I’ve lived overseas for a combined 8 years of my life, something I’m pretty sure has been mentioned before once or twice. Each place that I lived outside of actual war zones were significantly more peaceful than anywhere I’ve lived in the United States. Granted, I’ve never lived in a place unofficially run by cartels or religious zealots, these were mostly “first world” countries. On paper, the US is not run by cartels or religious zealots either, though the GOP seems set on changing that quickly. As a result, I’m already thinking 10 years ahead to where I’d rather live in retirement and what languages I need to brush up on. 

animal animal portrait animal world annoyed
Photo by Pixabay on

Let the stats begin

As of this writing, there have been 128 days in the year but yesterday marked the 197th, 198th and 199th mass shooting of the year. Any amount of mass shootings is horrible, to have more of these events than elapsed days in the year says we have a serious problem. I have touched on this problem before, and anyone paying attention in this country is aware of it as well. My feeling in this moment is that I can no longer acknowledge the flaws and fall back on “this is the best thing smoking” when I know better. Most of the folks that I’ve heard say that in the past have never lived outside of the United States, so they’re mostly relying on assumptions and marketing. Considering I have only lived in a couple of places outside of the States, in the capacity of a military member, even my opinion comes with an asterisk. According to this site, the U.S. is the only country where there is a yearly likelihood of a mass shooting.

I’m well aware that violence comes in many other forms besides mass shootings, but again, when adjusted for GDP, the United States is one of the most dangerous places to live in the developed world. Considering we have the “largest” economy on the planet, a seemingly higher standard of living, why on Earth are we so easily triggered (no pun intended). We are 3 times more likely to be victims of violent crime in the U.S. Compared to our northern neighbors, despite having an economy that is 12 times the size, and our population being slightly less than 10 times the size. Simply put, per capita, we have more money and more problems…Notorious BIG was right…kind of. 

Operating as designed

a pile of bullets
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on

The United States has an income inequality problem along with their gun problem. The land of opportunity is the least equitable of all of the major countries, with the U.K. slightly behind us. The major difference between these two countries…ding ding ding, the U.K. has very strict gun ownership laws. The U.K. changed its laws regarding firearms after one mass school shooting. The Dunblane massacre took place on March 13, 1996 killing 15 people, and by February of 1997 they completely changed their laws to prevent that from ever happening again. Meanwhile, in the United States, our first mass shooting was in 1949, some guy killed 13 people our last 7 were today and yesterday where another 27 people were injured and 15 people killed. The only thing that has happened with our gun laws is loosening in red states, tightening in blue states and absolutely nothing being done to address all the pertinent factors. 

Our job is improving the quality of life, not just delaying death

Robin Williams


This begs the question, from me at least, how can the quality of life be so great, when we don’t value life in the first place? This is when the “Pro Life” hypocrites usually step in and say why they’re anti-abortion, but that is a different matter altogether. Not to mention, those same folks are basically allowing a gun free for all, while also killing people via death penalty at an insane clip. How is it possible to have a high quality of life when you also need to walk outside armed for combat? Why have we as a country normalized this dysfunction? When September 11th happened, there was an immediate response regarding how our airports operate. Tighter, more invasive security checks, no tolerance for outside liquids or open containers and of course the ability to pay for a pre September 11th security experience withe TSA pre-check. 9/11 directly took the lives of 3,047 people, thousands more when you factor in the revenge mission sponsored by G Dubya and his band of idiots. Either way though, policies changed due to 9/11. That same year (2001) there were an additional 16,037 murders…yet not a damn thing was done to address that. During that senseless war between 2001 to 2012 we saw 192,193 murders stateside with nothing but de-regulation occurring to address the issue. 

It gets worse…obviously!

The decade following that saw an increase in murders as well, full reporting on that still pending. Just assuming the numbers only go up 1% (trying to be optimistic) that would put us at 389,355 murders since 9/11, or roughly the equivalent of the entire city of Arlington, Texas, or 25,000 more than the city of New Orleans. Likewise, since 2001 there have been a grand total of 12,947 murders in Canada. Even if you multiplied that by 10 (to account for population difference) it is still only 60% of the first decade of murders in the U.S. In the U.K there was a total of 13,901 murders in the same span, yet they are double the size of Canada and 1/5ththe size of the U.S. 

Why is it that as a culture, we are more comfortable seeing two men holding guns than holding hands

Ernest Gaines

I’ll chill for now

Yes, this whole post has been stats overload, but I’m simply wondering what our problem is here. Don’t get me wrong, I love where I’m from, and I’d much rather fix what’s broken than jump ship…but the issue is, not enough people recognize that we’re broken. Not enough people can accept that the U.S. is not the best country on the planet objectively, or subjectively. Not enough people are willing to give an honest assessment publicly for fear of being labeled a traitor or whatever. Trust me, I’ve been saying the same thing since I was in the military, I’ve received a lot of hateful responses to my opinions on the matter. My opinions have not changed much either. We as a collective need to strive for better, to effectively change the conditions we find ourselves in. Until we address income inequality, poverty, sexism, racism, education, gun control, civil and social liberties with an open mind and honesty, we’ll be a middling country to the developed world at best. At least that’s what our overall stats suggest.

Leave a Reply