Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Real Statistics, Real Studies and Real Crime in the Real World

By Rich Kozlovich

An article appeared entitled, 'Texas justifiable homicides rise with 'Castle Doctrine, by Yang Wang and Dane Schiller, where they cite the following crime induced homicide.
"In Houston early Friday, a 19-year-old convenience store clerk shot and killed a 52-year-old man who stole beer, according to police. The matter remains under investigation, but the clerk was not arrested. In Texas and elsewhere, each time someone is shot dead with a claim of self-defense, a grand jury must decide if an indictment is warranted. However, deliberations by grand juries are secret and the basis of their decisions is seldom public."
They go on to cite other cases that are clearly weighted to impact us at an emotional level and our sense of injustice. The question not asked nor answered in this article is this; what’s are the statistics for all other crimes now? The ‘studies’ all say that ‘homicides’ went up, but most of the cases they cite would have been allowable killings even before 2007 when the Castle Doctrine became law. Researchers cited most often claim that these kinds of laws increase homicides. They claim “that between 2000 and 2009, murders and non-negligent manslaughters increased between seven and nine percent in 23 (actually 24) states that adopted Castle Doctrine laws between 2005 and 2009, and that the increase was entirely because of those laws.” There were a number of problems with their ‘study’. What follows is based on the article, “Latest Drop in U.S. Murder Rate Will Confound Critics of Self-Defense."

1. They attempted to show that this increase was as a direct result of only one thing….stand your ground legislation. That is not a scientifically valid approach. It is clear that this was a study that was heavily weighted in one direction. This is more like conclusions in search of data, instead of data in search of conclusions.
2. One third of the killings were done without guns. I don’t know about you, but I think that is a significant statistic ….. and it was left out.
3. They didn’t bother to find out how many of these killings actually were criminal killings versus people merely trying to protect their property and lives. I think that is significant….don’t you? What if there was a major war between drug lords and they spent the next year butchering each other? Would that have any implication regarding the numbers of homicides as a result of the Castle? No, but the numbers would go up significantly. I think that is an important distinction….don’t you?
4. Most murders (remember these are not Castle Killings, these would be prosecuted) occur among family members and friends and ‘stand your ground’ laws would be meaningless in these situations….and they would be prosecuted….and they would have taken place irrespective if the Castle Doctrine became law or not.
5. This study decided that there was no difference in homicides in states that had “A duty to retreat” provisions in their laws versus states that had “no duty to retreat’ provisions. Remember this is the core and heart of the Castle Doctrine.
6. Nationwide the homicide rate dropped from 5.6 to between 2000 and 2006 to 5.0 between 2008 and 2011, right after 24 states passed ‘stand your ground’ laws.
Furthermore not one word about whether crime in general rose or dropped during this time peroid can easily be found regarding Texas, which makes me wonder why. However…..the one thing all people have in common is that they are all people and a number of states have enacted ‘stand your ground’ laws and have been paying attention to general crime statistics.

While homicides have dropped nationwide no knows why they have risen in Texas. Nonetheless in other states, which have adopted ‘stand your ground’ laws, homicides have dropped. However we can be assured of this one incontrovertible fact....people are always going to be people and what happens in other states will eventually happen in Texas. Lets take Arizona where “government statistics are showing that Arizona crime rates are dramatically decreasing much more so than the nation overall. However, what is NOT reported is the reason WHY crime is dropping. …could it be Arizona’s strong pro-rights gun laws, which are the strongest in the nation in restoring what the Constitution had intended? Gun ownership skyrockets while violent crime drops.”

Over the years I have followed this issue and the same fact eventually comes out. When people carry guns crime drops. I know I sound like a gun enthusiast: I’m not. In point of fact I am philosophically and emotionally aligned with the anti-gun people as I would love to see a world where guns aren't needed or used for anything except hunting. However that isn’t the real world, and it isn't the world we live in.  It may be the world we wished we lived in, but the Tooth Fairy doesn't really leave a dime under your pillow.  I posted this because I resent the way they lie and manipulate the numbers to make reality appear otherwise, and if taking the guns out of the hands of honest decent people is such a great idea why don’t we stop the police from carrying guns?


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