Monday, July 15, 2013

Shame - Shame - Dailymail

With the Zimmerman trial now over, the analysis and breakdown is fully engaged.  Even overseas, they are paying attention to what is going on.  Unfortunately, in some cases, this is blatantly allowing the media to take a look at some data, and questionable studies, and publicize them as gospel.  All trying to sensationalize the situation for their own benefit and the furthering of the anti-racism, anti-gun, agendas.

Take for example, the apparently high impact headline from the Dailymail out of the UK "White people who kill black people in 'Stand Your Ground' states are 354% more likely to be cleared of murder".

This would appear to be a huge number indicating that a study had been conducted based on realistic data, and a true conclusion being drawn that shows that caucasians can get away with killing black people indiscriminately.  Now, read the tag end of the article linked above.  The individual who put out the study, John Roman, a senior analyst at Urban Institute’s Justice Policy Center, must have insisted on having his disclaimers in the report, because it is explained before displaying the data that there were 5,000 murders included in the data, where there was only one perpetrator, one defendant, and the parties did not know each other (or at least as far as the FBI knows) before the incident.  But the clarifying statement that of those 5,000 only 25 were white on black is buried at the end of the article.

The two parts that are NOT made clear in this article are the fact that the study only includes 25 murders of White perpetrators and Black victims, in comparison to the other 4,975 that were either Black on White, or Black on Black.  Essentially, this means that for every 1 White defendant that has their killing determined to be justified, this would be approximately 4% of the total related here. That is equivalent to 200 of the other cases included in these numbers.  Secondly, there is no indication in the report how many murders were listed as White on White and the ratio of those that were considered justifiable, that these numbers are being compared to.

The next step to back check the data, requires us to go to the original blog post by John Roman and Mitchell Downey (here) where the data is a bit clearer.  Of the 73,000 murders for the time of the study, a little over 1% of those murders were considered justified or 1,148.  When taken to the next level, the breakdown into single shooter, single victim, unknown to each other, we get to a number that is indicated at 4,650, with 506 of those being found to be justified, or 10.9%.  They further break this down at this point to say that in Stand Your Ground (SYG) states 13.9% were considered justified in comparison to 7.2% in non-SYG states.

AND NOW THE CRUX OF THE STORY - The next search criteria they used was to find cases in which the circumstances were EXACTLY like the Zimmerman/Martin case.  This included their ages and races as noted in the blog.  There were 23 cases identified, of which 9 were ruled justified or 39.1%.

In the blog noted above, it does not identify whether they pulled the FBI data based on Zimmerman being White or being Hispanic, or White of Hispanic descent, so hard to know which category they used. But, regardless, since the 39.1% rate of justifiable homicide they are using for the headline and for this apparently huge discrepancy is based on a White/Hispanic man that is 29, and a Black man that is 17 years old.  That is a very narrow segment of the population of the homicides in the total database.  We are talking about using 0.03% (that is 3/100 of 1%) of the data to extrapolate that ALL Whites (which Zimmerman is of Hispanic descent) are 345% more likely to have their cases determined to be justifiable homicide.  The 9 cases determined justifiable above make up only 0.78% of all justifiable homicides in the stated time period.

If the data they used, is as they described it, then this extrapolation is inappropriate and invalid for the population as a whole and is intended only as an inflammatory assault on gun rights and inciting the race hatred that they claim to be trying to fix.

In addition, one last point for Mr. Roman and Downey, on your blog as linked above, you state in the last sentence of the next to last paragraph that:

"Since the overwhelming majority of shootings are not justified, it seems clear that SYG laws reduce the chance for justice by moving the burden of proof from the shooter to law enforcement."

From this one statement alone, it would appear that you are unfamiliar with our justice system.  Irregardless of what defense the shooter may choose to employ, in a criminal matter, a defendant in the United States is always presumed innocent and the burden to prove guilt is on the state.  

Amendment Guy
Twitter @amendment_guy

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