Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Do Stand Your Ground Laws Help Whites More Than Blacks?


The numbers here, if accurate, look very, very bad. OTOH, I think we know better than to trust publications like Salon when it comes to firearms...

Take, for example, the juxtaposition of the two crazy cases. (I knew about the Alexander case--that's insane enough without being juxtaposed with the other case.) What we really need is not two crazy cases on the ends of the spectrum--I mean, they tell us a little bit, but not without explicit evidence that there are no similarly crazy cases counterbalancing these crazy cases--that is, clearly justified shootings (in the one case) in which white defendants were unjustly convicted, and clearly unjustified shootings (in the other) in which black defendants were convicted. It'd be more informative if we could take all of the shootings of a roughly specifiable type, blind them with respect to race, conclude whether each shooting was warranted or unwarranted given the relevant statutes, and then compare these conclusions to the verdicts.

It's also worth noting that there seems to be a general bias against non-whites in the judicial system, so, before we know whether or not numbers like this count against SYG laws in particular, we'd need to know whether verdicts with respect to them are more skewed than other laws.

Not complicated points...though points that Salon notably fails to discuss... matter how you slice it, the numbers are, prima facie, rather damning...


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