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The United States of Violence

August 7, 2012
The Daily Mining Gazette

To the editor:

An article in the Aug. 6 edition of Time magazine showed that from 1976 through 2010, the United States has averaged nearly 20 mass shootings per year.

It has been reported that between 8,000 and 9,000 Americans are killed by people with guns every year. That's 80,000 to 90,000 just over the last decade.

Where is the outrage over this slaughter? Why have we become so immune to this carnage?

Some people claim that violent video games and movies desensitize people already on the edge. People in Japan and Canada watch the same violent videos and movies and yet have a very small problem with gun deaths.

Some claim that it is because we have too many guns in our society. But Switzerland has as many or more guns per capita and Switzerland's murder rate is very low.

There seems to be a climate of fear in our country. Many of our politicians and others continued the drum beat of fear by warning that communism may take over the world, hence the decades-long cold war. Now the fear is that Islam will take over the world; our religion and way of life was in peril.

Added to this were the preachers ranting about sin and self-loathing and the need for redemption. Quite a psychological mix to overcome.

The United States is the most religious of the western countries and is responsible for more than 80 percent of all the gun deaths. European countries have largely thrown off the shackles of religion and embraced a largely humanist way of life. Their crime rates are low and they are happier by many indices. They have tried to develop a more cooperative and nurturing economic system to take care of all their citizens.

This, in stark contrast to an excessively individualistic, greedy, semi-laissez faire system that exists in the United States.

Capitalism isn't going to go away, but we can ameliorate the harmful effects of capitalism with appropriate regulations, social programs and the government being the employer of last resort.

The more humane societies in the world tend to be social-democracies. In a recent analysis reported in Newsweek magazine, Finland was declared the best country in which to live, followed by Switzerland and Sweden. The United States came in eleventh-four behind Canada.

Many people claim the United States is a Christian country. "And Jesus wept."


Bakersfield, Calif.



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