Thursday, September 15, 2005

Young men killing each other

This suggests that there is something predictable about the state of young manhood that leads to violent behavior. There is, however, an important question of the scale. In England and Wales the peak homicide rate is one-thirtieth of the Chicago rate: 30 per million in the population compared to 900.

The universality of the age sex pattern of homicide -- young men killing each other -- is a basic tenet of evolutionary psychology. Where such universal patterns are seen, we are likely to be looking at an evolved characteristic of the species, in this case a tendency for young men to be aggressive. But what that evolved tendency leads to depends on the environment: the social conditions. It is likely that the environment of Chicago is either one that brings out this aggressive tendency and/or provides the means for this tendency to be translated into homicide.
--Michael Marmot, "The Status Syndrome," pg. 34.

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