Without delving into all the facets of Southern society and their various strengths and faults the overall view was that civility was preferable to some sort of recreation of the Old West. Now there were individuals who were exceptions to this viewpoint, but a seemingly casual visit by a reputable law enforcement figure was usually enough to quash any nasty proto-anarchical tendencies forming. However, decent and mostly sane behavior could usually be traced back to how a person was brought up.
From "The State" newspaper:
Is shooting a bystander in South Carolina someone else's fault?