The debate over stand-your-ground laws, explained
With the death of Markeis McGlockton, the debate over stand your ground laws has reignited. Proponents believe they make us safe, while opponents claim they encourage vigilantism. While a consensus may be inconclusive, studies suggest such laws aren’t as effective as their drafters intended.
Markeis McGlockton parks his car and heads into a convenience store with his five-year-old son.
A few minutes later, he notices a man screaming and cursing at his girlfriend, who is waiting in the vehicle with their younger children. McGlockton rushes out and pushes the man to the ground. The man draws a concealed handgun. McGlockton backs away, hands raised, but the man shoots him in the chest anyway. McGlockton retreats to the convenience store where he collapses in front of his son.
Or perhaps the story goes like this: Michael Drejka sees a man park illegally in a handicap-accessible spot. He confronts the woman sitting in the car about their uncourteous behavior, and the argument escalates. From nowhere, the man returns to the vehicle and violently slams Drejka to the ground. Fearing for his safety, Drejka draws his firearm and justifiably shoots the man once in the chest.
These two ways of understanding the death of Markeis McGlockton stand at the heart of the debate over stand-your-ground laws—self-defense laws that have been enacted in roughly half of all U.S. states—and his tragic death has reignited questions over the effectiveness of these laws and whether their enforcement is disproportionately affected by implicit biases.
Stand-your-ground laws, a history
Self-defense laws fall roughly into three categories: duty-to-retreat laws, castle doctrines, and stand-your-ground laws.
Speaking broadly, a duty-to-retreat law limits the use of deadly force to a last resort. As the name implies, if you can reasonably escape a threatening situation—say, by retreating into your home or driving away—then you have a duty to do so. In cases where deadly force is used in self-defense, such laws require a heavier burden of proof to support that such force was necessary.
Castle doctrines state that you may defend yourself as needed within the bounds of your personal property. If an intruder attacks you in your home, for example, you have no duty to retreat and may use force, even deadly force, to defend yourself. Castle doctrines encompass personal property such as offices and, in some states, even vehicles.
Finally, there are stand-your-ground laws. In 2005, Florida was the first state to pass such a law. The Florida statute states that people have "no duty to retreat" and have "the right to stand his or her ground," even going so far as to use deadly force if they reasonably believe it is necessary "to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm" to themselves or another. Critics sometimes refer to such laws as "shoot-first laws".
Many other states have enacted similar laws since, but it is difficult to say precisely how many. This is because some states have adopted stand your ground in practice through judicial precedent, rather than officially legislating such statues. As a result, the American Bar Association [pdf] claimed 33 states had stand-your-ground laws by 2014, while the National Conference of State Legislatures lists only 25.
The Giffords Law Center cites 28 states as employing stand your ground, but points out that California, Idaho, Illinois, New Mexico, Oregon, Virginia, and Washington permit deadly force in public without a duty to retreat. The difference, the law center notes, is that these states only allow shoot-first protections to be invoked during a criminal trial, whereas Florida-style laws can be used to protect shooters in pretrial hearings or prevent law enforcement from charging shooters altogether.
We can see this discrepancy in the Michael Drejka case. The Pinellas County Sheriff did not file charges against Drejka, claiming Florida's stand-your-ground law as justification. But after reviewing the case, state prosecutors ultimately filed charges for the crime of manslaughter.
There is no federal stand-your-ground law.
Arguments for and against stand-your-ground
Proponents of stand-your-ground laws argue that these laws keep law-abiding citizens safe. They also see duty-to-retreat polices as detrimental to victims, placing the burden of protection on them and unfairly making them liable for the outcome of altercations they did not initiate.
Former Illinois Representative Richard Morthland argued such a case: "[S]tates are turning to these measures to uphold the principle that our laws must protect the innocent over the criminal, the peace-loving over the violent, and the law-keeper over the law breaker. In a situation where a citizen is under attack, it cannot be incumbent upon that individual to take extraordinary measures to avoid conflict that he or she did not initiate."
Writing for the National Review, Ilya Shapiro, a senior fellow in constitutional studies at the Cato Institute, follows a similar argument, noting that citizens harmed by duty-to-retreat laws include victims of domestic violence.
"Feminists thus support SYG and point out that 'you could have run away' may not work when faced with a stalker," he writes. "It's bad enough for an innocent person to find herself threatened by a criminal, but to then have to worry about whether she can retreat, lest she face prosecution, is too much to ask."
Opponents of stand-your-ground laws, on the other hand, believe such policies encourage vigilantism and give malcontents legal protection to escalate altercations until they perceive bodily harm. Further, even those acting in good faith may lack the training or understanding to properly assess a situation should they enact stand your ground to prevent a perceived felony.
"We need policies that defuse confrontations in public places, especially since more than 11 million Americans now have licenses to carry," writes Robert Spitzer for The New York Times. "The police and prosecutors need to be able to conduct full, unencumbered investigations. And gun owners need to admit what most of them already know: that firearms' lethality and ease of use make fatal miscalculation more like."
They point to George Zimmerman, who was instructed by law enforcement not to get out of his SUV or approach Treyvon Martin, as an example of what can happen when citizens take the law into their own hands. Similarly, officials have alleged that Michael Drejka has a history of starting altercations with other drivers and brandishing his weapon during bouts of road rage.
"In short, Stand Your Ground laws encourage the use of deadly force," says Philip J. Cook, ITT/Terry Sanford Professor Emeritus of Public Policy Studies. "These laws open the door to a more dangerous world where everyone feels pressure to carry a gun — and if they feel threatened, to shoot first and tell their stories later."
Have stand-your-ground laws made us safer?
Figure 1. Effect of "Stand Your Ground" Law on Homicide and Homicide by Firearm. Data points represent monthly rates of homicide and homicide by firearm in Florida and comparison states (New York, New Jersey, Ohio, and Virginia) between 1999 and 2014. Florida is represented by orange data points and regression lines and the comparison states by blue data points and regression lines. Gray-shaded areas depict the onset of Florida's stand your ground law. Straight-hatched lines represent fitted estimates using a linear step change model. The curved lines represent fitted values for seasonally adjusted models.
(Source: David K. Humphreys et. al.)
Each side can rally data to support its argument. Consider Florida. Supporters can point out that the state's violent crime rate has dropped since 2005. However, opponents can counter that violent crime rates have decreased nationwide, not just in states with shoot-first laws.
Who's right? While conclusive answers may be premature at this stage, current data suggest that these statutes aren't having their intended effects.
A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that Florida suffered an abrupt and sustained increase in monthly homicides after passing its stand-your-ground law. As a control, the study looked at rates of suicide and suicide by firearm but found no observable changes.
The RAND Corporation's comprehensive report on gun policy in America, 'The Science of Gun Policy', dedicates an entire chapter to stand-your-ground laws and surveys several studies for its findings. The RAND Corporation found that there was moderate evidence to suggest that stand-your-ground laws increased total homicides, limited evidence to suggest that they increased firearm homicides, and inconclusive evidence to suggest that these laws affect other violent crimes.
Finally, a study out of Texas A&M University [pdf] found "no evidence of deterrence" and that "burglary, robbery, and aggravated assault are unaffected by the laws." Like the other two studies, this one also suggests that the "primary consequence of strengthened self-defense law is a net increase in homicide."
Is there a racial disparity for standing one's ground?
After the shooting of Trayvon Martin, the Tampa Bay Times analyzed 200 stand-your-ground cases in Florida. The data set showed that nearly 70 percent of those claiming stand your ground avoided punishment successfully. However, the success rate varied depending on the race of the victim. If the victim was white, 59 percent of those claiming stand your ground succeeded; if the victim was black, 73 percent did.
In a study for the Urban Institute, John Roman analyzed FBI supplementary homicide data from 2005-2010 to see if there was racial disparity in the enforcement of stand-your-ground laws. He found that black-on-black and white-on-white homicides had the same odds of being ruled justifiable.
However, these odds changed dramatically when the victim and defender were of differing races. Roman's analysis found that "white-on-black homicides have justifiable findings 33 percentage points more often than black-on-white homicides" and that "the odds a white-on-black homicide is found justified is 281 percent greater than the odds [of a] white-on-white homicide."
Based on these studies, the American Bar Association's National Task Force on Stand Your Ground Laws concluded that the application of stand-your-ground laws was racially uneven and recommended legislators amend or repeal such laws because of implicit racial bias.
What's the future for stand-your-ground laws?
Popular opinion over stand-your-ground laws is currently deadlocked. A 2013 poll conducted by Quinnipiac shows that 53 percent of Americans support such laws, while 40 percent opposed them. Broken down by race, white voters support stand-your-ground laws (57 to 37 percent), black voters oppose them (57 to 37 percent), and Hispanic voters are split (44 to 43 percent). By gender, men tend to favor them while women do not.
With opinion split, state legislators have looked to modify such laws to garner favor from their constituency. Some aim strengthen them—such Sen. Rob Bradley of Florida, whose bill shifted the burden of proof in self-defense cases to prosecutors—while others have sought to weaken them, such as Rep. Garnet Coleman of Texas, whose bill would reinstate duty-to-retreat where applicable in public places. Outright repeal for any state seems unlikely.
Moving forward, proponents will need to show that these laws really do protect law-abiding citizens. However, given the popularity of these laws, opponents will probably be unable to revoke them entirely and will need to rely on data to enact meaningful, measurable changes to existing laws to prevent further tragedy.
Iranian Tolkien scholar finds intriguing parallels between subcontinental geography and famous map of Middle-earth.
- J.R.R. Tolkien hinted that his stories are set in a really ancient version of Europe.
- But a fantasy realm can be inspired by a variety of places; and perhaps so is Tolkien's world.
- These intriguing similarities with Asian topography show that it may be time to 'decolonise' Middle-earth.
Mental decolonisation<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzQzMDM0OS9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1MDU4Mjg3N30.pKS1PLxKYeJ6WDPAcleg7NCxzDn7Pddcg9rSJaul6no/img.png?width=980" id="56ee5" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="1d2ba98946accd12f7e0070c8d10154d" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="Menu page for Arda.ir, the website of the Persian Tolkien Society." />
Menu page for Arda.ir, the website of the Persian Tolkien Society.
Image: Arda.ir<p>Where on earth was Middle-earth? Based on a few hints by Tolkien himself, we've always sort-of assumed that his stories of "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings" were centered on Europe, but so long ago that the shape of the coasts and the land has changed. </p><p>But perhaps that's too easy and too Eurocentric an assumption; perhaps, like so many other things these days, Tolkien's fantasy realm too is in dire need of mental decolonisation.</p><p>And here's an excellent occasion: an Iranian Tolkienologist has found intriguing hints that the writer based some of Middle-earth's topography on mountains, rivers, and islands located in and near present-day Pakistan. </p><p>As mentioned in a previous article – recently reposted on the <a href="https://www.facebook.com/VeryStrangeMaps" target="_blank">Strange Maps Facebook page</a> on the occasion of the death of Ian Holm – Tolkien admitted that "The Shire is based on rural England, and not on any other country in the world," and that "the action of the story takes place in the North-West of 'Middle-earth', equivalent in latitude to the coastlands of Europe and the north shores of the Mediterranean."<br></p>
Non-European topography<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzQzMDM1MC9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1NTQ4MzcyMX0.891LPW42L78fdrwUhXdgOab7cbhs3YOqZK4ukIQx-Rw/img.png?width=980" id="6741c" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="2b50c57cb3b8a3a1cc8a4696c89ad954" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="Map of Tian-shan, the Himalayas, and the Pamirs" />
If you look at it like that, yes: that does resemble Mordor...
Image: Mohammad Reza Kamali, reproduced with kind permission<p>Extrapolating from the location of the Shire in Middle-earth and from other clues dropped by Tolkien, geophysics and geology professor Peter Bird matched the geography of Middle-earth with that of Europe (more about that in the <a href="https://bigthink.com/strange-maps/121-where-on-earth-was-middle-earth?utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Facebook&fbclid=IwAR0ZFYK1EXrf4J3B3X5_U4hSAgidgBs24ZNTYV9QEFbz2qI34OA_DpZsn70#Echobox=1592583835" target="_blank">aforementioned article</a>).</p><p>However, seeing Middle-earth as a mere palimpsest for present-day Europe is to place an undue limit on the imagination of its creator. As Tolkien also said about the shape of his world: "[It] was devised 'dramatically' rather than geologically or paleontologically."</p><p>In other words, certain parts of Middle-earth may very well have been inspired by other places than European ones. It is telling that it took a non-European connoisseur of Tolkien's topography to find some examples. <br></p>
"Seen that map before"<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzQzMDM1MS9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1MTQ3Njc3NH0.azDO1_NWm9q9FwMpmqBOV2troOX0ajAXS4lP2bLstJI/img.png?width=980" id="1b193" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="21c3d38b14503ba8edac18c0ef1cceb0" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="Map of Indus river" />
The Indus river is a prominent geographical feature of Pakistan. Its course is similar to that of the Anduin, the Great River of Middle-earth.
Image: Mohammad Reza Kamali, reproduced with kind permission<p>In an article published on <a href="https://arda.ir/" target="_blank">Arda.ir</a>, the web page for the Persian Tolkien Society, Mohammad Reza Kamali writes that during several years of cartographic study, "I found that maybe there are real lands [that] could have inspired Professor Tolkien, and some of them are not in Europe."</p><p>Around 2012, Kamali's eye stopped when it came across a Google Map of Central Asia that showed the mountain chain of the Himalayas, the peaks of the Pamirs bunched together in an almost circular area, and the huge, flat oval of the Takla Makan desert, bounded to the north by the Tian-Shan mountains. </p><p>"I had seen that map before," he writes. "This is of course Mordor, the land of Sauron and the dark powers of Middle-earth, where Frodo and Sam destroy the One Ring." </p><p>In <a href="http://lotrproject.com/map" target="_blank">Tolkien's world</a>, the Himalayas transform into Ephel Duath, the Mountains of Shadow; and the Tian Shan into Ered Lithui, the Ash Mountains. And the circle-shaped Pamirs "are the same shape and in exactly the same corner as the Udûn of Mordor, where Frodo and Sam originally tried getting into Mordor, via the Black Gate."<br></p>
Similar shapes<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzQzMDM1Mi9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxMDQyODMzNX0.KHrY7rDCNNaKKJQz-xn431APM2TqxGPCaMsqNvBe1xA/img.jpg?width=980" id="7a9fa" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="e87f1af97902201abc042640255606b2" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="Marine Corps helicopter flying over Tarbela Dam" />
A US Marine Corps helicopter flying over the Tarbela Dam on the Indus river in Pakistan. At its center: a former river island which may have been the inspiration for Cair Andros, a ship-shaped island in Middle-earth's Anduin river.
Image: Paul Duncan (USMC), public domain<p>Mulling over these similarities, Kamali became convinced that Tolkien's map work was heavily inspired by Asia. Looking further, he found more evidence. Consider Anduin, the Great River of Middle-earth, in whose waters the One Ring was lost for more than two thousand years. </p><p>On Tolkien's map, the Anduin bends toward the sea in a shape similar to that of another great river: the Indus, which runs the length of Pakistan. Like the Anduin, it flows to the west of a major mountain chain. A prominent feature of the Anduin is the river island of Cair Andros, just north of Osgiliath. Its name means 'Ship of Long Foam', a reference to its long and narrow shape, and the sharpness of its rocks, which split the waters of the Anduin like a prow. <br></p><p>Kamali is not entirely sure, but proposes that Tolkien may have been inspired by a similar-shaped island in the Indus. Now integrated into the Tarbela Dam, which was inaugurated in 1976, it would still have been a separate island in the 1930s and '40s, when Tolkien dreamed up his map.</p>
Kutch as Tolfalas Island<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzQzMDM1NC9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYwOTU5NjcyNn0.869W8iiowQb9_T3laFKOUe5o5UMXuMlSITb1VxRlC2g/img.png?width=980" id="9c49e" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="548bafc6042cc7515e07f77657aa161c" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="Map of Kutch" />
During the rainy season, the coastal region of Kutch, near the mouth of the Indus, turns into an island that resembles Tolfalas Island, near the mouth of the Anduin.
Image: Mohammad Reza Kamali, reproduced with kind permission<p>Turning our eyes to the mouth of the Anduin and Indus, we see another pair of islands, and Kamali is more certain about the real one having inspired the fictional one. The fictional one is Tolfalas Island, the largest island in Belfalas Bay. <br></p><p>At first glance, it doesn't seem to have a real-life counterpart near where the Indus joins the Arabian Sea. But take a look at the coastal part of the Indian state of Gujarat. It is known as <em>Kutch</em>, a name which apparently refers to its alternately wet and dry states. In the rainy season, the shallow wetlands flood and Kutch becomes an island – the biggest island in the Gulf of Kutch, and not too dissimilar to Tolfalas Island. </p>
General knowledge<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzQzMDM1NS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyMDIwODkyOH0.aInJedv3tiQo1LmW-M6D5LV699oeWNltxeYcVKWwtF0/img.jpg?width=980" id="9bc6e" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="01d97d3941f9ba732b4df35c3aedd977" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="British Indian Empire 1909 Imperial Gazetteer of India" />
1909 map showing British India in pink (direct British control) and yellow (princely states). Circled: Kutch, clearly recognisable as an island.
Image: Edinburgh Geographical Institute; J. G. Bartholomew and Sons, public domain<p>But are these similarities really more than coincidences? Why would Tolkien, who was based in Oxford and steeped in English lore and Germanic mythology, turn to the Indian subcontinent for topographical inspiration? Perhaps because cartographic knowledge of that part of the world was far more general in Britain then than it is now. Until the late 1940s, the countries we know today as India and Pakistan were part of the British Empire. Detailed maps of the region would have been standard fare for British atlases. </p><p>Kamali is convinced that the topographical features on Tolkien's map of Middle-earth are not mere fantasy, but derive from actual places in our world, and were 'riddled' onto the map. In that case, we may look forward to more discoveries of Tolkien's real-world inspiration. <br></p>
From Frodingham to Frodo<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzQzMDM1Ni9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY2MDkwNTE2OH0.zxa0eVWzVuySpq5wQTLSYrFjdVGWyvpXecQhQc_miy8/img.jpg?width=980" id="4ad77" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="ff9aace7fc7c111df3639a276cedf63c" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="Photograph of J. R. R. Tolkien in army uniform" />
J.R.R. Tolkien in 1916, when he was 24. Around that time, he was stationed near the village of Frodingham, which may have given him the inspiration for the name of the main protagonist in Lord of the Rings.
Image: public domain<p>Here's one example of Tolkienography—if that's what we can call the effect of actual geography on this particular writer's imagination—which I gleaned myself, some years ago in East Yorkshire. A local historian told me that Tolkien had been stationed in the area during the First World War, and had apparently stored away some local place names for later use. The name Frodo, he said, derived from a town where he had attended a few dances – Frodingham, a village across the Humber in northern Lincolnshire, not far from Scunthorpe (<em>Scunto</em>? We dodged a bullet there). </p><p>Whether that story is entirely true or not is beside the point. As fantasy fans know, any grail quest is ultimately about the quest, not the grail. In fact, to quote Mr Kamali, the treasure is important only because it's well hidden, "by a clever professor who enjoys riddles."</p><p><em>Unless otherwise indicated, illustrations are from Mr Kamali's <a href="https://arda.ir/the-tale-of-the-annotated-map-and-tolkien-hidden-riddles/?fbclid=IwAR3RmtU0ZdyzQGlK-iCsUjho4LA2W279fwO9dt8vv90FX2IeO3zrfMuMToU" target="_blank">article</a> on <a href="https://arda.ir/" target="_blank">Arda.ir</a>, reproduced with kind permission. </em><br></p><p><strong>Strange Maps #1036</strong></p><p><em>Got a strange map? Let me know at </em><a href="mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org">email@example.com</a><em>.</em></p>
Tea and coffee have known health benefits, but now we know they can work together.
Credit: NIKOLAY OSMACHKO from Pexels
- A new study finds drinking large amounts of coffee and tea lowers the risk of death in some adults by nearly two thirds.
- This is the first study to suggest the known benefits of these drinks are additive.
- The findings are great, but only directly apply to certain people.
Maybe you should enjoy this article with a cup of coffee or tea.<p> The <a href="https://drc.bmj.com/content/8/1/e001252?T=AU" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">study</a> involved 4,923 type 2 diabetics living in Japan. The average participant was 66 years old. All of the participants were taken from the rolls of the Fukuoka Diabetes Registry, a study geared at learning about the effects of new treatments and lifestyle changes on the health of diabetics. <br> <br> The participants filled out questionnaires concerning their health, diet, habits, and other factors. Among the questions were two focused on determining how much green tea or coffee, if any, the participants consumed over the course of a week. The health of the participants was recorded for five years. During this time, 309 of the test subjects died from a variety of causes. <br> <br> Subjects who drank more than one cup of tea or coffee per day demonstrated lower odds of dying than those who had none. Those who consumed the most tea and coffee, more than four and two cups a day, respectively, enjoyed the most significant reductions in their risk of death. This level of consumption was associated with a 40 percent lower risk of <a href="https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/10/201020190129.htm" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">death</a>. </p><p>Most interestingly, the effects of drinking tea and coffee appear to combine to reduce risk even further. Those who reported drinking two or three cups of tea a day and two or more cups of coffee were 51 percent less likely to die during the study, while those who drank a whopping four or more cups of tea and two or more cups of coffee had a 63 percent lower risk of <a href="https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/diabetes-coffee-and-green-tea-might-reduce-death-risk" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">death</a>. </p>
So, should I start swimming in a vat of coffee and green tea?<iframe width="730" height="430" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/LY0E-JQxeoY" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe><p> Not quite. </p><p> The primary takeaway from this study is that Japanese adults with type 2 diabetes who drink a lot of green tea and/or coffee die less often than similar people who do not. If this effect is caused by something in the drink, lifestyle choices people who drink that much tea all make, or something else remains unknown. The finding must be considered an association at this point. <br> <br> The eye-popping reductions in mortality rates are compared to the risk of death of others in the study. The people who died reported drinking less tea and coffee than those who lived. Unless you have several demographic and conditional similarities to the subjects of this study, you probably won't suddenly be at a two-thirds lower risk of death than your peers because you drink green tea. </p><p> Like all studies that depend on self-reporting, it is also possible that people misstated how much they consumed any one item. The study also did not look into other factors like socioeconomic status or education level, also known to impact death rates and potentially linked to coffee and tea consumption. </p><p> However, it is yet another study in the pile that suggests that <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/top-13-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-coffee" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">coffee</a> and <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/top-10-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-green-tea" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">green tea</a> are good for you. That much is increasingly <a href="https://www.health.harvard.edu/press_releases/health-benefits-linked-to-drinking-tea" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">agreed</a><a href="https://www.rush.edu/health-wellness/discover-health/health-benefits-coffee" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"> upon</a>. This study also suggests the benefits are additive, which is a new development.</p><p><br> So, while it isn't time to start the IV drip of green tea, a cup or two probably won't <a href="https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/news/20201022/coffee-green-tea-might-extend-life-for-folks-with-type-2-diabetes" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">hurt</a>. </p>
But most city dwellers weren't seeing the science — they were seeing something out of Blade Runner.
On Sept. 9, many West Coast residents looked out their windows and witnessed a post-apocalyptic landscape: silhouetted cars, buildings and people bathed in an overpowering orange light that looked like a jacked-up sunset.