Stand Your Ground Isn’t Racist — A Response

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Peter Kirsanow writes:

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.

He goes on to note that black-on-white homicides are more likely to be found justifiable in Stand Your Ground states than in other states — though he does not dispute the fact that, in both types of states, white-on-black homicides are more likely to be found justifiable than are black-on-white homicides.

In this context, I just wanted to note a Corner post of mine from 2017 that explains why such disparities are not, in themselves, evidence of bias. To the contrary, they are to be expected when two groups have different violent-crime rates. Here’s the gist of the point I made:

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When a member of one group attacks a member of another group, two things can happen that will affect homicide statistics: The aggressor can kill the victim, or the victim can kill the aggressor. The former act should be charged as a crime, the latter ruled justifiable (assuming the victim reasonably feared for life or limb). Therefore, more acts of aggression by members of a group translate to more unjustifiable homicides for that group and more justifiable homicides for the other group. As a result, if one group commits more violent crime, we’d expect that group’s homicides to be justified a lower percentage of the time.

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