Stand Your Ground Is Unsound: The Data Speaks

Stand Your Ground

Earlier this month, Robert J. Spitzer, a political scientist at SUNY Cortland, and author of the new book Guns Across America: Reconciling Gun Rules and Rights, wrote a guest Op-Ed for The New York Times. Entitled “Stand Your Ground Makes No Sense,” Spitzer leverages a variety of hard data to put forth what is to most sensible people, a fairly logical conclusion: “Not only have these laws failed to increase public safety, they have also turned the clock back to the mythologized mayhem of the Wild West.”

National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre famously said at a December 2012 press conference, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun, is a good guy with a gun.” No matter how many times I hearken back to the statement’s context – the aftermath of the tragic Newtown, Connecticut school shooting – it remains as cynical and jarring as ever. Using the death of small children as an opportunity to advance the NRA’s mission to militarize every corner of the country, LaPierre called for an initiative to “put armed police officers in every single school in this nation.”

But what happens when overly permissive gun laws benefit the bad guys? What do we do when presented with solid proof that our regulations codify murder, racial profiling and render all of us less safe? What if instead of “thwart[ing] these monsters,” as LaPierre insists is the result of laxer laws, we are instead empowering them?

Well that’s precisely the argument Spitzer offers, using metrics and research put forth by such disparate entities as The Tampa Bay Times, The Wall Street Journal, Texas A&M University, the National Bureau of Economic Research and the Urban Institute. In specifically evaluating the various state Stand Your Ground laws that achieved cultural ubiquity with the February 2012 killing of the young, black and unarmed Trayvon Martin by self-styled vigilante George Zimmerman, the conclusion is clear as daylight. Per Spitzer, “Nearly 60 percent of those making self-defense claims when a person was killed had been arrested at least once before; a third of those had been accused of violent crimes in the past; over a third had illegally carried guns in the past or had threatened others with them.”

In short, the guys and girls amped up on NRA propaganda, armed to the teeth and ready to shoot, are themselves most often the danger. Spitzer writes, “In 79 percent of the [Stand Your Ground] cases, the assailant could have retreated to avoid the confrontation. In 68 percent, the person killed was unarmed.”

And what’s more, though we need to do little more than turn on the cable news to confirm the trend, “In Stand Your Ground states, justifiable shooting results ranged from 3 to 15 percent…When the shooter was white and the victim black, 36 percent were ruled justified.” Legal rulings notwithstanding, the numbers are clear. In Stand Your Ground territory, the victim is more likely to be a person of color when the shooter is white.

The mass slaughter of private citizens, including children. The legitimacy of race-based hunting. The genocide of unarmed men and women. Say ye what you like Second Amendment zealots, but this IS NOT what the Bill of Rights intended. Once more with pure academic spirit, let’s revisit the literal wording of the Constitutional revision:
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

There’s nothing “well regulated” about an angry white mob of uncoordinated, often untrained, sometimes criminally convicted civilians off firing away at the “other.” What Second Amendment fanatics often forget (by choice) is that Stand Your Ground laws deprive others of the unalienable rights asserted in the Declaration of Independence. Remember “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness?” And before you even start right wing trolls, I am not advocating for a complete suppression of gun culture. Whether or not I’m a fan (not), I respect our differences. But Stand Your Ground Laws are a proven cover for unjustified murder. The data is there. These laws need to go. Now.

31 Replies to “Stand Your Ground Is Unsound: The Data Speaks”

  1. “There’s nothing “well regulated” about an angry white mob of uncoordinated, often untrained, sometimes criminally convicted civilians off firing away at the “other.” ”

    Article I Section 8 of the Constitution was written well before the 2nd Amendment. It is very clear about just what the militia is and what it is for:

    Enforce the laws.
    Suppress insurrections (as they did right off the bat with putting down the Whiskey Rebellion).
    Repel invasions.

    “To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions;

    To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the states respectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress”

  2. Police are the ‘well-regulated militia.’ 2nd amendment was written before the notion of a professional law enforcement as public servants.

    Policing had been a matter of a constable or sheriff backed by the overlord’s men or volunteers. America’s West followed this pattern with the ‘posse.’

    England’s Robert Peel is credited with establishing the first professional police force, alleviating the requirement for citizen’s to maintain arms to augment the constable.

    Read this way, the Federal government cannot disarm local police forces and establish Federal control of local Law enforcement. Overarming them is excessive interference because it asserts Federal control over a local jurisdiction.

    Which makes DEA and Homeland Security excessive intrusion into law enforcement.

  3. Any report like this will be written off by the NRA and the GOP as being based upon bad and unproven science

  4. The 2nd Amendment protects rights that are identified as belonging to the people, not to the militia. Try reading the sentence with an awareness of English grammar.

  5. “Why the lack of solid data? A prime reason is that the National Rifle Association and other influential gun rights advocates have long pressured political leaders to shut down research related to firearms. The Annals of Internal Medicine editorial detailed this ‘suppression of science'”

    It would seem that the amosexuals amongst us fear the compilation of said data… because the data would demonstrate that you folks are screwed in the head, no doubt.

  6. “well regulated milita” – obviously you moonbats don’t actually read the constitution, you simply revise it to accomodate your deranged fantasies.

  7. The constitution, like its amendments, like every statute ever written, is subject to the interpretation of the courts, because courts have the job of applying the law to reality.

    So “reading the constitution” without bothering to learn the case law is an exercise in futility.

  8. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see what “Stand your Ground” is about.

    You observe it’s justifications, and then you observe it’s applications.

    It is truly a License to Kill- for white folks only.

  9. Robert, do you ever tire of being wrong? The data is true because the SCIENCE Robert THE SCIENCE is behind it is SOLID! But of course because the data did not come from the NRA or some other non-scientific means you know like faith based alleged “research” foundations. Or “data” that comes from talking to a bunch of ignorant paranoid rednecks with small penises and IQ’s to match. But because REAL scientists and REAL researchers have come up with REAL data from REAL SCIENCE then it’s not..real in your mind.

  10. Stand your ground leads to IN THE GROUND!! The problem with this whole “stand your ground” EXCUSE for being a paranoid COWARD! Is that it more often than not feeling that you who have the gun have the right to stand OTHER PEOPLES ground as well! Take away the firearm and you gun nuts will run like the scared little chickenshits that you are! Be a REAL Man and stand the ground with what you were born with!

  11. “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun, is a good guy with a gun.”

    Sadly, what makes one a bad guy is one’s own opinion for some and for some it’s someone who someone else doesn’t like.

  12. The Bad Man is defined by what he chooses to do with said gun, and his life.

    Many have been the times that bad men with guns have been stopped by good men without guns- but you’ll never hear of that if the NRA has it’s way.

  13. Question: Does anyone at this site agree with Sanders on guns?

    Please explain why if you do.

    I am radically opposed to NRA and am a long time supporter of Brady and now, Giffords, control policy.

    Also, would you still support Bernie even if you are opposed to his stance on this issue?

  14. Personally I am opposed to Sen. Sanders stance on gun control. Yet I would still support him in the primaries.

    I try to not be a single issue voter. I prefer to look at all the issues of this campaign and I find that I agree with the Senator on probably 95% of them. So, yes, I would support him.

  15. Bingo! Moongrim! Because the NRA fears courage! They fear people who have enough courage to say no to the fear that the NRA feeds on. Wayne La Pierre says that “We have nothing to fear but the lack of fear” I ask you on the right, how can you even respect that kind of SICK thinking!? HOW? Because YOU are fearful as well because FEAR is all you have, it’s all you understand. And WE on the left and those who don’t need guns to feel safe find you pathetic and weak.

  16. You are right about the purpose of the militia when the Constitution and Bill of Rights were written in the late 18th century. The militia that the founders supported (and the right today think they are returning to) turned out to not work when the Civil War hit the country. That is why the old militia was replaced by the National Guard in which I served after serving in the active army in Vietnam. Today half the combat forces of the Army are in the National Guard.

    The problem is as was said during George II’s reign of error, “Reality has a liberal bias.” The right will never listen to facts.

  17. Yep, in the 70s they put barbed wire fences on the perimeter of my high school and we had gates on all the windows. It looked just like a prison and the narcs checked us out when we came back from lunch if we left the bldg.

  18. I live in Oregon. And the only places that have either barbed or razor wire fences around buildings, are those places that will get you killed if you’re stupid- High Voltage.

    I’ve lived in compounds in Oklahoma attending schooling- with razor wire. High gun ownership area.
    Oregon has a more or less the same gun ownership.

    But a far different mindset.

  19. How do you explain places like Chicago and Washington D.C.? They have the most restrictive gun laws in the U.S.but, they have highest percent of gun crimes. You people will never listen to the truth. Don’t come crying to me when need some one to protect you because the police are minutes away when seconds count.

  20. You are a dumbass Chicago and DC laws were struck down by the SCOTUS and before that one only had to go to Indiana and Virginia to get all the guns you wanted. Take your stupid ass somewhere else with your bullshit

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