Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Stand your Ground = Rivers of Blood

The so-called "Stand Your Ground" laws--which really mean "Fat White Men's Open Season on Minorities"--were sold by the NRA as a deterrent to crime.

So, researchers at Texas A&M looked at the laws to see how much crime was prevented.  Their results:

Results indicate that the prospect of facing additional self-defense does not deter crime. Specifically, we find no evidence of deterrence effects on burglary, robbery, or aggravated assault. Moreover, our estimates are sufficiently precise as to rule out meaningful deterrence effects.
In contrast, we find significant evidence that the laws increase homicides.

Suggestive but inconclusive evidence indicates that castle doctrine laws increase the narrowly defined category of justifiable homicides by private citizens by 17 to 50 percent, which translates into as many as 50 additional justifiable homicides per year nationally due to castle doctrine. More significantly, we find the laws increase murder and manslaughter by a statistically significant 7 to 9 percent, which translates into an additional 500 to 700 homicides per year nationally across the states that adopted castle doctrine.
Thus, by lowering the expected costs associated with using lethal force, castle doctrine laws induce more of it. This increase in homicides could be due either to the increased use of lethal force in self-defense situations, or to the escalation of violence in otherwise non-lethal conflicts. We suspect that self-defense situations are unlikely to explain all of the increase, as we also find that murder alone is increased by a statistically significant 6 to 11 percent.
Of course, the Tampa Bay Times did a survey on the Shoot Black People "Stand Your Ground Laws" and found:

The number of cases is increasing, largely because defense attorneys are using "stand your ground" in ways state legislators never envisioned. The defense has been invoked in dozens of cases with minor or no injuries. It has also been used by a self-described "vampire" in Pinellas County, a Miami man arrested with a single marijuana cigarette, a Fort Myers homeowner who shot a bear and a West Palm Beach jogger who beat a Jack Russell terrier.
• People often go free under "stand your ground" in cases that seem to make a mockery of what lawmakers intended. One man killed two unarmed people and walked out of jail. Another shot a man as he lay on the ground. Others went free after shooting their victims in the back. In nearly a third of the cases the Times analyzed, defendants initiated the fight, shot an unarmed person or pursued their victim — and still went free.
• Similar cases can have opposite outcomes. Depending on who decided their cases, some drug dealers claiming self-defense have gone to prison while others have been set free. The same holds true for killers who left a fight, only to arm themselves and return. Shoot someone from your doorway? Fire on a fleeing burglar? Your case can swing on different interpretations of the law by prosecutors, judge or jury.


  1. What peer reviewed journal was this published in? Any attention seeking douchebag wih a phd can publish a working paper. I have.

  2. Anon: I see that you don't have an understanding of university studies and research. Had you even skimmed the study you'd understand this research was performed by a Texas A&M professor and a PhD student under the auspices of the university.

    When a university prof puts out a paper under his university's auspices--it means the university stands behind the methodology and research. It doesn't necessarily mean it agrees with the findings just that it meets university standards.

  3. The newspaper isn't a peer-reviewed journal, and we see a few cases named. But note that the professor's study found an increase in justifiable homicides. The evidence is also stated to be suggestive, but inconclusive.

    In other words, we just can't be sure, but we think that more people are defending themselves from potentially lethal attacks. Is that the best that you can do, Jadegold?

  4. Sorry pal. It's a working paper - not peer reviewed - posted on the professor's ftp site.

  5. The study says what reasonable people who are not biased in favor of guns knew all along.

  6. Greggy: Of course, newspapers aren't peer-reviewed. Of course, the newspaper itself admits its findings aren't all-encompassing or complete.

    But, of course, you venture into conspiracy-land with charges like this. You're saying that the newspaper has collected stories of folks who used the SYG laws in inappropriate ways while completely ignoring the vast number of supposed cases where the SYG were legitimately used.

    It's a conspiracy!

    Anon: It's always difficult to argue with someone who doesn't understand academic research papers; especially, with one who deliberately doesn't want to comprehend.

    The paper was done under the auspices of Texas A&M. Let's look at another example of why this is meaningful. A couple of years ago, at George Mason Univ., a prof (and some grad students) wrote a paper--under the auspices of GMU---which purported to refute climate change. Well, it was found the paper contained many instances of plagiarism and misattributed and erroneous cites. The entire matter was--and continues to be--a great source of embarrassment for GMU and winds up costing the university both its reputation and money.

    This illustrates why merely claiming a paper "isn't peer-reviewed" is essentially meaningless. When a paper is released under the auspices of a university, it opens up that research to review by not just peers but everyone.

    1. Jadegold, you like that word, auspices, don't you.

      But look, calling me Greggy is cute, but just because you think like a child doesn't mean that you can't speak like an adult in public.

      Regarding the main point here, what response do you have to the Texas study's statements? The study found a small increase in justifiable homicides. To you, apparently, all deaths are equal, but consider what justifiable means. A homicide is justifiable when a person faces lethal danger and responds with lethal force. Are you saying that those people weren't in actual danger, or are you claiming that it's better to be killed than to kill?

    2. Greggy: I do like the word "auspices" because it aptly describes the issue.

      Re justifiable homicides, you're mixing apples and oranges. Essentially, the word "justifiable" has been redefined by SYG laws. This is what the authors found. IOW, killings that would have been defined as murder or manslaughter are now classified justifiable. These include homicides where victims were killed trying to flee or a shooter provoked an altercation.

    3. Jadegold, are you five? Quit speaking like a toddler.

      Are you saying:

      1. That the police and prosecutors are unable to distinguish between murder and self defense?

      2. That a person whose life is put in danger doesn't have the right of self defense?

    4. Greggy: As I sagely and patiently explained, police and prosecutors are laboring under a redefinition of terms. They admit this. They admit what used to be a slamdunk murder or manslaughter charge has now been redefined as "justifiable."

    5. Do you even know what those adverbs mean?

  7. Jade,
    It's not peer reviewed. It's a working paper, incomplete and subject to major revision without the need for retraction. You can whine all you want about auspices, but it's still not a peer reviewed paper. It's not part of the literature on the subject.

    1. Anon: Whine, whine, whine.

      The paper's part of the literature.

  8. No it's not. The author can change any part of it, reverse his conclusions, or just delete it without any consequences. A working paper is just to share with others what you've been working on.

    1. It sounds like you don't like what it says, Anonymous.