A History of Violence, The International Terrain of Murder
Josh Marshall//Talking Points Memo
This brings us back to the US crime rate and particularly the Southern murder rate. Why has the South always had a much higher murder rate than the rest of the country? The answer seems obvious: slavery. The role of violence and labor is much, much more similar to the Greater Caribbean than any other part of the United States. And when we look at the relatively high rates of violent crime among African-Americans, though this is a highly fraught and complex question, the sort of alienation from police authority, which goes far, far back into our history, is in my mind almost certainly a central part of the story.
In any case, let's circle all the way back to what are still the relatively high rates of violence and murder in the US versus Europe and some other parts of the world. Some of the mystery is simply that our frame of reference is wrong. The United States is part of the Americas and not just in the obvious geographical sense. While it is distinct in many ways, the US (and not just the South) had its fundamental origins as a settler society, which created basic patterns which are still with us today.