Self-Defense

"Leave the Community Alone," from the Sheriff of Polk County (Florida)

"The people of Polk County like guns, they have guns."

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

From Fox-13 (Ken Suarez & Catherine Hawley):

Sheriff [Grady] Judd … said there's a difference between a protester and a rioter and rioting will not be accepted….

Judd said there were rumblings on social media that rioters planned to bring violence into the neighborhoods of Polk County.

"I would tell them, if you value your life, they probably shouldn't do that in Polk County. Because the people of Polk County like guns, they have guns, I encourage them to own guns, and they're going to be in their homes tonight with their guns loaded, and if you try to break into their homes to steal, to set fires, I'm highly recommending they blow you back out of the house with their guns. So, leave the community alone," Judd said.

Two observations:

[1.] Polk County is about 60% white, 25% Hispanic, and 15% black. My guess is that the Hispanic and black people of Polk County like guns and have guns about as much as white people (perhaps not precisely as much, but not that far off). Not wise to break into homes in any of the neighborhoods, it seems to me.

[2.] The sheriff's statement is likely more aimed as a threat to the criminals than as advice to law-abiding residents. But legally speaking, it seems to be consistent with Florida law, which allows the use of deadly force in such situations (emphasis added):

A person who is in a dwelling … in which the person has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and use … [d]eadly force if he or she reasonably believes that using … such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony….

A person who unlawfully and by force enters or attempts to enter a person's dwelling … is presumed to be doing so with the intent to commit an unlawful act involving force or violence….

"Forcible felony" [includes] … burglary[ and] arson ….

NEXT: Protesters Tear-Gassed, Arrested, Buzzed With Military Helicopters During Another Night of Protests in D.C.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Is anyone advocating that people should break into homes? Is there a rash of home invasions happening somewhere?

    1. Yes, where I live, in the bay area. I’m not awake for fun

      1. We’ll make you a Trump voter yet.

        1. No

          1. Havn’t you put out your “THIS IS A GUN FREE HOME” sign yet? That will protect you, no doubt. You better hope it does because the cops are busy somewhere else. PS, “hope” ain’t much of a strategy.

  2. I encourage them to own guns, and they’re going to be in their homes tonight with their guns loaded, and if you try to break into their homes to steal, to set fires, I’m highly recommending they blow you back out of the house with their guns.

    As we know, the people of Polk County, encouraged by the Sheriff as they have been, will also be out on the street with their loaded guns—as eager there to take the Sheriff’s encouragement as at home. Perhaps the sheriff might have spared a moment—or maybe he did, and the omission belongs to Fox News—to tell the armed people of Polk County that taking their loaded guns to peaceful demonstrations outside their homes is unwise. And that showing guns to lawful demonstrators is not peaceable, but intimidating.

    If he did that, the Sheriff of Polk County might not have earned the blame for encouraging violence in a critically dangerous moment which the incident as described seems to show the Sheriff deserves. What to make of EV for presenting it this way is another question.

    1. I knew Lathrop would show up in a Lather!

      1. Kevin, thanks for that. Maybe I need a brand. “Lathrop’s Lathers” — probably do okay in a market test.

    2. Pity the poor rioters and looters, eh lathrop?

  3. Private citizens shooting at each other, and the Sheriff cheering them on. That definitely sounds like a healthy, well-organised society to me.

    1. No Martinned, this is much more likely to be a homeowner shooting some rioters ass for attempting to destroy what they took years to build. At least the Sheriff was kind enough to let the rioters know that Polk County won’t be easy pickings.

      That is why we have a second amendment. When the police fail, we have to fill in that gap.

      Legally, there is no duty to retreat. Stand your ground, and all of that.

      1. First, while it’s legal I still don’t like private property being defended with lethal force.
        Second, I’m not at all sure your ‘much more likely’ is actually so. America is full of wannabe vigilantes with more ammo than sense. How many on this comment thread have been unable to hide how they itch to kill a bad guy? And some here have a pretty…broad idea of bad guy.

        It’s legal, but it’s easy to see how fanning the flames of armed conflict like this spreads beyond defending the home.

        1. “America is full of wannabe vigilantes with more ammo than sense. How many on this comment thread have been unable to hide how they itch to kill a bad guy?”

          Dang, Sarcastro, you and I live in very different places, with very different circles of friends.

          1. We both hang out here, which is where I’m getting that sense from…

            Most of my friends get their urge to kill out with a little roll of the old d20.

            1. Well, it’s a free country and all, but my experience that internet comment sections aren’t usually an accurate cross section of the country at large.

              And I know lots and lots of real-life gun owners – enough that if ‘America is full of wannabe vigilantes with more ammo than sense’ you’d think I would have encountered one by now.

              (I should add, I suppose, I’m talking about legal owners here. When we lived on the wrong side of the tracks in the big city hearing gunfire was routine. But gang members aren’t exactly the type of people I hang out with, or representative of gun owners in general.)

              1. You know what? You’re probably right. I’m committing the fallacy of overgeneralizing based on Internet commenters.

                Always a hazard in this hobby.

                Good point. I continue to hold that encouraging gun-based defense of property will have bad outcomes, but I withdraw my concern about vigilante justice being likely.

                1. “…gun-based defense of property…”

                  From the OP: “…and if you try to break into their homes to steal, to set fires, …”. In general, when people are breaking into your occupied house, at that point you are defending people, not things. That’s true in general, and even more so in the case of riot. If the riot is bad enough they are breaking down your door, trying to escape out the back door with the toddlers and the missus is kind of jumping from the pan into the fire.

                  You would find it educational to take a defensive shooting class. I think you would find a bunch of people who really, really, really want to avoid fights. There are a couple of reasons for that:
                  1)it becomes really obvious that you may be Annie Freaking Oakley with a gun, but at the typical ranges of defensive shootings your meth head opponent might get lucky, and one lucky shot is all it takes to ruin your whole day.
                  2) In the movies, you point a gun at people and they do what you want. That’s not true in real life, as the Ahmaud Arbery shooting shows. That case is a primo example of why using guns is a last ditch back-to-the-wall no other option kind of thing.
                  3)Even if you are involved in the world’s most justifiable shooting, you have a good chance buying a nice car, if not a place at the lake, for your attorney. That’s a bad trade for the stereo the crackhead was prying out of your car.

                  This is all common knowledge among most gun owners. There are surely exceptions, and they are the ones who make headlines. But that’s precisely because the commonplace doesn’t get put in the headline. The gun owner who sees his car getting prowled, stays inside, and calls 911 doesn’t make the paper. And, for that matter, I know two people who told intruders who had broken into their houses to leave. In both cases the intruders agreed that was a wise choice. Arguably, that is the safest way to deal with that situation, for both the homeowner and for the burglar. Having the same discussion with bare hands or kitchen knives or whatever could lead to worse choices being made. Neither of those homeowners ran after the burglars blazing away or anything; once the guy left they called 911 with a good description. Neither of those made even the back page of the paper.

                  1. I don’t think the advice will be taken as limited as it’s text would indicate.

                    I’ve taken gun safety classes. I’ve shot rifles, shotguns, and black powder back in my boy scout days.
                    I don’t own a gun, but not because of any universal antipathy for guns in general.

        2. That’s the great part of libritarian philosophy. You don’t have to defend your property with lethal force. As long as you don’t take away other peoples right to defend their property, we can all get what we want.

        3. That’s cruel: calling the police “wannabe vigilantes with more ammo than sense.”

  4. I guess I’m wondering why we needed to know the racial makeup of the area given the sheriff didn’t mention race.

  5. Leftist: wear a mask

    Me: my body my choice

    Leftist: not when that choice harms another person

    Me: *huge smile*

    1. You: *picks up a Can’t Breathe sign and lights a building on fire*
      Leftist: Oh my mistake sir, go on and do whatever you wish!

    2. Seems like you confused person and property there, buddy.

      Also seems like you’re quite eager to kill someone, so long as you can get away with it…

  6. These riots have shown why the 2nd amendment is needed.

    Oh and after seeing the cops stand down as people loot and burn anyone who still says “you don’t need an AR-15 for anything” looks quite stupid. One of those sure would come in handy for a small business owner to use to defend their business from looters.

    1. I get it, Chest. You think only small business owners will deploy AR-15s en masse. Here’s your plan, adjusted for reality: Small business guy aims into crowd. To defend innocent target, demonstrator guy shoots small business guy. That makes everything better, right?

      Maybe not killing people to defend property would be better still.

      1. How about not trying to riot, loot and burn other people’s property. If you havn’t noticed, a lot of people are broke, out of work and hanging on by their fingernails. And then a group of looters show up to take or destroy that property because they want “free shit”. Thankfully in Texas you can use deadly force to protect property. And you can openly carry rifles and shotguns in your car or truck. So you want to “protest”, go for it. The first window that is broken, the first fire that is set and it’s no longer a “protest”. It is a RIOT and this weekend has shown without a doubt “why people need AR-15’s”, lots of magazines and ammo. Don’t want to get shot? Don’t get caught in a riot.

        1. So, FiftycalTX2, thousands lawfully protest, and one guy—who knows, maybe a provocateur—breaks a window. That lets the army shoot them all? Or, it lets you shoot as many as you want?

          That seems unwise. Immoral, too. I doubt that is what you really intend. I worry that you really would favor some way to prevent the protests, though. You don’t really hate the protests so much you would be willing to see innocents shot down to stop them, do you?

          1. What “army”? Where are the standing? One guy tosses a brick thru my window, he’s stopped being a “protestor” and become a rioter and hopes to graduate to being a looter. The problem is if you, not a rioter, are standing next to him, well, buckshot spreads. Try watching some of the “reality TV” of looters attacking store owners. The unarmed ones end up in the hospital if they are lucky. Now look at the armed property owners. If what you have is not worth defending, then don’t. But if you and your family will lose your house or your livelihood you have a duty to defend it.

    2. “These riots have shown why the 2nd amendment is needed.”

      Doesn’t the 2nd Amendment explicitly state it’s purpose as “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State?”

      1. No. You elide the statement of the actual right.

        A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

        No penumbra needed. It’s right there.

      2. Yes, it does.

        Right now, in many parts of the country, bands of thugs are putting the security of the free state in jeopardy. For reasons that are inexplicable (beyond the fact of his general incompetence), the president is unwilling to take action to stop it. Fortunately, the second amendment gives free citizens an alternative: they can take up their privately-owned arms and act together to protect themselves and their communities.

  7. THIS is why the riots are breaking out in Democrat controlled areas.

    Well, this, and all the oppression Democrats tend to commit, of course.

    1. Brett….The thinking is just bizzare. Oh, just let the poor rioters destroy everything you struggled and worked for…because ‘reasons’.

      Progressives fail to see a basic truth: If you tolerate the lawless behavior [rioting, looting], you will get more of it.

      Perhaps if their tony neighborhoods were a target for rioting and looting, their tune might change. After all, they’re insured. Should not be a problem to file a claim.

      1. If only there were ways to not tolerate breaking the law without killing lots of people…

        1. Sarcastr0….I am not interested in killing anyone. That said, I am armed for home protection. There is no way some dopey-assed looter is going to come into my home, and destroy everything I have spent my lifetime working without walking out with lead in his/her/its body; head first to the ambulance or feet first to the morgue wagon. How do I know my DW won’t be gang-raped? Not happening.

          Rioting is wrong. Looting is wrong. Breaking and entering into a private home is wrong. Now this sheriff basically put all those piukes on notice….don’t be coming here boys, cuz you’ll likely get blown away. I have no issue with it.

          Let’s see if the antifa fellas feel lucky in Polk Country.

          1. I’m curious. Let’s say you pull up in your driveway and you see an intoxicated man breaking into your shed where you keep your lawnmower and other landscaping stuff. Do you get to jump out of your car and shoot him?

            Let’s say you get home and he’s already broke in and vandalized your shed and is passed out in the yard, do you get to jump out of your car and shoot him?

            1. Queen, you ask a fair question; I shall answer.

              No, I call the police from my car. And I enter my home through the side entrance opposite the shed, and get my gun. Then wait for the cavalry. As long as s/he does not attempt to enter my home, no need to shoot her/his looting ass.

              Since the dumbass is passed out on my lawn, he isn’t going anywhere. Hopefully, the dumb SOB is going to have a miserable hangover, assuming it is alcohol. I call the cops and tell them to pick up the trash laying in my lawn.

      2. No, that’s not the thinking. Just to be clear, what I’m about to say does not represent my viewpoint; I have the same opinion of looters as everyone else here. But if you are going to talk about what the left is allegedly thinking, you need to be honest about what it is instead of just making stuff up and claiming it’s what the left is thinking.

        Here’s the actual theory: Minorities have spent the last century and a half making nice with racists and it has not worked. Police continue to murder unarmed black people with impunity, as demonstrated by the fact that these four didn’t even care that they were being recorded doing it. So it’s time to try something else. Maybe hitting them in the pocketbook by destroying their economy will at least get their attention.

        Now, disagree with that rationale if you like — I’m far from sold on it myself — but please offer an answer to this question: What do you propose minorities do instead to end violence and brutality by the police? Please offer something that they haven’t already been trying for the past 150 years without success.

        1. “Police continue to murder unarmed black people with impunity”

          You know, except for the whole trial and getting sent to prison thing for murder thing. Except for that.

          And then there’s the white people who are killed by police. Do they count for anything?

          1. Find me a white person who was killed by the police in which the fact that the person was white had anything to do with him getting killed. And yes, on rare occasion a police officer who kills someone actually does time for murder. Not often though.

            1. Do you think the officer that killed Floyd did so *because* he was black? I mean, I get that black people are disproportionately the victims of this, but I don’t get that the officer was racially motivated.

              1. I do think that. Obviously I can’t look inside the officer’s head to see what he was thinking at the time, so I don’t know it to a 100% certainty. But this particular officer had a long list of complaints that almost all involved interactions with black people. So I think he had the mindset that black people’s lives and rights just don’t matter.

              2. No, I think there was something going on between the cop and George Floyd. Too many things here don’t jibe, don’t quite fit.

                Personally, I think there was some unfinished business between Chauvin the murdering cop and Floyd. Those three other cops just stood there. Actually, one or two of them sauntered over, took a look, and walked away. That tells me there was something else at play here. NO WAY they just let a brother in blue just off somebody for kicks. And on video, for Christ’s sake.

                No, there was something more. It will come out. Maybe Floyd and Chauvin had a run-in at the club they worked. Maybe Floyd was banging Chauvin’s wife. Maybe Floyd owed money. Who knows. But I am pretty sure in time it will come out.

                1. Commenter_XY, assume you turn out to be right and there was earlier bad blood between the two of them. Let’s go a step further; let’s suppose some piece of evidence that comes out that conclusively proves that race had nothing to do with this particular incident.

                  The practical problem that remains is this: The level of racism and brutality toward minorities among the police is so high, that racism is the first thing a lot of people immediately and instinctively thought of, and there’s a reason for that. At some point, it’s almost immaterial if this specific act was racially motivated or not, because if this one wasn’t, there will still be a hundred others that were.

                  Suppose I’m a professional thief with a dozen burglary convictions. Suppose someone breaks into my neighbor’s house and steals a lot of his stuff, but this one time it wasn’t me. Just how much complaining do I have the right to do that I have such a bad reputation that I was the first person everyone immediately thought of? Maybe, just maybe, the person I should be blaming is me, for allowing my reputation to become so sullied that a lot of people automatically think the worst of me.

                  1. If you truly believe that racism is the Crux of the issue and you fervently plant your flag in that belief, you are part of the problem.

                    Even if you did happen to be right, the problem you present has no solution.

                    However, the problem of police brutality and the militarization of police has many solutions. Unfortunately, we never get to discuss those Solutions because we always end up having a conversation about race. A paragraph the first three or four times I was willing to go along thinking that it just happened to be that there were coincident interests at work.

                    Not anymore. Every single time this comes up, everything gets pushed sideways into a discussion about racism. And you know what gets done? Absolutely nothing. do you know why? Because once you’ve decided that the problem is racism, there is no solution. It is an intractable and insoluble problem. So everyone can just go home Angry.

                    So the question before you now is, are you going to be a part of the solution, or are you going to be a useful idiot?

                    1. I’m not really sure I should bother responding to someone who thinks I’m a useful idiot, but what you’re saying and what I’m saying are not mutually exclusive. It is possible to believe there are institutional racism problems that need to be addressed AND ALSO that part of the solution is to de-militarize the police, as well as doing away with qualified immunity, and ending the war on drugs.

                      It’s important to raise racism because it’s an institutional problem, not just for the police but for the entire criminal justice system. Though depriving the police of the tools they use to literally get away with murder would be nice.

                  2. Krychek_2…I think I understand the point you are making. I also think it is based on a faulty premise.

                    Your premise: The level of racism and brutality toward minorities among the police is so high

                    Reality: There are literally millions of interactions between police and citizenry of all races that are unremarkable; nothing bad happens. That data really don’t support your premise.

                    Do we have ‘race’ issues in America? We do. Are they ‘systemic and institutional’? Depends on what you mean by systemic and institutional. I’ve yet to hear a really good definition.

              3. They are only disproportionately affected if your metric is percentage of population. This is a stupid metric that would only be relevant if the police were killing people randomly or if crime incidence reflected population numbers. Neither of which is true.

            2. 1. Do you think Floyd was killed “because” he was black?
              2. You realize, the police kill many more white people than black people, right?

              1. 1. See my response to Queen Amalthea above.
                2. Is that many more in terms of absolute numbers, or many more by percentage of the population? Given that whites outnumber blacks by something like 4:1, one would expect more whites than blacks to be killed by police. Once those numbers are adjusted for percentages of the general population, a different story emerges.
                3. Do you seriously think race had nothing to do with Floyd being killed?

                1. 1. “Almost all involved black people”?

                  Do you have evidence here? Does the evidence adjust for the situation? IE, if he shot a black person, but the black person had a gun in hand, that would still be a complaint potentially.

                  2. Should it be adjusted by general population, or by incarceration rate? What do you think the number difference is in the ratio?

                  3. I do not think he was killed because he was black.

                  1. FYI, I suggest you read the full criminal complaint. Full body cameras were going during the entire time. You may get manslaughter in the second degree out of it.

                    https://www.cnn.com/2020/05/29/us/derek-chauvin-criminal-complaint-trnd/index.html

                    1. Eh, the leaked audio makes 3rd degree murder a slam dunk unless you think a union lawyer can successfully argue that the cop thought Floyd was able to fake not having a measurable pulse.

                  2. 1. and 2. I have not independently verified this, but I saw a news story that stated that almost all of the complaints against him were brought by black people. As far as the evidence adjusting for the situation, the numbers of black people being affected — actual deaths are the tip of the iceberg of police mistreatment of blacks, most of which does not, of course, actually result in someone dying — is so many standard deviations off what one would expect if racism weren’t the reason, that you just look at the numbers and ask what other conclusion is plausible. Sure, racism is not to blame *every* time a white officer kills a black civilian, but how many standard deviations do you need before you find the pattern persuasive?

                    3. I didn’t ask if you thought he was killed because he was black. I asked if you thought race had nothing to do with it, which is a separate question. Are you claiming that race is 0% of the reason he’s dead, or 20, or 50? Even if you can’t assign a percentage to it, just tell us, yes or no, if you think it had nothing to do with it?

                    As far as the criminal complaint and the likely outcome, I do not see how you put your knee on someone’s neck for 8 minutes without having a pretty good idea that death is a possibility. Especially when he’s no longer resisting (if he ever was resisting in the first place), and is pleading for his life. This looks like second degree murder to me. However, given how many cops walk away scot free, I’ll be happy with a second degree manslaughter conviction if that’s the best that can be done.

                    1. 1. ” I have not independently verified this, but I saw a news story that stated that almost all of the complaints against him were brought by black people”

                      a) Ah…an uncited “news” story.

                      b) how many standard deviations…

                      So, let’s throw some statistics then….

                      In 2018, 399 White people and 209 Black people were killed by police. “Ah hah, you say, it’s racism!”. And if looked at by proportion of population you might have a point. Whites make up 72% of the populations, African Americans 13%.

                      But that doesn’t account for the relative crime rate. If, for example, African Americans were committing armed crimes at a higher rate than Caucasians, you might expect a higher rate of police confrontation for African Americans than Caucasians. If there’s a higher rate of armed confrontation, there would be a higher rate of “death by cop”.

                      We can use a surrogate here for relative crime rate, the incarceration percentage by race. Here, we see White males make up 32% of the prison population and Black males make up 37% of the prison population. Based on these statistics, African Americans are under represented as a % of “death by cop.”

                      The truth in all of these is somewhere between these two. What happened here with Floyd was a tragedy. But was it any more a tragedy than what happened to Justine Damond?

                    2. You’re certainly welcome to cite a contrary source if you have one.

                      On your numbers, do blacks make up a disproportionate percentage of the prison population because they actually commit more crimes, or because the system itself is racist? And why are you so eager to rule racism out?

                      And by the way, you still haven’t answered my question about whether you think race had anything to do with the outcome in this case.

                    3. Krychek, the USCVS anonymously asks people if they have been the victim of a crime, and if so, details about it.
                      According to the many years of those surveys, victims report their perpetrator’s race (when known) to match pretty closely with arrest rates.

                      So, yes, there is significant evidence that American-born blacks commit crimes at a significantly higher rate than other races. By the same data, Asians commit crimes at a significantly lower rate.

                      “Your data might be wrong” is not an argument, by the way – it’s a trivially true statement. It applies equally to your claim that blacks are killed at a higher percentage than whites, or any other data-based claim.

                    4. Krychek_2,

                      Here’s a nice study that looks at police shootings and race. Turns out…it’s linked to the crime rate. And if anything, it shows an anti-white bias in people shot by police.

                      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6689929/

                      Perhaps it will change your mind here?

                    5. Armchair Lawyer, I will look at your link later tonight and respond to it; I have something I need to get out the door before 5.

                      Toranth, my argument is not that your data may be wrong. My argument is that your data, even if true, doesn’t show what you’re claiming it shows. I’ll elaborate later tonight, after I’ve looked at AL’s link.

                    6. OK, I’ve now read Armchair Lawyer’s link — twice, to be sure I didn’t miss anything the first time. It repeatedly says that there isn’t enough data to draw any firm conclusions. Some of its findings — for example, a white guy shot by police is more likely to deliberately be committing suicide by cop or to have mental health issues, and a black guy being shot by the police is more likely to be unarmed — tend to support my hypothesis that racism is a factor. But let’s look at the forest rather than the trees for a moment.

                      Acknowleding, as I do, that the raw data standing alone indicates that proportionately, blacks are overrepresented in the criminal justice system, that does not answer the question of why. Some of it is the criminalization, or the imposing of more severe penalties, for things that are more likely to do. The most famous example of this is the sentencing disparities between crack and cocaine. Cocaine is the drug of choice for white yuppies, and the penalties for it were far less severe than the penalties for crack, the drug of choice for inner city blacks. You could get a sentence five times as severe for possessing the equivalent amount of crack than you would for cocaine. So *of course* there were more blacks serving longer sentences for drug crimes. How could it have been any other way?

                      The criminal justice system is full of such disparities. In practice, white juvenile delinquents get interventions; black juvenile delinquents get jail time and a criminal record that follows them for the rest of their lives. Statistical studies show that school resource officers are more likely to arrest black students for fights than they are white students, which again leads to arrest records that follow them for life. There’s no law that says they’re supposed to do that; that’s just the actual practice. So again, of course, blacks are overrepresented in prison. It would be a miracle if they weren’t.

                      So how does this apply to the George Floyd case? Did the officer say to himself that morning, “I think I’ll go find a nigger to kill today?” Probably not. But when he’s part of a systemically racist system, it’s bound to rub off. And until those systemic problems are addressed, things won’t get better. Though I do agree with others here who have said de-militarizing the police and abolishing qualified immunity would be a good start.

                    7. ” In practice, white juvenile delinquents get interventions; black juvenile delinquents get jail time and a criminal record that follows them for the rest of their lives. ”

                      True enough. Another example would be the rich and poor guys who get caught driving drunk – only one can afford a top flight lawyer etc.

                      That explains some of the disparity, but not all. Consider murders, for example. Some of the explanations for disparities don’t seem applicable there – the police investigate all murders, so it’s not like poor people getting more tail light tickets because the police spend more time in poor/high crime areas than rich/low crime ones. And if the evidence points to a premeditated murder, say, I doubt even a good lawyer can make it all just go away like might happen with a DUI. There will be an effect, to be sure, but it’s hard to imagine enough of one to explain the huge disparity in rates.

                      The most plausible explanation I have heard comes from a book called ‘Ghettoside’ by Jill Levy. She tagged along with the LAPD homicide squad for a couple of years. It’s worth reading the book; space won’t allow doing her thesis justice here, but the tl;dr is that it is a cultural thing. In the parts of town with high murder rates, it’s an ‘honor culture’ which dictates that all kinds of what most of us would consider minor affronts – hitting up your girlfriend perhaps – are considered to be mortal insults that must be avenged in blood. Another effect is that going to jail isn’t the unimaginable terror it might be for some suburban kid; not only is it common enough that it is almost a rite of passage, but that life in the ghetto can be dangerous and hardscrabble enough that prison is a step up. She has some theories on how that culture has evolved, with roots going back to Jim Crow.

                      But the problem is that cultural change isn’t something that can be imposed by government fiat. You can eliminate police unions and QI, but that’s not going to have much of a direct cultural effect.

                    8. So, you’re misreading the paper somewhat what you say “there’s no firm evidence,” as well as by quoting from the introductory material (which references other publications), rather than the data in the paper itself. Here’s the key section from the discussion.

                      “Concerns that White officers might disproportionately fatally shoot racial minorities can have powerful effects on police legitimacy (31). By using a comprehensive database of FOIS during 2015, officer race, sex, or experience did not predict the race of a person fatally shot beyond relationships explained by county demographics. On the other hand, race-specific violent crime strongly predicted the race of a civilian fatally shot by police, explaining over 40% of the variance in civilian race. These results bolster claims to take into account violent crime rates when examining fatal police shootings (20). We did not find evidence for anti-Black or anti-Hispanic disparity in police use of force across all shootings, and, if anything, found anti-White disparities when controlling for race-specific crime. While racial disparity did vary by type of shooting, no one type of shooting showed significant anti-Black or -Hispanic disparity. ”

                      As for why African Americans appear in higher numbers in crime statistics than Caucasians or other ethnic groups, on a proportional basis? Those reasons are unclear, and could be due to a confluence of income, social, and family characteristics. It’s undoubtedly true though. It cannot be just “racism”, given the large numbers of Black-Black violence which occur. From wikipedia…

                      “According to the US Department of Justice, African Americans accounted for 52.5% of all homicide offenders from 1980 to 2008, with Whites 45.3% and “Other” 2.2%. The offending rate for African Americans was almost 8 times higher than Whites, and the victim rate 6 times higher. Most homicides were intraracial, with 84% of White victims killed by Whites, and 93% of African American victims were killed by African Americans. In 2013, African Americans accounted for 52.2% of all murder arrests, with Whites 45.3% and Asians/Native Americans 2.5%. Of the above, 21.7% were Hispanic. Blacks account for the majority of gun homicide victims/arrestees in the US while Whites account for the vast majority of non-gun homicide victims/arrestees. Of the gun murder victims in the United States between 2007–2016, 57% were black, 40.6% white (including Hispanic), 1.35% Asian, 0.98% unknown race and 0.48% Native American.”

                      This isn’t just “racism.”

                    9. Armchair Lawyer, I didn’t say it is “just” racism, but you seem bound and determined that racism not be part of it at all. You still haven’t answered my question from yesterday: Do you think racism plays any part in it at all?

        2. “What do you propose minorities do instead to end violence and brutality by the police?”

          You want a serious suggestion?

          Stop voting for Democrats. Every place these riots have happened has government controlled by Democrats, and has for generations. If they’re subject to police brutality, it’s been at the hands of Democrats.

          So maybe they should kick the thugs out of power and elect some Republicans, instead.

          1. Brett, I was asking for a solution that might actually end brutality and violence by the police, but thanks for playing.

            1. The other solution is obvious as well, ban police unions and strip QI from cops. Oh, and fully end the Drug War.

              1. Absolutely.

                There are plenty of solutions. The end of qualified immunity. The end of no-knock raids. The end of knocking announce raids. The end of prosecutors protecting police. The end of forensics that is run by and for the police instead of as an independent source of Truth.

                Read Radley Balko’s the rise of the warrior Cop for a selection of good ideas on the topic.

    2. Brett’s comment here is awful, from the right-wing nonsense of ‘Democrat,’ to conflating the correlation of cities voting democratic with causation, to some bromide about oppression meaning Dems are asking for it.

      Police brutality isn’t really a Democratic issue, Brett. Stop being so smug about what’s going on; it’s pretty screwed up.

      1. “Police brutality isn’t really a Democratic issue, Brett.”

        Like hell it isn’t. Stop pretending that the brutality of police in cities Democrats have unchallenged control of, and have for generations, has nothing to do with Democrats!

        How the heck is it anybody else’s fault?

        1. Brett, your theory makes no sense (other than being consistent with your blame-the-Democrats-for-everything-including-the-common-cold approach). Urban Democrats rely on black votes to get re-elected. Why on earth would they encourage policy brutality against their own base?

          1. Parties often have competing constituencies. For example, big business types in the GOP want more immigration while the base wants less. Likewise, unions, particularly public sector unions, are as important to the Dems as the black vote. Moreover, the GOP base tends to support police/fire unions at the very least. When you add to the mix that the black vote is pretty much a given for the Dems, the practical effect of their police union support isn’t to encourage brutality, as much as disincentive effective accountability for misconduct when it does occur.

            Besides, it wasn’t that long ago that Dems, like Biden, where “lock ’em up” types to try to co-opt the “law and order” vote that went typically to republican candidates.

            1. Not buying it. These days, most police vote Republican and most blacks vote Democrat. If you’re an urban Democrat, seeking to take care of your base, choosing blacks over the police makes good electoral sense.

              1. Not buying it? Sure. But think of it like this…

                Does the Dem party treat blacks like a mistress, useful at voting time but then ignores them when it matters? Yes.

                Is the Dem party the party of unions, particularly public sector unions? Yes.

                If both of those are true, and they are, the result is a situation where Dems politicians try to work at simultaneously cross purposes. It’s not like this doesn’t happen in the GOP, or for that matter, in other countries, or even by accident. For example, more fuel efficient cars and mass transit, pushed by everyone, leads to not enough infrastructure money because fuel tax receipts are down.

    3. “THIS is why the riots are breaking out in Democrat controlled areas.”

      And not because the people aggrieved tend to live in ‘Democrat controlled areas?’

      Also, in the sense relevant here, how is, say, Atlanta a ‘Democrat controlled area?’

      1. They live in Democrat controlled areas. Who the hell do you think is aggrieving them, the folks who run things someplace else?

  8. “or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony”
    If the Target next door is getting looted, you can stand outside the
    Target and shoot the looters?

    1. The statute refers to “dwelling” and also “who is in a dwelling”. Though I assume “dwelling” is explicitly defined, if not it would be interpreted as the person’s residence. This is essentially the “Castle Doctrine” as known in the common law. It mentions the absence of a “duty to retreat” but this was very-infrequently required when in your residence. “Stand Your Ground” laws, rightly or wrongly, have been criticized for application when one was not in his dwelling.

      Defending commercial property or your dwelling when not present – the trip gun cases come to mind – is another story. Though I’m not up to date on the former, I imagine it comes down to the question whether, when standing there inside the shop door armed w/ your AR-15, does the looter present a danger to your life or great bodily harm so as to justify deadly force? If he or she backs off or enters through a broken window at a distance from the owner, then you’ve got a more ticklish situation.

    2. When the Target is ignited, will your next-door house burn down? No firefighters are going to respond…

      1. Interesting point. This scenario hadn’t occurred to me.

        Seems like it might be construed as a defensive action if the homeowner saw someone w/ a gasoline can and match – assuming it wasn’t a gasoline can looted from the Target store …

  9. Request for future articles:

    There are at least five Polk Counties in the US. And even in the cases where only one county uses a particular name, not all of us have every county name memorized. Like we try to tell people to do with acronyms, would you please add the state after the first use of a county name in an article? Thanks in advance.

    1. Whoops, I thought I’d done that, but I guess I didn’t — just revised the post accordingly.

  10. Just to clarify a wrong premise from the OP; hispanics don’t like guns as much as whites. Below is an expert from PEW research. As much as Karl Rove tried/tries, Hispanics are not “natural conservatives” and the Anglo-sphere sense at least.

    ——————-

    An early 2014 Pew Research Center survey asked U.S. adults what is more important — protecting the right of Americans to own guns or controlling gun ownership (Pew Research Center, 2014d). Hispanic registered voters nationally say they prefer gun control over the rights of owners by a margin of 62%-to-36%, as do black registered voters by a margin of 71%-to-26%, according to the survey. By contrast, white registered voters choose gun owners’ rights over gun control by a margin of 59%-to-39%.

    Included in the roughly six-in-ten Hispanic registered voters who say they prefer gun control are 44% who say that most Americans should be able to own guns if certain limits are in place and 18% who say only law enforcement and security personnel should be able to own guns. Also included among the 36% of Hispanic registered voters who think protecting gun rights is a bigger priority are 27% who favor some restrictions on gun ownership and just 9% who favor no such restrictions.

    Looking across all Hispanics regardless of their voter registration status or eligibility,15 82% of foreign-born Hispanics think controlling gun ownership is more important than protecting gun ownership rights, compared with 59% of Hispanics born in the U.S. who say the same.

    A recent Pew Research Center analysis found that two-in-ten Hispanics say they have a gun, rifle or pistol in their home (Morin, 2014). This is similar to the share of blacks who say this (19%), but whites are twice as likely (41%) to say they have a gun in their home. According to a Pew Research analysis of crime rates in the U.S., 17% of gun homicide victims were Hispanic, proportionate to their 16% share of the U.S. population in 2010. By contrast, blacks make up 55% of gun homicide victims, but just 13% of the U.S. population, while whites make up 25% of victims and 65% of the population (Cohn et. al., 2013).

Please to post comments