Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Vlad the Impaler by any Other Name...

  Vanessa  Jackson, the Texas diva judge, offers a provocative insight into the forecasting of criminal behavior:
[S]he noticed that a large number of the defendants in capital cases in her court had Wayne or Lee for their middle names. After doing some informal research, Gilmore says she determined that an “oddly high number” of defendants in Texas death penalty cases have those middle names. After doing more online research, she’s determined that others have noticed the same strange propensity for people with Wayne or Lee for a middle name to have trouble with the law.
Mock on, but she may have something here.  Our names define us: Moynihan and Glazer pointed out years ago that you are more likely to be defined (and to define yourself) as "Irish" if your father is a "Hogan," than if your mother is.  And if you name the baby "Vlad the Impaler," the chances of his avoiding a schoolyard brawl are slim.

Yes, but what would it be with "Wayne" and "Lee."  Well, I wouldn't be surprised if a fair number of the "Waynes" are "Anthony Wayne," after "Mad"  Anthony Wayne, celebrated badboy of the American Revolution.   Right, I know his parents never actually heard of the general, but the bad-boy aura survives (statement of interest: the second-most-feared bully of my youth was an Anthony Wayne; he claimed direct descent from the badboy, and took great pride in it).

"Lee" is even easier.  Surely a fair number of those parents are claiming fealty to "Marse Robert," Robert E. Lee, Confederate Civil War general-in-chief and patron saint of lost-cause rebellions everywhere.  As a definer of behavior, I'd say it is almost as good as having "born to lose" tattoed on your forearm.

No comments: