Canada’s History of Violence

Steven Pinker, in his book “The Better Angels of Our Nature,” hypothesized that the differences are deeply rooted in culture and history. In the 19th century, he wrote, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police — the Mounties — got to the Canadian Western frontier “before the settlers and spared them from having to cultivate a violent code of honor.”

During the settlement of the American “Wild West,” in contrast, there was no centralized authority. Plunder and feuding were the rule, and settlers often resorted to violence to protect their lives and property. Violent codes of honor, revenge and self-justice were second nature for early settlers and were transmitted from parents and society to children.

.. In addition, those who live in areas that historically lay outside the reach of the Mounties are most likely to vote for members of the Conservative Party — the only party in Canada that opposes restricted gun ownership.

.. I analyzed N.H.L. data from 1980 to 2007 for 737 professional players born in the Canadian prairies. The players share a common environment in the ice rink, but those who were born in areas historically outside the reach of the Mounties were penalized more often — an average of about 1.4 minutes per game — than those who were not — an average of about 1 minute per game.