Note: This is an encore post from 2005 and originally appeared on the 1947project.
The Times reports the death of UCLA professor Eric Monkkonen, who spent years studying murder in the U.S. and focused on Los Angeles. Among his many findings was that the homicide rate in Los Angeles decreased after World War II.
As Times writer Elaine Woo notes:
“The scholar also found that what goes up at some point goes down, and that one of the ebbs in L.A.’s murder rate occurred, surprisingly, after World War II.
”Conventional wisdom held that wars begat violence at home, that men returned from combat with a propensity to use weapons and kill. Monkkonen speculated that returning soldiers were so sickened by gunplay that they were less inclined to murder. He also suggested that their domestic orientation — they came home and started families, launching the postwar baby boom — actually had a calming effect, as far as murder trends were concerned.”
Although his death interrupted his research on murder in Los Angeles, the Journal of Interdisciplinary Research plans to publish a posthumous article in August: “Homicide in Los Angeles, 1827-2002.”