Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Words from a murder, repentance vs. innocence


A couple times I've used the Gary Gilmore analogy.  I'm going to do it again by contrasting a pair of speeches, Amanda's statement in her appeal vs. Gary Gilmore's first letter to Nicole Baker after his arrest (written Aug 3, 1976).   Both are the thoughts of people looking down the barrel of annihilation.  For those who don't know, Gilmore will go on to be the first man executed after the reimposition of the death penalty.  He's been arrested for 2 murders during the course of a robbery.    Gary in Green, Amanda in Red italic.  

Amanda asserts her innocence, while Gary is "repentant" in the way guilters would have liked her to be:
I look around the ugly vile cell and know that I truly belong in a place this dank and dirty, for where else should I be?
  vs   Raffaele and I are innocent, and we want to live our lives in freedom. We are not responsible for Meredith's death, and, I repeat, no justice is accomplished by taking our lives away. 


Gary agrees he is a threat to society; Amanda asserts she has never been a threat: 
I’m so used to bullshit and hostility, deceit and pettiness, evil and hatred. Those things are my natural habitat. They have shaped me. I look at the world through eyes that suspect, doubt, fear, hate, cheat, mock, are selfish and vain. vs.  Ask them if I have ever been violent, aggressive or uncaring in front of the suffering that is part of the broken lives in prison. Because I assure you that I'm not like that. I assure you that I have never resembled the images painted by the prosecution.  How could it be possible that I could be capable of achieving the kind of violence that Meredith suffered? How could it be possible that I could throw myself like that at the opportunity to hurt one of my friends? such a violence, as though it were more important and more natural than all my teaching, all my values, all my dreams and my whole life?

Amanda is often attacking for not being repentent.  Gary Gilmore is quite repentent, he killed two people to speed up his ability to make payments for a truck.  Amanda is sorry only that the whole thing happened:
Eat my heart out for the wondrous love you gave me that I threw away Monday nite because I was so spoiled and couldn’t immediately have a white pickup truck I wanted? vs
The only thing I am really sorry about now is that there are people to whom I should turn, who are not here, but I hope my words will reach them, because I am either locked in prison, or I'm here. And...I'm here. To the family and dear ones of Meredith, I want to say that I'm so sorry that Meredith is not here any more. I can't know how you feel, but I too have little sisters, and the idea of their suffering and infinite loss terrifies me. It's incomprehensible, it's unacceptable, what you're going through, and what Meredith underwent. [Long pause] I'm sorry all this happened to you and that you'll never have her near you, where she should be. It's not just and never will be.

Finally look at how they responded to the murder.  Gary identifies with the person going to gallows, Amanda bravely declares she is entitled to a normal life, that is all just an enormous error:
Remember I told you about The Oldness? And you told me how ugly it was - the oldness, the oldness. I can hear the tumbrel wheels creek. So fucking ugly and coming so close to me. When I was a child… I had a dream about being beheaded. But it was more than just a dream. More like a memory. It brought me right out of the bed. And it was sort of a turning point in my life… Recently it has begun to make a little sense. I owe a debt, from a long time ago. Nicole, this must depress you. I’ve never told anybody of this thing, except my mother the nite I had that nitemare and she came in to comfort me but we never spoke of it after that. And I started to tell you one nite and I told you quite a bit of it before it became plain to me that you didn’t want to hear it. There have been years when I haven’t even thought much of it at all and then something (a picture of a guillotine, a headmans block, or a broad ax, or even a rope) will bring it all back and for days it will seem I’m on the verge of knowing something very personal, something about myself. Something that somehow wasn’t completed and makes me different. Something I owe, I guess. Wish I knew. vs.
Because I felt an affinity towards her, suddenly, in her death, I recognized my own vulnerability. I clung above all to Raffaele, who was a source of reassurance, consolation, availability and love for me. I also trusted the authorities carrying out the investigation, because I wanted to help render justice for Meredith. It was another shock to find myself accused and arrested. I needed a lot of time to accept that reality, of being accused, and redefined unjustly. I was in prison, my photo was everywhere. Insidious, unjust, nasty gossip about my private life circulated about me. Living through this experience has been unacceptable for me. I have trusted above all to the hope that everything will be arranged as it should have been, and that this enormous error about me will be recognized, and that every day that I spend in a cell and in court is one day nearer to my liberty. This is my consolation, in the darkness, that lets me live without despairing, doing my best to continue my life as I always have, in contact with my dear friends and my family, dreaming about the future.


You can stop here, or read the full versions below:

August 3, 1976 from Gary Gilmore

Nothing in my experience, prepared me for the kind of honest open love you gave me. I’m so used to bullshit and hostility, deceit and pettiness, evil and hatred. Those things are my natural habitat. They have shaped me. I look at the world through eyes that suspect, doubt, fear, hate, cheat, mock, are selfish and vain. All things unacceptable, I see them as natural and have even come to accept them as such. I look around the ugly vile cell and know that I truly belong in a place this dank and dirty, for where else should I be? There’s water all over the floor from the fucking toilet that don’t flush right. The shower is filthy and the thin mattress they gave me is almost black, it’s so old. I have no pillow. There are dead cockroaches in the corners. At nite there are mosquitoes and the lite is very dim. I’m alone here with my thoughts and I can feel the oldness. Remember I told you about The Oldness? And you told me how ugly it was - the oldness, the oldness. I can hear the tumbrel wheels creek. So fucking ugly and coming so close to me. When I was a child… I had a dream about being beheaded. But it was more than just a dream. More like a memory. It brought me right out of the bed. And it was sort of a turning point in my life… Recently it has begun to make a little sense. I owe a debt, from a long time ago. Nicole, this must depress you. I’ve never told anybody of this thing, except my mother the nite I had that nitemare and she came in to comfort me but we never spoke of it after that. And I started to tell you one nite and I told you quite a bit of it before it became plain to me that you didn’t want to hear it. There have been years when I haven’t even thought much of it at all and then something (a picture of a guillotine, a headmans block, or a broad ax, or even a rope) will bring it all back and for days it will seem I’m on the verge of knowing something very personal, something about myself. Something that somehow wasn’t completed and makes me different. Something I owe, I guess. Wish I knew.


Once you asked me if I was the devil, remember? I’m not. The devil would be far more clever than I, would operate on a much larger scale and of course would feel no remorse. So I’m not Beelzebub. And I know the devil can’t feel love. But I might be further from God than I am from the devil. Which is not a good thing. It seems that I know evil more intimately than I know goodness and that’s not a good thing either. I want to get even, to be made even, whole, my debts paid (whatever it may take!) to have no blemish, no reason to feel guilt or fear. I hope this ain’t corny, but I’d like to stand in the sight of God. To know that I’m just and right and clean. When you’re this way you know it. And when you’re not, you know that too. It’s all inside of us, each of us - but I guess I ran from it and when I did try to approach it, I went about it wrong, became discouraged, bored, lazy, and finally unacceptable. But what do I do now? I don’t know. Hang myself?


I’ve thought about that for years, I may do that. Hope the state executes me? That’s more acceptable and easier than suicide. But they haven’t executed anybody here since 1963 (just about the last year for legal executions anywhere). What do I do, rot in prison? Growing old and bitter and eventually work this around in my mind to where it reads that I’m the one who’s getting fucked around, that I’m just an innocent victim of society’s bullshit? What do I do? Spend a life in prison searching for the God I’ve wanted to know for such a long time? Resume my painting? Write poetry? Play handball? Eat my heart out for the wondrous love you gave me that I threw away Monday nite because I was so spoiled and couldn’t immediately have a white pickup truck I wanted? What do I do? We always have a choice, don’t we?


I’m not asking you to answer these questions for me, Angel, please don’t think that I am. I have to make my own choice. But anything you want to comment on or suggest, or say, is always welcome.


God, I love you, Nicole.

Amanda's speech in court: (translated from Italian by PMF)


...It would happen sometimes that someone would propose a subject to discuss among us, everyone giving their opinion. I liked to followed these discussions but I was uncomfortable about whether I should participate directly, because I'm not talented for discussions. Often I don't succeed in expressing my convictions, at least verbally right at the moment. In fact, of all my friends, I'm the weakest for this. That's why, jokingly, my friend would usually jump on this, that my character was so peace-loving, and would challenge me with a little sentence: “Stand up for yourself Poindexter”, which means “Defend yourself, grind” [secchiona=someone who studies too hard, too serious]. It was a joke. And inevitably, either I would answer, but the answer coming out of my mouth would get all twisted incomprehensible...incomprehensibly around itself, or, I just didn't succeed in answering at all, because my mind would get blocked and my tongue would get all stuck. I couldn't do the thing that my friend often asked me to do, which was to defend myself. We have to imagine [Figuriamoci se io...not easy to render in English: maybe “You can imagine”] that I'm the weakest person in this room for expressing myself. That's why I ask for patience, because all this that I've prepared are the things that I didn't succeed in saying to you yet. Or better, I find myself in front of you for the second time, but these are the things that I would like to have said already. I ask you for patience because there have been opportunities to speak, but I was of few words. I believe that often words didn't come to me, because I never expected to find myself here, condemned for a crime I didn't do. In these three years, I've learned your language, and I've seen how the procedure goes, but I've never gotten used to this broken life. I still don't know how to face all this [3:00] if not just by being myself, who I've always been, in spite of the suffocating awkwardness. I was wrong to think that there are right or wrong places and moments to say important things. Important things have to be said, and that's all.


The only thing I am really sorry about now is that there are people to whom I should turn, who are not here, but I hope my words will reach them, because I am either locked in prison, or I'm here. And...I'm here. To the family and dear ones of Meredith, I want to say that I'm so sorry that Meredith is not here any more. I can't know how you feel, but I too have little sisters, and the idea of their suffering and infinite loss terrifies me. It's incomprehensible, it's unacceptable, what you're going through, and what Meredith underwent. [Long pause] I'm sorry all this happened to you and that you'll never have her near you, where she should be. It's not just and never will be. If you're not alone when you're thinking of her, because I'm thinking of you, I also remember Meredith, [5:00] and my heart bleeds for all of you. Meredith was kind, intelligent, nice and always available. She was the one who invited me to see Perugia, with her, as a friend. I'm grateful and honored to have been able to be in her company and to have been able to know her.


Patrick? I don't see you. But, I'm sorry. I'm sorry, because I didn't want to wrong you. I was very naïve and really not courageous, because I should have been able to endure the pressure that pushed me to hurt you. I didn't want to contribute to all that you suffered. You know what it means to have unjust accusations imposed on your skin. You didn't deserve what you went through. I hope you'll succeed in finding your peace.


Meredith's death was a terrible shock for me. She was my new friend, a reference point for me here in Perugia. But she was killed. [7:00] Because I felt an affinity towards her, suddenly, in her death, I recognized my own vulnerability. I clung above all to Raffaele, who was a source of reassurance, consolation, availability and love for me. I also trusted the authorities carrying out the investigation, because I wanted to help render justice for Meredith. It was another shock to find myself accused and arrested. I needed a lot of time to accept that reality, of being accused, and redefined unjustly. I was in prison, my photo was everywhere. Insidious, unjust, nasty gossip about my private life circulated about me. Living through this experience has been unacceptable for me. I have trusted above all to the hope that everything will be arranged as it should have been, and that this enormous error about me will be recognized, and that every day that I spend in a cell and in court is one day nearer to my liberty. This is my consolation, in the darkness, that lets me live without despairing, doing my best to continue my life as I always have, in contact with my dear friends and my family, dreaming about the future. [9:06]


Now, I am unjustly condemned, and more aware than ever of this hard and undeserved reality. I still hope for justice, and dream about a future. Even if this experience of three years weighs me down with anguish and fear, here I am, in front of you, more intimidated than ever, not because I'm afraid or could ever be afraid of the truth, but because I have already seen justice go wrong. The truth about me and Raffaele is not yet recognized, and we are paying with our lives for a crime that we did not commit. He and I deserve freedom, like everyone in this courtroom today. We don't deserve the three years that we already paid, and we certainly don't deserve more. I am innocent. Raffaele is innocent. We did not kill Meredith. [10:54] I beg you to truly consider that an enormous mistake has been made in regard to us. No justice is rendered to Meredith or her dear ones by taking our lives away and making us pay for something we didn't do. I am not the person that the prosecution says I am, not at all. According to them, I'm a dangerous, diabolical, jealous, uncaring and violent girl. Their hypotheses depend on this. But I've never been that girl. Never. The people who know me are witnesses of my personality. My past, I mean my real past, not the one talked about in the tabloids, proves that I've always been like this, like I really am, and if all this is not enough, I ask you, I invite you, I ask you to ask the people who have been guarding me for three years. Ask them if I have ever been violent, aggressive or uncaring in front of the suffering that is part of the broken lives in prison. Because I assure you that I'm not like that. I assure you that I have never resembled the images painted by the prosecution. [13:00] How could it be possible that I could be capable of achieving the kind of violence that Meredith suffered? How could it be possible that I could throw myself like that at the opportunity to hurt one of my friends? [?] such a violence, as though it were more important and more natural than all my teaching, all my values, all my dreams and my whole life? All this is not possible. That girl is not me. I am the girl that I have always shown myself to be and have always been. I repeat that I also am asking for justice. Raffaele and I are innocent, and we want to live our lives in freedom. We are not responsible for Meredith's death, and, I repeat, no justice is accomplished by taking our lives away. [Whispers: “okay”] Um, thank you 

12 comments:

Patrick King said...

CD-Host thank you for a thought provoking if unsettling edition.

After hearing Amanda's speech in Italian on the internet, I read the content in English on one of the cause pages on or about Dec 9. I was very moved by her remarks, as I guess was Judge Hellmann.

I wrote Amanda a letter that day, and told her, even taking into account that she was fighting for her life, it was still the most moving speech I'd heard by an American in recent memory. That it was given in flawless Italian added to her accomplishment.

I shudder to think of the minds of those who walked out while she spoke, or who have since mocked her remarks as lies. If there's mendacity in that speech, in what is there truth?

I believe that Amanda Knox was a unique personality before any of this happened to her. But this ordeal has been a baptism of fire that has taken a gifted person and empowered her with a thirst for justice that we will all feel in the future when she regains her freedom.

Everest said...

Gary Gilmore like Amanda Knox. Only The Shadow knows, we're the Shadow and you are the light, Mr. Young Host seeing good and evil, 5foot2eyes of blue.

Blink your owl eyes. Wise old owl, You in the dark. Mouse running scared, he's a goner. foxy's pigeon diary. Falcon even better. Shadow explains surface only. Freud tip of the iceberg, dead in the water. Amanda floats on this Titanic. Kokomani knows more than both of them. Toto is a scholar compared to Marie (aka the sly shrewd Fox) Pace. Pen name city, tell Bruce Willis to get in here graphic novel time, comic book time. Ah ha! We got Seattle on the line, Curt long gone, he slipped on Edda's tears. Why you cry pretty Mama, she ain't bad, CD-Host love her.

Philomena Puss 'n Boots with Spanish accent, it's all gonna work out. Windows in Perugia, like Bill Gates. Open rich like oil well, like Petrolio he got murdered too, a queer, a poet.

Someone walks on water fourth watch of the night. One crisis dissolves another.

CD-Host, you picked right color for Foxy (blood red), right color Gary (green), he grew.

Gilmore was victim of a cruel and unreasonable father.

He was closer to God at the firing squad/ no living death, jailhouse squalor mean halfwits, vice every day. You become cruel as tormentors.

Catholic priest gave last rites, may the Lord be with you... "and with your spirit."

Jehovah gives right to State kill evil men, which is not murder.

Let us denounce a murderess with cutthroat boyfriend.!!!!!!! She is not mute. Where you king of the world with Kate Winslett on Titanic. Ship is mask of decency. But the water came in. Air needed, not water. Air.

I know, I know, you think Foxy's innocent, bystander. What is Foxy's culpability, you CD-Host? You dancing in red shoes, her dance. She don't love you.

"Great aim of women: to inspire love"..she inspire hate, lust
Why you slammin churches discipline their flock? stay out. their business, not spread reproach before nonbeliever to mock.

You believer, Christian. Foxy not saved. Padre Pio help Raf, let God do it.

Animal in tree, look down, squirrel du printemps, what you see? Yesterday same as today, war, men go off. Men fight. who who Owl fly away.

CD-Host said...

Hello Evert welcome to the blog. I suppose you are from PMF?

Gary Gilmore like Amanda Knox.

No the point was actually the opposite, that they are very unlike.

Gilmore was victim of a cruel and unreasonable father. He was closer to God at the firing squad/ no living death, jailhouse squalor mean halfwits, vice every day. You become cruel as tormentors.

Maybe. Hard to know. I think Gilmore liked the control. As someone who was pushing for execution rather than clemency he was able to talk down to the board of prisons, become a celebrity....


Jehovah gives right to State kill evil men, which is not murder.

True.

Let us denounce a murderess with cutthroat boyfriend.!!!!!!! She is not mute.

I don't think she's a murderess, nor does she have a cutthroat boyfriend. And she's at least partially mute since:

a) If she speaks the jury holds it against her and punishes her.
b) Mignini has already sanctioned her with additional charges when she attempted to defend herself.

I know, I know, you think Foxy's innocent, bystander. What is Foxy's culpability, you CD-Host? You dancing in red shoes, her dance. She don't love you.

Everest. She doesn't know me. She doesn't know of me. She doesn't love me? What a weird thing to say, what could I want from a 23 year old?

I'm impressed with her. That's she has endangered her life to fight for justice. That rather than cave to Mignini she's going to end up helping the Il Popolo della Libertà (Berlusconi's party) expose the corruption of the Partito Democratico (ruling party of Umbria) and their judiciary. Umbria (where Perugia is) was a communist strong hold.

The economist has run articles on the problems with Italian justice on the civil side. Amanda may end up exposing the problems on the criminal side globally and induce reforms. Just as the Central Park Jogger case is doing in the United States.

"Great aim of women: to inspire love"..she inspire hate, lust.

Really? She seems to inspire the best in people. A desire to come together for a common cause to help out other people with no desire for compensation. She inspires a desire for justice. She inspires a willingness to correct but not to hate.

And lust? I have yet to see her appear in any fanfick sort of porn. She's related to as a daughter or a friend not a lover.

Why you slammin churches discipline their flock? stay out. their business, not spread reproach before nonbeliever to mock.

Read the site. I slam improper processes. I encourage reproach where it is warranted. I encourage churches to engage in discipline in ways that will be above reproach. So they don't find themselves on the defense when their actions are exposed.

Harvey said...

CD-Host,

I don't know who to pity more, Patrick King or you. Him writing Knox letters in prison after reading this garbage and hailing three day old moldy egg salad as gourmet fare, puhlease. Poindexter, grind, joke, conviction, twisted...some lovely opening images for "the most moving speech...by an American in recent history."

Half an hour of preening and cooing before an audience, waffling and barely getting to the point of "I did not kill Meredith Kercher, I'm innocent." One would think that might be more important than a discourse on "people who are not here" that she wants to speak to. Not impressed. And as usual Meredith the dead woman takes a backseat. It's typical of Foxpath that the last sentence in her first rambling paragraph is that she is determined to remain herself, her old core unfazed self, despite how awkward it comes across. Real progress. This is my stupidity and I'm sticking to it.

And you, CD-Host, lamenting how the Fox has endangered her life to fight for justice. Yeah, right, like any other perp caught in the act and wriggling to free himself, lovely ideological struggle. All the grandiosity of a kid on Nanny 911 fleeing from naughty chair. Heroic struggle indeed. She's a lawless killer who endangered a friend girl's life and only did that bolstered with Dutch courage and two ludicrous males.

Everest sounds whacked but his crosseyed dog sees clearer than you and King. Gilmore a control freak, Amanda goes one better, she's got men like you pegged for easy targets. Gilmore truly repented of his evil deeds and wanted real punishment, a merciful death which is justice plus mercy. Amanda's just a spiteful liar, still hoping to subdue justice with a little help from her friends like she did Meredith.

CD-Host said...

Harvey --

You are sorta assuming what you are trying to prove here. You are assuming she's guilty. The point of this post is that she doesn't write like someone who is guilty. The point of other posts are holes in the prosecution's case. And the point of other websites is that the evidence contradicts her finding of guilt.

And yes I think a belief in a judicial system where:
a) judges have to rule on the facts not make them up
b) prosecutors have the burden of proof
c) police misconduct is handled via. acquittal

are all worthwhile idealogical struggles. I don't know why the Amanda was able to draw to herself a mass movement. But she has.

Paul said...

CD-Host,

Thank you for wonderfully thoughtful words and for suffering fools with grace and patience. Like you, I am not from Seattle and have no connection to Amanda Knox or her family. But I do have a doctorate and two masters degrees and have done research for a living all my life, and I am morally certain that Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito had nothing to do with this horrible crime.

The plain fact is it is no longer intellectually respectable to maintain a belief in their guilt If you look closely at the evidence--that is the statements, the witnesses, and the physical evidence--you readily see that the defense has responded to every aspect of the defense case in a way that is not only plausible and convincing.

I believe that Pratillo Hellman is an intelligent man who is worthy to be called a judge. Expect a full acquittal sooner rather than later.

wald1900 said...

So much of this case is about minutiae like CCTV time stamps, the disposition of lamps, mysteries of windowslog revealed and the likely reception range of towers relaying cell phone calls a half a world away. In focusing on the details, important though they are, it becomes easy to forget that they are details in service of a story about human beings. Amanda Knox’s voice, the confidence, the tremor, the language (both literal and figurative), the evolving maturity that has not, despite everything she’s endured, soured into cynicism; these are details too. Your post did a nice job of capturing a humanity here that, at its core, is the real reason why so many “regular folks” have become fluent in the language of LCN DNA and now have strong opinions on the importance of clinical hygiene when processing a crime scene.

CD-Host said...

Hi Paul hi Wald1900 --

Glad you liked. Paul I agree with you, the argument for guilt is simply intellectual dishonest. You can see that by listening to guilters, they have to ignore the case and focus on patting each other on the back for juvenile clique antics.

Wald, I agree. Its the attraction to those two as people. As well as my general desire to see standards raised across the board. What happened to Amanda is sadly common. We were just on IIP talking about Derek Bentley a case where he got pardoned in 1998, 45 years after he was hung. And I'm sure if people were objecting to the forensics then, which showed Sidney Miles died by friendly fire, they heard about Miles' widow and how protecting Bentley was disrespectful to her... Instead England's justice system was tarnished.

Its time that the people who do know about LCN DNA professionally start trying to build a better system.




In the end I like how categorical Hayden was in her last interview, "Amanda is not a threat to society".

halides1 said...

CDHost,

A very fine job of statement analysis.

Vera Keil said...

I agree about Gilmore wanting control. That is the sociopath pattern. Like Ted Bundy, who to the last day of his life played with the police, making them think he would tell them about all the murders he'd committed, then refusing at the end. Anything for attention and control.

Amanda's speech is heartbreaking. Over my years as an educator I've read thousands of essays by young people. I fancy I know the language of truth and lies, but who can say that for sure.

I actually don't see, CD-host, how you can imagine any scenario in which she was involved. Her type of character would not let her hide it if she had been. That's my analysis.

Elisa Scaccia said...

Knox is guilty and every Italian seems to recognise what every American doesn't. She is complicitous if not absolutely guilty of the actual crime. Her behaviour simply was not the behaviour of someone whose roommate and supposed friend had just been brutally violated and murdered.

And just what was the thing about some black guy being guilty all about? Diversion? It backfired for her in the face of us (seemingly) more knowing Italian citizens. Americans mull over the innocence of their evil citizens and very often let them go free. (Casey Anthony, for example).

I am Italian from Italy and Amanda's Italian was not at all remarkable, rather she was coached with the speech and required a translator to help her in court.

I am always shocked at how innocent the violent Americans believe they are - especially when it comes to females. But us Italians know that where the Americans go, violence always follows. It's in your blood and as I am sure Amanda would even tell you if she weren't so very deceptive; it's better to hold to the truth and own up to the fact you're a horrid, harsh and ugly society.

CD-Host said...

Hello Elisa.

Her behaviour simply was not the behaviour of someone whose roommate and supposed friend had just been brutally violated and murdered.

No her behavior was the behavior of someone who lived in shared housing, who was falling in love and enjoying herself while a friendly acquaintance died. She also seemed a bit immature, not sure how to handle it. Immature poor handling of complex situations is not uncommon in 20 year olds.

I'm sure you've lived in apartment complexes where people died and you were mostly unaware of it.

And just what was the thing about some black guy being guilty all about? Diversion?

The police saw suspicious text messages from Patrick Lumumba to Amanda Knox. No one disputes who brought him into the conversation.

But us Italians know that where the Americans go, violence always follows. It's in your blood and as I am sure Amanda would even tell you if she weren't so very deceptive; it's better to hold to the truth and own up to the fact you're a horrid, harsh and ugly society.

During the last 3 centuries the USA and Europe have existed side by side. The USA has had 1 nasty internal war. You've had about a dozen and 3 that are far worse than even the American civil war. I'd say Europeans probably don't get to lecture Americans about violence "in our blood". Besides Italians are about 6% of the USA population, so I'd be cautious about blood comparisons.