Why, black people, that’s who.
This should come as no surprise whatsoever. After all, black people are disproportionately the victims and perpetrators of violent crime, most often black-on-black crime, although that doesn’t grab the headlines very often. But SYG has become a popular target of black activists and pundits, despite its inapplicability to the Zimmerman case, drawing the ire of even so disparate a duo as Eric Holder and Stevie Wonder.
Stevie Wonder? Yes, he is boycotting Florida because of the law, although I would imagine Florida can somehow manage to survive without him, and his action will only serve to penalize Wonder fans in that state. Plus, he needs to curtail his touring significantly more than that, because although he may not know it, plenty of states have similar laws. In case Wonder’s reading this (not a likely event), I’ve helpfully provided a crib sheet for him. In addition to Florida, there’s:
Many states have some form of stand-your-ground law. Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California…Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts (though the term is used very loosely here), Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia,, Wisconsin and Wyoming have adopted Castle Doctrine statutes [defending the home space], and other states (Iowa, Virginia, and Washington) have considered stand-your-ground laws of their own…
Some of the states that have passed or are considering stand-your-ground laws already implement stand-your-ground principles in case law. Indiana and Georgia, among other states, passed stand-your-ground statutes due to possible concerns of existing case law being replaced by the “duty to retreat” in later court rulings. Other states, including Washington and Virginia, have implemented stand-your-ground judicially but have not adopted statutes.
Here’s the scoop on racial differences in the actual operation of the SYG law in the state of Florida:
But approximately one third of Florida “Stand Your Ground” claims in fatal cases have been made by black defendants, and they have used the defense successfully 55 percent of the time, at the same rate as the population at large and at a higher rate than white defendants, according to a Daily Caller analysis of a database maintained by the Tampa Bay Times. Additionally, the majority of victims in Florida “Stand Your Ground” cases have been white.
African Americans used “Stand Your Ground” defenses at nearly twice the rate of their presence in the Florida population, which was listed at 16.6 percent in 2012.
That “majority of victims…have been white” doesn’t mean that most of the people the black defendants have killed have been white, by the way. It just means that most of the victims in cases involving either black or white defendants have been white rather than black. If you’re interested in a more in-depth analysis of Florida’s SYG law and race, this article gives a lot more information, and paints a picture of no small complexity, too long to summarize easily.
But let’s forget about the racial angle for a moment, shall we? What about the law’s effect on crime in general? Well, as you might suspect, it’s difficult to say, because different studies have found different things, as is true for statistical analyses of so many issues in criminology. But that doesn’t stop demagogues from using the issue to support their favorite cause.