Not the world

By June 10, 2023Society, US Politics

I have written about the insanely murderous gun laws in the United States a couple of times, as the problem they create only seems to worsen1,2. More recently, I also wrote about the fact that the US seems to be a more violent nation than Australia, if you measure it by the rate of homicides per capita3.

The US is also a ‘less travelled’ nation. Back in 1990, only 4% of Americans had passports. In 1997, that had grown to 15%. In recent years. By 2007, that proportion had increased to 27% and by 2017 it was 42%. At that time, 66% of Canadians and 76% of UK citizens had one4. In 2019-2020, 57% of Australians had passports5.

The reason I tried to find out this stuff was because of a quote I saw in a BBC article about gun violence in the US which seemed to demonstrate the lack of awareness by Americans of how bad the US is compared to other countries. Five years ago, Ms Lori Alhadeff’s three children went to school, but only two made it home. A teenage gunman shot and killed 17 people at a high school in Parkland, Florida, including Ms Alhadeff’s 14-year-old daughter Alyssa. After the shooting, she ordered bulletproof backpacks for her two sons, determined to do everything she could not to lose another child6.

Since the 2018 Parkland shooting in which Ms Alhadeff’s daughter died, 120 people have been killed in school shootings since 2018. In 2022, there were 51 school shootings—more than double the numbers for 2018 and 2019, which both saw 24 such incidents. In 2022, school shootings hit a record, with 40 people killed7,8. So far in 2023, there have been 15 school shootings in which 24 people have died8. One of the parts of the BBC story which surprised me was that Ms Alhadeff said: “Unfortunately, it’s not if another school shooting is going to happen, but when. This is the world that we live in”.6

While I understand she may have been speaking metaphorically, referring to her ‘world’, this problem with children being shot in school is not one that other western nations endure, it is the nation in which she lives.



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