Magazine / fall 2013
Last December, when Adam Lanza stormed into the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, with a rifle and killed twenty children and six adult staff members, the United States found itself immersed in debates about gun control. Another flash point occurred this July, when George Zimmerman, who saw himself as a guardian of his community, was exonerated in the killing of an unarmed black teenager, Trayvon Martin, in Florida. That time, talk turned to stand-your-ground laws and the proper use of deadly force. The gun debate was refreshed in September by the shooting deaths of twelve people at the Washington Navy Yard, apparently at the hands of an IT contractor who was mentally ill. Such episodes remind Americans that our country as a whole is marked by staggering levels of deadly violence. What’s less well appreciated is how much the incidence of violence, like so many salient issues in American life, varies by region. The nations are constituted as follows: YANKEEDOM.