Quantcast
  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Does Strengthening Self-Defense Law Deter Crime or Escalate Violence?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by bayesian, Jan 2, 2013.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. bayesian

    bayesian Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2012
    Messages:
    60
    Location:
    Atlanta GA
    The title is a paper by Mark Hoekstra at Texas A&M. Below I am linking to the paper but I can give you a basic run down of their analyses and results (this is related to my day job). What they take advantage of is something akin to what is sometimes referred to as a 'natural experiment'.

    They use state level FBI crime data for 2000-2010. They look at the effect of 'stand your ground' laws on murder and non-negligent homicide. Specifically, they look at homicide rates prior to and after the passage of the law, within states. They compare pre/post law, and to ensure that there's not some other factor that might be creating the increase apart from the law change, they also look at homicide rates in adjacent states that did not change their law at the same time. They also look at other crimes that one would assume unaffected by stand your ground, such as motor vehicle thefts (and find no effect, as expected).

    They find an 8% increase in the murder and non-negligent homicide rate, pre versus post SYG passage. They also find no decrease in robbery or aggrevated assault as might be expected if these laws had a deterrent effect.

    Now, homicides include those that are self defense, so they look at how the numbers pre/post SYG differ for murders versus homicide.

    The evidence they present show the increase in homicides are almost entirely falling into the murder category. What their data suggest (there's quite a bit more in the linked paper), is that 'Stand Your Ground' appears to be associated with an escalation of confrontations that would otherwise occur, but in SYG states, these are more likely to involve deadly force.

    Here is the linked paper.
    http://econweb.tamu.edu/mhoekstra/castle_doctrine.pdf

    I'm a scientist my nature and profession, so I think that data like these are important to be aware of and engage with. So, there you have it.
     
  2. Texan Scott

    Texan Scott Member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2012
    Messages:
    3,184
    Location:
    The Texas Hill Country
    Considering the FBI stats show a steady overall decrease in violent crime, somehow I question their math, methodology, and motive. I would point out that to isolate the effect of SYG laws on shootings, they'd a) have to count ONLY self-defense or claimed syg shootings; drug-related, domestics, suicidws, police shootings, etc would have to be discounted, not included; and b) an increase in syg shootings would likely mean more shootings on lawful self-defense, not an increase in criminal homicides.

    Sounds like another case of fashionably anti-gun academia numbers fraud to me.
     
  3. bayesian

    bayesian Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2012
    Messages:
    60
    Location:
    Atlanta GA
    See, I think the gun community is better than just dismissing quite well done analyses of crime data. And I will note, that if someone is killed, justified or not, it *is* a homicide. It may not be murder, but it is, and is reported as a homicide.

    Right, that is actually the idea. So, if you think that there is something about SYG, then for a single state, you can always worry that in addition to passing SYG, there was something else that might have happened (e.g., bad economy) that happened around the same time, and that is the real reason for the increase in homicide. So, you see if adjacent states that did not pass SYG at the same time, and you see if they saw an increase also.

    If they did, then there's maybe something other than the law at work. If they didn't, then that makes you more confident that there's something state specific like SYG.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 2, 2013
  4. Ky Larry

    Ky Larry Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2003
    Messages:
    3,526
    Location:
    Ky
    As Mark Twain said:" There are lies, damn lies, and statistics."

    IIRC, in the 1930s the city of New York had an increase in the number of sexual assaults in the cities public parks. Some bean counter also noticed there was an increase in ice cream sales at the same time. Some one propossed that ice cream sales be banned in the cities parks as a means of curbing sexual assaults. They finally realised that the numbers went up in warm weather and fell during cool weather. Rape and ice cream have nothing to do with each other except that people use the parks more in summer so there were more potential victims out in the parks and that people like ice cream in the summer.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2013
  5. bayesian

    bayesian Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2012
    Messages:
    60
    Location:
    Atlanta GA
    I know that people love to quote this, but the way research works is that we don't just publish any old thing because that is the result we want. If it was, I wouldn't read anyone else's research, and heck, I wouldn't do any because I could just figure out a way for my preconceived ideas and biases to determine the results. The actual way that research works is that if you think analyses are flawed, then you poke holes in the methods, what's left out and what's not considered.

    So, here's my hobby horse: I think that there's pretty good data suggesting that all pro gun legislative initiatives are not all good. And I think this is the strongest data that I've seen that telling people 'You can stand your ground' leads a portion of people involved in violent altercations to *not* do what they might have otherwise, and figure out a way to de-escalate the situation.
     
  6. DeMilled

    DeMilled Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2010
    Messages:
    340
  7. ETXhiker

    ETXhiker Member

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2006
    Messages:
    393
    Location:
    East Texas
    Okay, based on this guy's posts and his new membership, I'm calling TROLL. :barf:
     
  8. PowerG

    PowerG Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2010
    Messages:
    558
    Location:
    Mississippi
    You're a scientist by profession? I just did a cursory run-through of the data for Florida, then compared it to the per capita homicide rate going back to 1960 for that state. The authors of the study use an increase that does indeed coincide with the passage of the SYG law and use it to support the statistical extrapolation for that state, while not noting that the 2010 and 2011 rates (posted while the law is in effect) are very near historic lows (5.2/100k both years, compared to 5.0 in 2005). Also not mentioned is that for the last three years the rate is less than half of the homicide rate as recently as 1990. The authors also freely concede that certain assumptions they make in the study could possibly have huge effects on their numbers; i.e. the number of justifiable homicides that were mistakenly included in criminal homicide totals. Color me "not convinced".
     
  9. bayesian

    bayesian Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2012
    Messages:
    60
    Location:
    Atlanta GA
    That's fair (ish). So, why did I just join? Well, I've lived in non-CCW friendly states for quite a while but now I live in Georgia. Grew up in MI where we hunted and grew up with firearms. I am a Walther fan, starting with the Walther PPK that my dad brought home from the 'old country' while visiting during the 40s.

    I'm an occasional range visitor but after considering and acquiring my CCW, I decided to become more proficient and in the process of looking for online resources, I found THR and while lurking for a while, I recently did decide to register.

    I would say I'm pro-gun but with a nuanced view that comes from working in the social sciences as a statistician, and being a parent.
     
  10. Ky Larry

    Ky Larry Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2003
    Messages:
    3,526
    Location:
    Ky
    bayesian, I stand corrected. No number cruncher ever had an ax to grind. They are all as honest as saints. Mark Twain was obviously an idiot and a subversive. From now on I'll believe any numbers I read and ignore liars like Mark Twain, Will Rogers, and H. L. Menchken. Thank you for pointing out the error of my beliefs.:rolleyes:
     
  11. locnload

    locnload Member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2005
    Messages:
    138
    Location:
    Northern Colorado
    "Figures don't lie, but liars figure". The liberal drones have got to have a continous supply of "statistics" to feed the uninformed public so when they do a poll they get the results they want. Take the murder rates from corupt Chicago and blame it on the legally armed folks in the "free states" and viola, you've got proof that guns cause crime. Then do a poll and ask, "do you think we need to consider common sense gun laws to prevent children from being slaughtered"? Joe and Jane Citizen nod their heads and say "ah-ha". Put it together in a nice pakage and send it off to CNN, ABC, NBC CBS, and now even Fox News, and you have an evening newscast that the 1960s staff at Pravda would be proud of. :fire:
     
  12. DeMilled

    DeMilled Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2010
    Messages:
    340

    I believe you are simply wrong when you say "quite well done analyses of crime data". The man looked at numbers and then drew a conclusion, however there is a bit of speculation in the authors work.

    From this article
    http://www.opb.org/news/article/npr-stand-your-ground-linked-to-increase-in-homicides/
    Hoekstra checked to see whether police were listing more cases as "justifiable homicides" in states that passed stand your ground laws. If there were more self-defense killings, this number should have gone up. He also examined whether more criminals were showing up armed.

    In both cases, he found nothing. There were small increases in both numbers, but it was hard to tell whether there was really any difference.

    So if the numbers on justifiable homicide and criminals using lethal force don't explain the rise in homicide, what's causing the increase?

    "One possibility for the increase in homicide is that perhaps [in cases where] there would have been a fistfight ... now, because of stand your ground laws, it's possible that those escalate into something much more violent and lethal," says Hoekstra.


    Tell me, bayesian, as a scientist by nature and profession, how large of a role does speculation play in your work?

    Here is another guy, from the linked article who likes to speculate and draw conclusions based on "Well, here is what I think could happen."

    Stanford law professor John Donohue, on the other hand, praised the study done by Texas A&M's Hoekstra. Donohue has been studying crime and violence for more than two decades and is working on his own independent analysis of stand your ground laws. So far, he says, he's getting the same results Hoekstra did.

    "The imperfect but growing evidence seems to suggest that the consequences of adopting stand your ground laws are pernicious, in that they may lead to a greater number of homicides — thus going against the notion that they are serving some sort of protective function for society," he says.


    He goes on to deliver this little gem.
    ""I've been hearing from defense lawyers around the country that if they happen to have a criminal defendant in a stand your ground jurisdiction, pretty much no matter what happens, you can say, 'Well, I shot the guy, but I felt threatened and had a reasonable basis for fearing injury to myself,' " he said. "


    I have quoted three well spoken, educated men whom all have the same slant to their views on self defense. They have couched their message in the language of academia but the message is still there. "Stand you ground laws/CCW laws are bad because a gun, even when carried by a law abiding citizen, might maybe be used to kill someone and we all know that if someone is killed then it is a bad thing."

    All these arguments ignore the simple fact that there are many instances where using a gun to defend yourself, even if it kills the criminal attacking you, is perfectly acceptable. If the criminal didn't want to be shot, and maybe killed, he should have refrained from the act that led to the gun owner using the gun to defend them self.
     
  13. ETXhiker

    ETXhiker Member

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2006
    Messages:
    393
    Location:
    East Texas
    Bayesian, if you are sincere (I doubt it), read John Lott's "More Guns, Less Crime." It should satisfy your statistician side and answer all of your concealed carry, 2nd Amendment questions. After that, if you want to stay and talk guns as an enthusiast, then welcome.
     
  14. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2002
    Messages:
    43,354
    Location:
    Terlingua, TX; Thomasville,GA
    One problem I have with causality in this is that most SYG laws have been passed since the beginning of this economic malaise. I am reading of an increasing number of break-in entries into homes.

    Granted I don't know how effective the SYG laws are insofar as repelling such break-ins; they've never been necessary from a legal standpoint.

    "The times they are a-changin'," so I keep the salt-shaker handy when folks go to interpreting the results of statistical surveys. Too many unincluded data points, possibly.

    Maybe a better question would be how many SYG shootings were not justified? And if you're a homeowner who made a successful defense, why would you care about what is done elsewhere, away from your home?

    Some questions just are not worth asking. Survey results don't necessarily have any utility in the real world.

    Q: Do CHL and SYG laws enhance my probability of surviving some sort of robbery? I think that they do, so why would I care about others surveys? My opinion comes from my personal survey through seventy-eight years of life. :D (Thirty years of it quite near the Mexican border.)
     
  15. bayesian

    bayesian Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2012
    Messages:
    60
    Location:
    Atlanta GA
    Q: Does drinking raven's blood at midnight cure me of cancer? I think it does so why would I care about other's evidence? My opinion comes from my personal survey through 78 years of life.

    Ok, maybe I'm getting banned now, but I couldn't resist.

    Look folks, we need to engage with people that deal with data. Justing saying something is 'just statistics' isn't the answer. I am honestly not trolling. But I tell my kids that it is the evidence in favor of their beliefs that they need to look at most carefully because it is that evidence that they are most likely to misread and misunderstand.

    Is this board about preaching to the choir or is it about dealing effectively both within the pro-gun community and with the anti-gun community?

    If it is all about preaching to the choir, then I guess sing it!
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2013
  16. Alaska444

    Alaska444 member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2010
    Messages:
    1,136
    Duplicate post, sorry.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2013
  17. Alaska444

    Alaska444 member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2010
    Messages:
    1,136
    First, they cite the Trayvon Martin as an example of these laws gone wrong. First of all, the accused is not a reliable witness as evidenced by the perjury charge against his wife and perhaps himself at some time on his financial recourses. But for purpose of argument, let's take him at his word of that is shown to be accurate. When you are flat on your back with a stronger, quicker and taller person is beating your face in allegedly stating I am going to kill you, what part of China do you retreat to? He had no opportunity to retreat at that point if his testimony reflects the reality of the situation.

    Secondly, this is a retrospective observational study based on unproven ASSUMPTIONS when in fact, there could have been many other socioeconomic factors that prompted the data sets. In addition, as a "scientist my[sic] nature and profession," you should be intellectually honest and explain the limitations of retrospective, observational studies which are only HYPOTHESIS GENERATING but cannot prove cause and effect.

    You cannot TEST in a retrospective observational study, that is the hallmark of prospective, randomized and controlled trials thus making an internally incorrect statement related to a very weak study design.

    In addition, they use estimates of homicides that they further report could have been misrepresented in the annual estimates and monthly estimates. Since the justice system works at a snail's pace, many of these cases could later have been dropped or changed. They did not take that into effect nor did they confirm individual cases leading to possible reporting bias.

    The study also picked types of crime not shown to decrease with CCW laws. For instance, in Alaska, the only violent crime that was reduced by constitutional carry was rape, that was NOT one of the crimes measured in this biased report. In addition, the FBI does not keep stats on "home invasions" and does not differentiate that from "robberies" leading to confounding and possible misleading data samples.

    http://www.homeinvasionnews.com/home-invasion-statistics-and-definitions-from-the-fbi/

    They further use ASSUMPTIONS to ESTIMATE the degree of under reporting of justifiable homicides lending to further researcher predisposed bias.

    They in addition use some variables from the US census, but they did not adjust for population density changes between these states in the study period.

    They further ESTIMATE data models that have not been independently verified for accuracy.

    A further ASSUMPTION is the ASSUMPTION that crime rates in adopting states are similar to non-adopting states.

    I could continue point for point, but the bottom line is this is NOT a definitive prospective, randomized and controlled study but it is a very potentially biased report based on ASSUMPTIONS, SPECULATION and ESTIMATION.

    Now what pray tell do you wish to "educate" THR with this less than inspiring biased report.

    The conclusions of this "study" are not justified based on the limitations of a retrospective, observational study which is ONLY HYPOTHESIS GENERATING, it cannot prove causal relationships, but that doesn't stop these "scientists." That is intellectual dishonesty.

    Once again, retrospective, observational studies CANNOT determine causal effects BECAUSE they do not control for confounding factors. This statement is pure garbage as far as a "scientific conclusion" giving further evidence of the bias of these "investigators." This is nothing but a hotshot, pseudo-scientific report.

    (I am a retired internal medicine specialist and understand the conclusions you can draw based on study design. This report is intellectual dishonest and does not reflect accepted scientific conclusions.)
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2013
  18. ETXhiker

    ETXhiker Member

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2006
    Messages:
    393
    Location:
    East Texas
    Enough, with the troll.
     
  19. DeMilled

    DeMilled Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2010
    Messages:
    340
    I agree.
    Go find a paper that deals in facts, not assumptions and opinion, and please share it with us.
     
  20. bayesian

    bayesian Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2012
    Messages:
    60
    Location:
    Atlanta GA
    Ok, I'll bow out of the thread.

    I didn't mean this to be troll.
     
  21. Texan Scott

    Texan Scott Member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2012
    Messages:
    3,184
    Location:
    The Texas Hill Country
    Bayesian, part of the resistance you're encountering (and part of the reason people are calling you a "troll" and treating you as an outsider) is that the nature of your posts suggests that perhaps you do not share some common beliefs many of us hold; among these, belief that society's needs (as perceived by some of its individual members) are never an acceptable basis for violating the basic civil and human rights of any of society's members.

    See, if you're trying to persuade me that having a codified legal right to protect myself and my family from criminal harm is bad for society, you've already lost. Even if I were absolutely persuaded of the accuracy and validity of this study (and clearly I'm not), if made to choose between the rights and safety of my family (or even just my own) and the greater good of society on a statistical level, I'm gonna throw society under the bus every time.

    The right to self-defense is an inherent human right. I refuse to give up mine to make someone else more comfortable, "sound public policy" be darned. That's the real obstacle your argument is facing.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2013
  22. browningguy

    browningguy Member

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2004
    Messages:
    4,599
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Figures never lie, but liars can figure any way they want.
     
  23. bayesian

    bayesian Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2012
    Messages:
    60
    Location:
    Atlanta GA
    Ok, I can't quite resist noting this: There's no such analysis of any kind of data that does not start with some assumptions. It is entirely legitimate to question those assumptions but impossible to analyze data without making some assumptions.

    Correlation/Observation/Causality: It is correct to note that, say it all together: "Correlation is not causation". But... causation implies correlation (see Hume...). So, the task of a statistician is to try to eliminate alternative causal factors as the reason for the relationship. As one does this, you get greater confidence that the remaining factor is causal. Astronomy is entirely observational, no experiments are possible but there is a fairly good grasp of a wide range of good causal relationships. So, alternative reasons for the increase in the homicide rate are things like local factors not specific to the state (dealt with by looking for similar increases in adjacent states). Also, looking at crime statistics that one would expect to not be associated with SYG (e.g., motor vehicle thefts), another way to try see if there are other factors at work.

    Note that there is no way to even address these kinds of questions in a purely experimental, non-observational way, so we have to deal with the data that we've got. And I'm of the view that these guys have done a pretty decent job of it. That was my original intent.

    I'd be more than happy to see the opposite result. Indeed, I'd be delighted. But can I ask: Is it really hard to imagine among the total people out there getting CCWs, that a subset might end up with a chip on their shoulder because they have a weapon?

    Massad Ayoob, writing an introduction to one of his books quotes the old Heinlein quote that an 'Armed society is a polite society' and he notes that one implication of this quote is the idea that individuals carrying have a unique obligation to de-escalate situations. My read on this research is that there may be a subset of the population that does not really take this obligation to heart.

    Is that really hard to imagine?
     
  24. Alaska444

    Alaska444 member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2010
    Messages:
    1,136
    Dear Bayesian, I thought you were talking about scientific proof, not conjecture, assumptions and IMAGINATION. Good grief, I can imagine a world that doesn't have false so called science as well, but shucks, there is a whole bunch of that out there in this world.

    In any case, retrospective, observational studies are useful in generating a hypothesis but they have no ability to answer that question because of potential confounding bias that cannot be controlled for in a retrospective study.

    The accepted method of eliminating unmeasured or confounding bias is to use randomization in a prospective controlled trial. That is the only scientific method established to reveal causality. I know you understand this simple elemental truth on types of scientific studies and the hierarchy of scientific evidence. To state causality in a retrospective observational study is simply being intellectually dishonest. Even if there is no way to perform a randomized and controlled trial, you are still limited in the conclusions you can derive from this type of study. Causality is NOT one of those conclusions you can derive. Practicing medicine on shoddy studies is very poor medicine my friend.

    The best form of study for this type of issue is a prospective analysis of the events including those shown in other studies to be effected in other studies such as rape for instance using the actual statistics for each state before and after. That is the best you can get in studies that do not lend themselves to a randomized and controlled trial.

    Once again, if you wish to dispute these simple and basic principles of of scientific studies and evidence, I would be more than happy to debate those facts utilizing respected public sources.

    Thank you again, but this is a poorly designed study that is unable to support the conclusions that the authors put forth.

    Thank you and by the way, I was a very well respected internist in my time. Do you really believe you can draw a conclusion that you are glad I was not your doctor because I speak the truth about scientific evidence? I appreciate your PM, but please feel free to speak openly to everyone instead of taking cheap shots at me in a PM. I very much understand scientific evidence and I am not easily swayed by poorly performed and designed studies.

    PM:
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2013
  25. Texan Scott

    Texan Scott Member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2012
    Messages:
    3,184
    Location:
    The Texas Hill Country
    Bayesian,

    It's not difficult to imagine; it might even seem like a reasonable thing to imagine. What perhaps many of us react to badly is the idea of our rights being restricted in reality (with real consequences innocent people may take to the grave) on the basis of what you can imagine someone doing.

    The basic principle in contention (as it seems to me) is whether society at large ( a simple majority thereof) has the right to infringe the liberties of citizens who have done no wrong or harm. In some cases, perhaps... but not when the right in question is a basic human right and civil liberty guaranteed by the highest law of the land (superseding any law the simple majority may pass).

    I write this, not as a professor or economist or medical professional, but merely as a middle-aged man who has once been forced to defend against a home invasion robbery - with a gun.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page