Race — Stand Your Ground Laws Are Not Racist

Policy

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Trayvon Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton accompanies former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to a campaign field office, Miami, Fla., November 5, 2016. (Brian Snyder/Reuters)

Conveniently buried amidst the concerns about the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights recently released a report entitled Race Effects of Stand Your Ground Laws. The report was released a mere five and a half years after the hearing on the topic.

The hearing was prompted by the national firestorm surrounding the death of Trayvon Martin. The premise of the hearing was that Stand Your Ground (“SYG”) laws — which permit victims of assault to “stand their ground” rather than retreat from an assailant — have a racially disparate impact and effect. The presumption among progressives was that white-on-black homicides (i.e., a white assault victim defending himself pursuant to SYG laws against a black assailant, resulting in the latter’s death) were more likely to be deemed justified than black-on-white homicides (a black assault victim defending himself pursuant to SYG laws against a white assailant, resulting in the latter’s death). Therefore, SYG laws have a racially disparate impact. The insinuation, of course, was that this disparity was intentional.

The evidence, however, showed that in altercations similar to the Martin–Zimmerman fight — except that the assailant was white and the victim was black — 7.69 percent of homicides were deemed justified in non-SYG states, but 9.94 percent of homicides were deemed justified in SYG states. In other words, a black person defending himself against a white attacker is more likely to have his actions ruled justifiable in a SYG state than in a non-SYG state.

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That’s contrary to the progressive/mainstream media Trayvon Martin narrative, perhaps explaining why the report was released more than five years after the hearing, under cover of a pandemic.

Yet another progressive myth dashed against the rocks of reality. But not before the falsehood has become embedded in the culture as fact.

Peter Kirsanow — Peter N. Kirsanow is an attorney and a member of the United States Commission on Civil Rights.

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