Justifiable homicides up
So reports USA Today, with the note that it must reflect a "shoot first" mentality. A few problems: they're not up by much, and police justifiable homicides are up, also. One criminologist, who sounds like he spends too much time in the ivory tower, theorizes that because police have been issued more powerful arms, everyone else figures it's OK to shoot.
How about a simpler explanation? It looks to me as if the trend matches closely the trend for murder and violent crime rates. A peak in 1994, a steep decline thru 2000, modest increases since then. If violent attacks decline, shooting in self defense against violent attacks declines.
Hat tip to reader Charles Oldfield...
[As Gary Kleck notes in the article, only a minority of justified self-defense shootings are reported as such to the FBI. Remember reporting is voluntary, many smaller PDs don't take the time, and when reported it's the PD's initial judgment, not the final legal outcome.)
Perhaps a minor distinction, but I prefer to consider them justified, rather than justifiable, homicides.
Posted by: Carl in Chicago at October 15, 2008 12:59 PM
I saw this earlier today, and USA Today's story - and the supposed "study" by the "criminologist" - has plenty of problems with it for it to have any meaning.
First: "Highest since 1997"? Highest since 10 years ago? Not enough to demonstrate a real trend. Just look at the chart in the story. In fact, the trend line from 1994 to present day is DOWN.
And I'm sick of hearing people whine about "shoot first." That is B.S. word manipulation, pure and simple. No state law allows you to "shoot first." As always, you must reasonably be in fear of imminent serious physical injury or death. The law has not changed, but perhaps people's mentality towards rampant criminal jerks has.
"Ccitizens have taken greater responsibility for their own safety." Oh, well we can't have any of that, can we?
How about this? Criminals have been increasing in their brazeness and violence of attack. There are more people in the U.S. than there were ten years ago. Higher population leads to more encounters with criminals. The study should normalize the data to account for other variables, includnig increased population.
When viewed on the whole, this "trend" does not appear to be anything out of the ordinary - their own chart shows that in 1994, there were 353 justifiable homicides by private citizens. Compared to 254 in 2007, the trendline is an overall DECREASE of 28%!
"Recent spike in self-defense killings" - more B.S. That chart shows anything but a "spike." A spike is when something goes from, say, 100 to 500 and then back to 200. Looking at their own chart, this short term, gradual "increase" is basically within the range of noise. I'd like to see the scale expanded over the past 20, 30 years.
Is it a bad thing that states finally have been recognizing people's natural, inherent and constitutionally protected right to defend themselves?
Leave it to USA Today to screw up a really simple concept. And to try to create an issue where there isn't one. I'm guessing this story is supposed to scare everyone about how scary it is that people are allowed to have scary guns and use them to defend themselves against criminal a-holes.
Posted by: Anonymous at October 15, 2008 03:02 PM
Yes. This is endangering the "Catch & Release" programs.
Posted by: Jerry in Detroit at October 15, 2008 06:41 PM
+1 on what Anonymous said. If you kill someone that was going to kill you, not only do you save yourself, you have saved EVERYONE that BG would have killed after you. As Ted Nugent said, "I don't LIKE repeat offenders. I like DEAD offenders."
Posted by: Michael at October 16, 2008 12:09 PM