In school too I noticed subtle differences. Being the little shit I was - there were mitigating circumstances - even teachers not known for caning pupils caned me. With a plethora of teachers eager to beat my arse, I quickly noticed which were reluctant, those who did it without much thought, and the bastards who relished the task. I think one or two were trying to 'break' me. I never displayed any emotion when caned and always offered my hand afterwards.
My father made me shake hands after a beating, I suppose it was a 'no hard feelings, it needed to be done'. It was just the way my father and many of his background were, there was no malice, no emotion. I broke the rules and knew the price, I KNEW THE BOUNDARIES AND THE CONSEQUENCES FOR TRANSGRESSIONS. Kids today know the boundaries, but there are no consequences. What happened to those dreaded words "wait 'til your father gets home!", what's he going to do? Take their iPhone away for a couple of days?
I agree that in a perfect world there wouldn't be any need to smack a child. Unfortunately, in case you hadn't noticed, this world is far from perfect. I've looked at statistics but value them not at all. Statistics are just politicians' tools used to deceive. You can make statistics say almost anything that you want, and not be seen to be lying. I did a survey that suggests everybody on the planet likes me .....100%. Admittedly I only asked 5 close friends but hey, those are the stats and stats don't lie!
The main problem I have with corporal punishment is the abuse of power wielded by certain teachers / parents back in the day. Excessive punishment is unnecessary as well as being very wrong. Short, sharp, shock, is all that is required as a parent. At school a caning should be performed whilst adhering to strict guidelines, maybe even with a witness.
On the flip side, the problems with no corporal punishment are many, and not necessarily apparent. Anybody with an 'interesting' background will tell you it's not the punishment that is the worst, it's the waiting for it. The 'father gets home' or the 'my office after school' were the dreaded words for me. In reality I didn't care about canings, they were nothing to the beating I would get at home if they sent a letter instead. I was up early many a morning trying to intercept the post. It scared the crap out of most kids though.
I remember three of us stood outside the Headmaster's study waiting for the inevitable. I went first, the others seemed to think going last was best but I just wanted to be out of there. When I came out and the second kid went in, the third kid looked at me in wonder. "Why aren't you crying?" he asked. I just looked at him in disbelief. I would never give the bastards the satisfaction of them knowing they hurt me. It was different at home.
So you get the idea, caning at school was for most a deterrent. Detention didn't do anything except give me a chance to do homework so I could go straight out when I got home. It was the same with the police. One Bobby would cuff us round the ear when he caught us playing football on the road, it wasn't so bad. The worst thing was being taken home by a copper or them calling at my house. I'd certainly feel the belt then. Today most parents blindly take the side of their child over the police, what sort of example is that setting.
The connection is fear. Kids who haven't experienced pain are terrified of it and that is why so many carry knives. We've produced a generation of wimps that would rather stick a knife in someone than get a slap for being a twat. We were always squabbling as kids but never did the disputes get out of hand and almost all of us had a pen-knife (or Swiss army knife if you were really lucky) in our pre-teens. We used to whittle sticks to make sling arrows, play games of 'split the kipper' and the like, a penknife was an essential piece of kit as a kid. NOT ONCE DID ANY OF US USE ONE AS A WEAPON, nor even a threat of one.
The good old bad old days are all gone, very little from then lingers on.
There were mistakes and heartbreaks it's true. Jolly japes, scraps and scrapes, black and blue,
When all said and done, - preparing us from young for the torment to come.