America’s regions are poles apart when it comes to gun deaths and the cultural and ideological forces that drive them.
In reality, the region the Big Apple comprises most of is far and away the safest part of the U.S. mainland when it comes to gun violence, while the regions Florida and Texas belong to have per capita firearm death rates (homicides and suicides) three to four times higher than New York’s. On a regional basis it’s the southern swath of the country — in cities and rural areas alike — where the rate of deadly gun violence is most acute, regions where Republicans have dominated state governments for decades.
… When I turned to New York-area criminologists and gun violence experts, I expected to be told the more restrictive gun policies in New York City and in New York and New Jersey largely explained why New Netherland is so remarkably safe compared to other U.S. regions, including Yankeedom and the Midlands. Instead, they pointed to regional culture.
“New York City is a very diverse place. We see people from different cultural and religious traditions every moment and we just know one another, so it’s harder for people to foment inter-group hatreds,” says Jeffrey Butts, director of the research and evaluation center at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan. “Policy has something to do with it, but policy mainly controls the ease to which people can get access to weapons. But after that you have culture, economics, demographics and everything else that influences what they do with those weapons.”