Strange Fruit

Strange Fruit

by digby

Someone on twitter just said that we should be happy that we've progressed from this:

I guess that's true ...

But considering the fact that we so recently had to have a debate about whether or not torture was legal (Only for terrists, though, so it's not that bad) I'm not sure we've come as far as people think we have.

True, we aren't lynching. But 17 year old, unarmed black kids are still dead. And a bunch of white people are still cheering. When only the absence of torture can be used as evidence of progress I'd say we've still got a long way to go.


Zimmerman's was not a "stand your ground" case but rather standard self-defense. (However, Florida's legal requirements in a self-defense case is a little different than other jurisdictions, apparently.)

Still, this is a pretty startling chart, regardless of Stand Your Ground statutes:
At FRONTLINE’s request, Roman analyzed the pool of 43,500 homicides by race in states with Stand Your Ground laws and those without them. Because he wanted to control for multiple variables — the races of the victim and the shooter, whether they were strangers, whether they involved a firearm and whether the murders were in Stand Your Ground states — Roman used a technique known as regression analysis, which is a statistical tool to analyze the relationship between different pieces of data.

Using this analysis, Roman found that a greater number of homicides were found justified in Stand Your Ground states in all racial combinations, a result he believes is because those states yielded more killings overall.

Roman also found that Stand Your Ground laws tend to track the existing racial disparities in homicide convictions across the U.S. — with one significant exception: Whites who kill blacks in Stand Your Ground states are far more likely to be found justified in their killings. In non-Stand Your Ground states, whites are 250 percent more likely to be found justified in killing a black person than a white person who kills another white person; in Stand Your Ground states, that number jumps to 354 percent.

You can see the breakdown of the killings in the chart below. The figures represent the percentage likelihood that the deaths will be found justifiable compared to white-on-white killings, which was the baseline Roman used for comparison: