Six horses escaped from someone’s corral near my friend’s home in rural Utah when we were visiting there Sunday. They ended up near his house, so he called the sheriff’s office and they arrived quickly.
I lived in Los Angeles for thirty years and was struck by the difference in how the sheriffs responded. They were friendly, relaxed, and it was clear that, unlike in too many big cities, that the civilian was not automatically considered to be the enemy. What a difference.
My friend DJ (also an LA escapee) said, yeah, out here the sheriff assumes you are friendly until proven otherwise, an attitude which is the opposite of L.A.P.D. Moreover, I could have walked over to them holding a (completely legal) handgun and they wouldn’t have cared. Do that in L.A. and you’re probably dead.
In smaller towns and rural areas, personal relationships are perhaps more primary, because you deal with the same people all the time. Maybe this helps create more civility and friendliness. Or perhaps it’s a function of population density. Jam too many people into the same space and they start getting suspicious of each other.
One of the real divides in this country is rural vs. city. Neither side really understands the other.