Why do people like to kill other people so much in America? (Which, much like Cardiff, is the stabbingest and shootingest place in the better parts of the world, except, unlike Cardiff, America is actually in one of the better places in the world.) And we mean besides the obvious reasons, such as being surrounded by bad smells and dirty looks and not enough parking spaces and hating other races and stuff. In a look this week at historian's attempts to make sense of our murder rate, some ideas are tried on and discarded: "The homicide rate appears to correlate with Presidential approval ratings. If [American Murder author Randolph] Roth is right, electing a bad President is dangerous and inciting people to hate any President, good or bad, could be deadly. But which is the cart, and which the horse? The Presidential approval rate might be a proxy for all sorts of measures of a well or poorly adjusted society. Or maybe there's another horse, somewhere, some third factor, that determines both the Presidential approval rate and the homicide rate."
Wednesday, November 4th, 2009