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Old July 7, 2012, 11:56 PM   #1
CDR_Glock
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Do Stand Your Ground Laws Help or Hurt Crime Rates?

http://www.alaskadispatch.com/articl...rt-crime-rates

Obviously, this writer is biased against SYG.
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Old July 8, 2012, 12:08 AM   #2
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Quote:
A recent study suggests they do neither.
I'm inclined to agree with this statement from the article.

I seriously doubt that anyone is out there committing crimes simply because the SYG grounds exist, nor do I think that SYG grounds and their fairly narrowly applicable provisions really discourage criminals.

It might make a good plot for a movie or TV show to have someone try to murder someone in such a ways as to be able to claim SYG defense, but realistically I don't see that kind of thing happening in the real world.

As far as it preventing crime--I have a hard time believing that criminals really care if the guy who kills them goes to jail or not, and at the most basic level, the only thing that SYG does is make it simpler to justify self-defense.
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Old July 8, 2012, 12:14 AM   #3
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Weren’t stand your ground laws inspired by overzealous Police Officers and District Attorneys more motivated to prosecute a victim who defended themselves than the criminal? If so they wouldn't have any real direct impact on crime rates, but would be sort of victim’s rights legislation.
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Old July 8, 2012, 12:24 AM   #4
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Could you point to the parts of the article that display bias? Or is using the study he references an example of bias?

Basically the author says (or the study says) gun violence has increased since the introduction of SYG laws. That's a testable statement.
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Old July 8, 2012, 12:35 AM   #5
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He's confusing cause and effect. There are other reasons for increases in use of firearms by the populace, including economic depression, more burglaries, and even perhaps a change in the public consciousness that perhaps the justice system isn't effectively dealing with the criminals. The SYG laws were intended to allow for the citizen to defend himself without fear of lawsuit by the criminal or persecution by the politicians through the court system.
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Old July 8, 2012, 04:46 AM   #6
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Our SYG is being looked at now, a lot, but the Zimmerman shooting that started it, not really a SYG case.

I think it all started with "Lets get the guy who saved his life with killing someone" view of some prosecutor's. And this law is a good one.
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Old July 8, 2012, 06:01 AM   #7
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they'll probably 'retweek' the "stand your ground" law(s) in certain states but in my opinion the law(s) are valid and important to protect.
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Old July 8, 2012, 06:11 AM   #8
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Without making reference to whether or not these laws make any difference, could someone please explain how politicians persucute people through the court system or how overzealous policemen prosecute people? I can see how a zealous, even overzealous proecuting attorney can go after people once the grand jury has their say but everytime I hear "why don't they just enforce the laws that are already on the books?" I cringe.
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Old July 8, 2012, 12:05 PM   #9
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This man was charged with AGGRAVATED unlawful use of a weapon.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...,5025257.story

He didn't even violate Illinois law. He had his firearmsin in his checked luggage, which is against Greyhound company policy, but it is not a violation of IL state law.

His bond was set at $50,000

When he finally got before a judge, the charges were dismissed.

This man actually did break the law:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...,5234655.story

He was out on only $25,000 bail for a weapons charge, where this man actually did violate IL UUW law, while he was out on bail he murdered a 2 year old.

I could fill a whole page where prosecutors could have brought weapons charges against NYC, LA and Chicago gang members but did not.
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Old July 8, 2012, 12:14 PM   #10
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I think there is some evidence that shows that justifiable homocides go up, but even that is debatable.

I think people have to be carefull about getting hung up on whether or not "SYG" laws do or do not deter crime - because SYG should not be thrown into the realm of either beneficial or detrimental to society as a matter of public policy.

It is a basic human right to protect oneself. If, in some people's judgement, that happens to be detrimental to society as a whole - well that's too bad.

Some view of what is ideal for an overall society should not and according to our constitution cannot trump individual rights.
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Old July 8, 2012, 12:20 PM   #11
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There was one case in Spokane WA a couple years ago where a domestic abuse victim, (at least that is she tried to discribe herself) shot and killed her husband and tried to claim self defence. Not, the jury came to the conclusion it was premeditated murder (I agree)

WA does not have a SYG "law" as such...it has court opinions that effectively give us SYG. However,,,

In this ladies case she went to the ex-husband's home, and shot him in the back...not exactly what you would expect in a self defence situation...no?
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Old July 8, 2012, 12:32 PM   #12
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Quote:
could someone please explain how politicians persucute people through the court system or how overzealous policemen prosecute people? I can see how a zealous, even overzealous proecuting attorney can go after people once the grand jury has their say but everytime I hear "why don't they just enforce the laws that are already on the books?" I cringe.
I think a good argument can be made that "selective enforcement" can be considered "persecution". If a traffic cop routinely issues citations to speeders driving Fords, while giving warnings to those speeders driving Chevys, than I don't think it's a stretch to say that the Ford drivers are being persecuted. Yes, the Ford drivers "earned" their citations, but when there's another group committing the same crimes and being given a pass, something's not right.

Police officers are the first gatekeepers to the legal system, and often have discretion as to whether someone enters the "legal machine" or walks away. District attorneys have similar discretion - while the grand jury does have a say, the quote that a district attorney could "get them [a grand jury] to indict a ham sandwich" isn't completely facetious. So now you have another group acting as a valve to decide who walks and who goes further into the machine.

And no one is operating in a vacuum - politicians can exert pressure on both the law enforcement agencies and the members of the legal system when it comes to setting priorities for what types of crime are pursued more vigorously than others.
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Old July 8, 2012, 01:28 PM   #13
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I would expect Stand Your Ground laws to cause an uptick in violent crime when first instituted.

Why? Because potential victims would be facing down attackers instead of being legally required to run. Criminals not used to that tactic are going to suddenly be facing off against someone who might have gotten away.

I think after a few successful self defense shootings though the word will spread that someone who doesn't run may be packing.

In states where you are practically required to run away I think the situation will remain worse, while SYG has promise to reduce crime over time. I think legally requiring someone to be a victim is a travesty in of itself, regardless of whether SYG contributes or reduces crime.
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Old July 8, 2012, 01:31 PM   #14
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Pay attention to the statistics cited. I know I have heard more than once a comment to the effect of "self defense shootings" have increased 50%. I think that is shootings where police never pressed charges. Before some of these legal revisions we categorize under a broad category of SYG, the people were wrongly convicted or at least put through a destructive legal process.
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Old July 8, 2012, 02:25 PM   #15
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Who's doing the counting? And how?

Here's a piece that caught my attention:

Quote:
In addition, say the authors from Texas A&M University, “we find significant evidence that the laws lead to more homicides. Estimates indicate that the laws increase homicides by a statistically significant 8 percent, which translates into an additional 600 homicides per year across states that adopted [the] castle doctrine.”
I've seen similar statements in several of the articles that I've read on SYG laws. I am bothered somewhat by the use of the "# of homicides" statistic in this way. "Homicide" means "the killing of one human being by another." Period. If the people counting the homicides are going by the dictionary definition, then it only matters how many people are killed, not who is killed. Perhaps it matters not to them who is killed in an altercation, but it matters to me.
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Old July 8, 2012, 02:39 PM   #16
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Is that 600 homicide convictions?

The police or a prosecutor may file a homicide charge in the case but the prosecutor, judge, or grand jury may later rule it as self defense.

That's often the problem with crime statistics. It's based on reporting. A bad neighborhood may have a surprisingly low crime rate if no one calls the cops anymore.

I would still ask the question why some regions have a legal requirement for individuals to run away from danger? Self defense is a basic human right. Protecting yourself is important, but placing your back to danger is not always the safest choice. People can cite "increases" all they want, but if removing myself from the situation actually places myself or loved ones at greater risk then I'd prefer to have the law on my side should I choose to defend myself.
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Old July 8, 2012, 03:28 PM   #17
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Any question like this and my first instinct is to find out "What does John Lott think?" And the answer, not surprisingly is that "more guns, less crime" or in this case, "better gun laws, less crime." 4-3-12 article by John Lott on Fox News web site notes 9% reduction in crime:

Last edited by Frank Ettin; July 8, 2012 at 03:51 PM. Reason: delete off topic material
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Old July 8, 2012, 03:49 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Botswana
Is that 600 homicide convictions?

The police or a prosecutor may file a homicide charge...
"Homicide" is not a crime. See Spat's post, above. Homicide might be a crime, it might not be a crime. Excuse the digression, but it might help to understand the terms.

Homicide is the killing of one person by another. A homicide can be --
  1. Accidental;
  2. Negligent;
  3. The result of reckless (or willful, wanton and reckless) conduct;
  4. Intentional without malice (evil intent);
  5. Intentional with malice; and
  6. Intentional, premeditated and with malice.

An accidental homicide basically would be a death occurring as the unintended result of actions of an actor, even though the actor acted as a reasonable and prudent person in like circumstances. The actor incurs no criminal or civil liability in the case of a truly accidental homicide.

A negligent homicide would be a death occurring as the unintended result of the actions of an actor failing to use the degree of care expected of a reasonable and prudent person in like circumstances. And the actor incurs civil, but not criminal, liability in the case of a negligent homicide.

Homicides [3] - [6] are crimes: involuntary manslaughter, voluntary manslaughter, murder, and first degree murder, respectively.

The various types of homicide are defined in terms of the state of mind/intent/conduct of the actor.

If you point a gun at someone, the gun discharges and the person dies, your conduct gives rise to at least an articulable suspicion that a crime anywhere from involuntary manslaughter (pointing a gun at someone is at least reckless) to murder in the first degree has been committed. If you are claiming that you acted in self defense, you would be at least admitting the elements of voluntary manslaughter, i. e., you intentionally shot the guy.

Self defense, simple negligence or accident is a defense to a criminal charge of involuntary manslaughter, voluntary manslaughter, murder, or first degree murder. Self defense or accident is a defense against a civil claim. It will be up to you to make the case for your defense, e. g., it was an accident, it was mere negligence, it was justified.
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Old July 9, 2012, 11:19 AM   #19
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As a retired Safety Professional, I routinely used the National Safety Councils "Accident Facts" as a part of my justification for implementing Safety Programs and Policies.

I stopped using their work when I discovered they cooked the data to support various Political agendas.

Specifically, they included the death of a 13 year old liquor store robber as an accidental gun death. The fool held up a Liquor Store with a broken TEC 9. The store was the site of a off duty cop poker game. The game had been going on for over 30 years.

The raw base data must be examined, broken down by categories and then reported. Only then can a real decision be made.

Frankly, the study sounds like a professor needed to publish in order to get Tenure.
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Old July 9, 2012, 11:54 AM   #20
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Frank: there is also Intentional, premeditated and without malice. Probably not a legal distinction, but Kevorkian and abuse excuses would fit that description.


As I said a testable statement.
http://www.tampabay.com/news/publics...cle1128317.ece
Quote:
Reports of justifiable homicides in Florida

2000 32

2001 33

2002 35

2003 32

2004 31

2005 43

2006 33

2007 102

2008 93

2009 105

2010 (through June)44

Source: Florida Department of Law Enforcement
At the same time violent crime in Florida has trended down.
http://www.fdle.state.fl.us/Content/...ent-Crime.aspx



I don't think there's any causation or even correlation between the two sets of statistics. There was a four year spike in murders following the passage of SYG.
The contrast indicates that the increase in justifiable homicides can be attributed to SYG.

So that brings up a couple of new questions.
1. Is the increase in justifiable homicides a reclassification of shootings that would be criminal under old law?
2. Are the increase in justifiable homicides new shootings that would not have happened under the old law?
3. If it's some of each, how many of each?

Unfortunately Florida state doesn't keep very good records when it comes to SYG.
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Old July 9, 2012, 11:55 AM   #21
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We need a longer time period and better research protocols. The paper (by two TX profs at A&M) is not in a peer viewed journal, IIRC. It is a working piece.

Let it go to a major criminology or economics journal, like Kleck's work.

As far as needing to get tenure - are you kidding - they work at TX A&M - the only thing that counts for tenure is research and grants.
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Old July 9, 2012, 12:06 PM   #22
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Beyond the statistical problems, the article rests on other dubious observations.

Quote:
Originally Posted by article
These findings concur with the personal experiences of former Monitor columnist Water Rogers, who spent decades in war zones around the world. He had loaded guns pointed at his head more than once and observed gun violence firsthand. “Stand Your Ground laws are perilous,” he said in an April column. “They get people killed, because they substitute impulse for intelligent thought.”
It seems unlikely that a person under threat would think "This is an enormously dangerous situation I'm in, but I won't try to avoid danger because I am armed".

Further,

Quote:
Originally Posted by article
The long-accepted “duty to retreat” standard allows time and opportunity for violence to be avoided. “Stand your ground” may demand a split-second decision that even trained law-enforcement officers find challenging, and invites tragedy.
It seems too obvious to note that being in doubt of one's right to use force in his own defense can also invite tragedy.

One can imagine a poorly drafted SYG law that could invite violencve between those who merely misunderstand one another, but that doesn't seem a frequent problem. The more routine scenario seems to involve people who correctly understand that they are threatened and respond.

The only issue at that point is whether they should be prosecuted. Statistics can't address that.

Last edited by zukiphile; July 9, 2012 at 12:12 PM.
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Old July 9, 2012, 12:37 PM   #23
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Whatever action you decide to take or not take, you'll probably have made the decision in a matter of seconds. The jury will have all the time they want to decide if it was the right decision.
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Old July 9, 2012, 01:34 PM   #24
Frank Ettin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buzzcook
Frank: there is also Intentional, premeditated and without malice. Probably not a legal distinction, but Kevorkian and abuse excuses would fit that description....
Yes, that is not a legal distinction. These are not separate types of homicides. See my definitions in post 18 again:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Ettin

... A homicide can be --
  1. Accidental;
  2. Negligent;
  3. The result of reckless (or willful, wanton and reckless) conduct;
  4. Intentional without malice (evil intent);
  5. Intentional with malice; and
  6. Intentional, premeditated and with malice.
...
...

Homicides [3] - [6] are crimes: involuntary manslaughter, voluntary manslaughter, murder, and first degree murder, respectively....
"Intentional", "premeditated", and/or "malice" are elements of the definitions of various criminal homicides.
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