learned over the millennia, we have a duty to choose good narratives and to recognize that stories should be guided by evidence.

  3. The largely unstated claim here is that a stand your ground law is a license to kill. But that isn't what the law says. The law merely says that a person who has a right to be in a particular place doesn't have to attempt to leave that place while acting in self defense. The police aren't fools. They can determine whether the claim of self defense makes sense.

    At this point, we should observe that too many in the media are accepting without question the lies and nonsense of the Brady Bunch. That's what Democommie would say, isn't it?

    1. I know that's not what the law says, Greg, but that is how it's being misused.

  4. mikeb302000:

    There is no such thing as a bad Pro-gunz law.