Dominion of New York

Social Justice

July 5, 2012

Whites Not Safer Under Stand Your Ground, Deader

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Written by: Kelly Virella

Photo courtesy of Flickr/id-iom


he myth that Stand Your Ground laws permit innocent people to gun down marauding black thugs has been powerfully debunked. By and large, it’s not black people who are dying because of Stand Your Ground law. It’s white people.

That’s the conclusion of “Stand Your Ground Laws and Homicides,” a working paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

The two Georgia State University researchers who wrote the paper found that in the states that have adopted Stand Your Ground laws, the law has increased the homicide rate of whites, especially white men. According to their statistically significant estimates, “between 4.4 and 7.4 additional white males are killed each month as a result of these laws. And there is no evidence to suggest that these laws increase the homicide of blacks.”

Given that homicides usually involve killers and victims of the same race, it’s a pretty safe bet that in most cases, these dead white men have been killed by other whites. This research should be a wake up call to the white people who think their enemy is a hooded black male.

It’s true that some of the additional  white men getting killed are probably assailants who would otherwise have killed their victims, the study’s authors Chandler B. McClellan and Erdal Tekin acknowledge. But not all of them are — the increase is just too big to accept that explanation. Some are probably guys with chips on their shoulders who pulled their weapons out, when an apology and a retreat would have been the better solution.

Go figure. These laws appear to have the opposite affect from what their framers intended. Less safety. Not more.

This research echoes what the Tampa Bay Times found in Florida. The newspaper found that justifiable homicides there increased almost 3-fold, from an average of 34 before the Stand Your Ground Law took effect to 105 in 2009.


About the Author

Kelly Virella
Kelly Virella lives in an East Harlem walk-up with her husband, her bicycle and her books. She's worked as a journalist for 11 years and started this website during the summer of 2011. She fell in love with New York City during her first visit here as a 16-year-old and finally made good on her promise to move here in April 2010.


Official portrait from his tenure as US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.