According to a report from the Institute for Economics and Peace, the United States is more peaceful than it has been for the past two decades. This conclusion was based on a number of factors, including a significant drop in violent crimes.
The same report created the “2012 United States Peace Index” which ranks states from most to least peaceful. The factors used were the number of homicides, number of violent crimes, the incarceration rate, the number of police employees and the availability of small arms.
In the ranking, Maine came out as the most peaceful state. Louisiana came in at the bottom of the scale.
Now, the bad news. Alabama was No. 40.
The states around us did not do so well either. Mississippi was right behind us at No. 41, Florida was No. 47, Tennessee was No. 49. Only Georgia was more peaceful. It ranked No. 36.
We live in a pretty rough neighborhood.
Some critics feel the availability of small arms should not be a criteria. As one wrote, “merely possessing a small arm doesn’t make one violent.”
That is true.
However, having a small arm available makes it more convenient to use and statistics show that a significant part of the personal violence in this and other states is committed with a small weapon. But on the other hand, if small arms were taken out of the mix, it is unlikely the rankings would change very much.
This, of course, avoids the bigger question.
Why do Alabamians — and Southerners in general, judging from this report — resort to violence to settle disputes? This is the question that has haunted the South since there was a South to be haunted by it.
The paradox is obvious. Studies of church-going and Bible-believing have shown, time again, that Southerners are a religious people, but rather than settle our disputes as the New Testament suggests — with reason, patience, compromise and conciliation — we go at each other with Old Testament ferocity.
One can only wonder what the Prince of Peace would say about this.