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Who says America doesn't have castles? (economist.com)
37 points by tokenadult 1849 days ago | hide | past | web | 8 comments | favorite

"The South is America's most violent region; both blacks and whites in the South are more violent than those in the northeast. In other words, the murder rate is highest in those states that most disdain the sovereign ("government") and champion self-reliance."

Looks a bit flimsy. By the same token, it's also highest in those states with hottest weather, proximity to Mexico and the Gulf, lower educational attainment, etc.

I don't necessarily disagree that it's flimsy, but intolerance is fairly common around my community. Racism is on the decline by the younger generation, but it's by no means invisible or gone.

The presence of prejudices in the South (assuming other states/communities are still largely similar to mine) could support the argument that people still feel the need to protect themselves (because prejudice results in distrust of those one is prejudiced against).

I agree -- this stuck out to me too as not just flimsy, but at odds with my knowledge of US geography. Rather than the South, it's the rural US West that I associate most with self-reliance and distate for central government. I presume that guns per capita and support for the "castle doctrine" are also significantly higher. And while certain types of violence may be prevalent in the "on the frontier", I don't think that's true for gun crimes such as armed robbery and muggings.

For an article which seemed to jump about so much, I found this unusually readable. I think it's because each paragraph has at least one "nugget". e.g.

  > As late as the mid-1800s, an English gentleman was expected to beat
  > a boorish cabman or bargee for an affront we would now consider trivial.
This is a style of writing which instead of drawing facts and anecdotes to support a thesis rather draws a thesis to sew together facts and anecdotes - in this case the "American castle" theme. This is Malcolm Gladwell done short and sweet.

If someone has merely "reasonable belief" that he will be assaulted, even by an unarmed assailant, in his home, he may use deadly force in response.

This makes sense to me. The worries that this might be abused seem real, but I don't understand the mindset that one should accept being beaten into submission by an assailant who has just broken into your house, armed or not. Is this really the thought, or is the presumption that the abuses of the principle will be a greater problem than the current crimes?

I don't see how it is possible to accurately judge that someone has the intent to physically harm me, but not the intent to kill me. Is the presumption that once I'm incapacitated, they will complete their crime, helpfully calling an ambulance on the way out? I lack that faith, particularly in those who have already shown intent to do me physically harm.

I wonder if the difference is that I personally have a general opposition to violence (as in, I have never violently attacked anyone, don't think much of violent sports, and am bothered by media glorification of violence), and thus don't see many circumstances in which I would attack someone while simultaneously limiting myself to non-lethal options. Are those who are against the 'castle doctrine' doing so as to preserve a perceived right to limited violence?

As regards this case, do those who disapprove of the shooter's actions feel that the 'victim' was in some way entitled escalate from text messages to a violent unarmed assault on the homeowner for having a relationship with his wife? Or do they doubt this was his intent? Would the situation be different if he clearly but merely intended to give him a "good beating" for embarrassing him by usurping his right to exclusive access to his wife?

[Apologies if my phrasing makes my questions seem rhetorical. I would love to understand the opposing view better.]

> The word "chivalry" has its roots in the knight's battle mount (cheval), not his behaviour towards ladies.

This is a bit disingenuous -- or perhaps just uninformed.

Yes, that is the ultimate linguistic origin of the word. However, our modern usage of the word "chivalry" comes from the Code of Chivalry, a set of ideas promulgated first by the church, and later more widespread, and intended to mitigate the worst aspects of warlord-ish behavior the article refers to. The various forms of this code usually included requirements to protect the defenceless and treat women with honor.

Interesting article (if not really Hacker news material, I think). It is made even better by the (currently) last comment (the one with Lamech), make sure you read it, too.

The root of the word chivalry is telling. We portray history in fairy tale manner, as if the old days were better, and consequently it is awkward to feel anger. What about the progress we have made in spite of our naturally selected for violence? Evolutionarily, except in niche cases, pacifist gene lines were subjected to negative selection pressure. We unfortunately have some wiring that is not up to code.

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