Rev. Jesse Jackson has called for blacks to boycott Florida, arguing, "Homicides against blacks have tripled since this law has been in existence. Now more homicides and more guns make us less secure." Fueled by the George Zimmerman trial, Jackson has also called Florida an “apartheid state.”
PolitiFact has taken a closer look at the validity of Jackson’s claims, and what they have found doesn’t quite match up. PolitiFact claims to have received an email from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement containing statistics about gun violence against blacks since 2006. These are the reported findings of the number of black homicide victims each year:
- 2006: 524
- 2007: 573
- 2008: 564
- 2009: 494
- 2010: 452
- 2011: 476
- 2012: 532
Politifact adds that the number of homicides was notably low in 2004 at 428 homicides, but they only give that statistics partial weight because Stand Your Ground came into effect during 2004.
Another report has indicated that the number of justifiable homicides have tripled since Stand Your Ground went into effect, which leads Politifact to speculate that Jackson is referring to that statistic. That would be troubling, because black homicide victims and justifiable homicides are not the same thing. Some of the justifiable homicides were undoubtedly against blacks, but many of them weren’t.
Additionally, it’s entirely possible that the total number of gun deaths have remained the same, and Stand Your Ground cuases a greater number of those deaths to be ruled as justifiable.
Politifact has called Jackson’s statements false, arguing that Jackson is likely confusing justifiable homicides with violence against blacks.
What are your thoughts on this story? Is Jackson confusing two different statistics? Is Politifact missing the big picture? Do you think that Stand Your Ground hurts some ethnicities more than others?