John Roman emails the Dish:
Many thanks for featuring my data. I noted the critiques you highlighted and wondered if I might respond. A reader was concerned that the small number of cases that look like the Zimmerman case nullify the analysis. To clarify, the 23 cases are cases where there is a single victim, a single shooter, they are strangers, neither is law enforcement, a handgun was used and the shooter was older than the victim. It’s not a sample of those kinds of cases – it’s every single one in the five years of FBI data. To generate the data in the chart, I ran a regression model, which includes about 5,000 other cases that did not share all of those attributes, so the overall sample is about 5,000, not 23, which is great for a social science dataset. There is no data about income in the dataset and unfortunately nothing about the setting where the shooting occurred (residence, business, street), but I controlled for everything else available.
The bottom-line is, I would have preferred to have conducted the data analysis your readers were looking for, but those data simply are not available anywhere. And I agree with them that my analysis is not sufficient to make any causal statements.
However, I do note that in a criminal justice system rife with disparities – blacks are disproportionately more likely to be stopped and frisked, to have the cars searched at a traffic stop, to be convicted and to receive longer sentences – this disparity dwarfs them all. So, it’s certainly worth discussing.
Robert VerBruggen joins the discussion:
I saw your post about the Stand Your Ground chart from the Urban Institute, and I just wanted to note a few other points I made at RealClearPolicy. Specifically, the overall racial difference (i.e. white-on-black homicides being more likely to be ruled justifiable in all states, SYG or not) might be explained by two factors – one, according to FBI data, black/white violent crimes are more likely to involve black offenders and white victims, so whites are presented with more opportunities to commit justifiable homicides against blacks than vice versa; and two, whites are more likely to own guns, so they’re more likely to have the means to commit justifiable homicide when they have the opportunity.