Many of the facts in this essay are taken from a researcher and writer named Colin Woodard who has written about cultural divisions within the United States and more recently in Politico about how these cultural differences affect gun violence in culturally distinct areas.

My conservative friends are fond of saying things like “Guns don’t kill people! People kill people!” And as short-sighted as that sentiment may seem, you have to admit that it is true.

Another, and more recent politically motivated platitude of the right is that America’s gun problem is centered in the Democrat-controlled northern urban cities. That is less true. Only a hand full of places, California’s Bay Area, Chicago, Detroit and Baltimore, have very high rates of gun homicides, particularly for African Americans. Those hot spots are located in broader areas that, in general, have lower rates. Other predominately Democrat urban areas, such as Boston, New York, Hartford, Minneapolis, Seattle, and Portland are far safer in terms of gun violence and homicide than in many urban and rural areas of the South and Appalachia for both blacks and whites.

Yesterday’s mass shooting in Dallas is just one example that helps refute the current false narrative.

Neither Democrat nor Republican policies will fix the problem. Political Policy only regulates access to weapons. It is far more important to consider the culture, economics, and demographics of an area, everything that influences what people do with their weapons. The problem is less about gun control than it is about attitude control, although common sense gun registrations and background checks would help.

Mr. Woodard and his research tell us the real problem with gun violence is deeply ingrained cultural biases and attitudes that place a premium on people defending their honor.

Defending your own honor and standing up for yourself is a very valuable part of the human personality and makeup. It only becomes a problem when mentally unstable individuals incorrectly see themselves as the victims in society and decide to “Right the Wrongs” by making a statement and killing innocent people. Knuckleheaded mass shooting perpetrators have somehow convinced themselves that they are doing the right thing.

If the worst outbreaks of homicidal gun violence cannot be attributed to Democrat run urban areas, where is it located? The answer is that the problem lies largely in areas that are most adamantly in favor of gun rights as opposed to gun safety. According to the research the highest rates are found in the South, followed closely by Appalachia.

In a 1993 study of the geographic gap in violence, the social psychologist Richard Nisbett of the University of Michigan noted the regions initially “settled by sober Puritans, Quakers and Dutch farmer-artisans” were organized around a yeoman agricultural economy that rewarded “quiet, cooperative citizenship, with each individual being capable of uniting for the common good.” The Puritan founders of Yankeedom, AKA New England, promoted self-doubt and self-restraint, and their Unitarian and Congregational spiritual descendants believed vengeance would not receive the approval of an all-knowing God.

Appalachia was settled by people from war-ravaged Northern Ireland, Northern England and the Scottish Lowlands. They were deeply committed to personal sovereignty and intensely suspicious of external authority.

The Deep South, where I live, was established by English Barbadian slave lords who championed classical republicanism modeled on slave states of the ancient world, where democracy was the privilege of the few and subjugation a natural consequence for the many.

The economics of a place can also be a factor. In Appalachia, for instance, the economy was, and still is, based on boom-and-bust industries like mineral extraction and mining. A more transient populace leads inevitably to increased independence and increased value being placed on personal honor. “A climate of social isolation coupled with a culture of individualism and stoicism that leads to an inability to ask for help and a stigma against mental health treatment.”

Southern cultures have developed what anthropologists call a “culture of honor tradition” in which many people treasure their honor and believe it can be diminished if an insult, slight or wrong is ignored.

In America, gun homicides are highest in the two broad areas of the South and Appalachia.

In America today, we see people killing other people over a boombox or some loose change, but it is never about the boombox or the handful of dollars. It is about the insults that flew just before the shooting and the inability to shrug it off and walk away.