Re: Murder most foul

Timothy Mason (mason@CIE.FR)
Thu, 3 Oct 1996 11:29:02 -0500

-- [ From: Timothy Mason * EMC.Ver #2.5.02 ] --

Martin Cohen says

> As for murder, I am afraid that while it does occur in tribal life, and
no doubt did in the past, we are >the leader.

Whilst I agree with most of Martin's arguments, he is wrong here. An
interesting place to look for a discussion of this question is "Homicide" by
Martin Daly and Margo Wilson., Aldine de Gruyter, 1988. Right at the moment,
Columbia may well top the lists - well ahead of the USA. Killings in many
tribal societies have been of greater frequency than in the US. Oxford, in
England, in the 1400s was a far more dangerous place to live in than is
modern America. This is not to deny that there are less violent societies
than your own.

As an afterthought, I wonder what you make of the following argument, which
seems at present to have some popularity in law-enforcement circles. The
claim is that *if* you subtract from the overall homicide total the number
of drug-related ghetto killings, the US murder rate is not at all
exceptional - so (unspoken but probably understood as read) we don't have to
worry about it too much.

Timothy Mason