America: Land of the Free, Home of the Violent?

After the most recent mass shooting on Monday and the U.S. Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., Americans are left wondering why they are more likely than any other nation to die violent deaths. Despite the increase of mass shootings in the United States, statistics show that the U.S. is becoming less violent.

The NY Daily News reports that the United States has the highest rate of any developed nation. Reports say that the biggest contributor to homicide rates in the U.S. is the widespread possession of guns that are stored in homes. In the 2007 Small Arms Survey, there are an average of 88 guns to every 100 people in the U.S. The U.S.

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“With 4.5 percent of the world population, accounts for about 40 percent of the planet’s civilian firearms, said Dr. Garen Wintemute, of the University of California, Davis, Medical Center,” reported the Huffington Post. “Adjusting for population, the U.S. death rate by firearms — which includes homicides, suicide and accidents — was 10.2 per 100,000 people in 2009, according to the Coalition for Gun Control. The closest developed country was Finland, with a firearms death rate of 4.47 per 100,000 people in 2008, less than half that of the U.S. rate. In Canada, the rate was 2.5 per 100,000 people in 2009. In the United Kingdom, the 2011 rate was 0.25 per 100,000 people,” continues the report.

Of course, there are countries with comparable firearm death rates, but they include countries such as Mexico and Colombia. These countries, where drug crimes and poverty are common, are not a model that the United States should be comfortable imitating.

Gun violence in America has become a more prevalent issue as the number of mass shootings have increased. According to The Washington Post, of the twelve deadliest shootings in U.S. history, beginning with the Camden, New Jersey shooting in 1949 where 13 people died, half of them have occurred in the last six years. It leads us to believe that America has become more violent as time progresses.

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Even as gun violence in the U.S. continues, its rates of assault without firearms are similar to those in Western Europe and Japan. Furthermore, Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker that violent behavior is decreasing. Statistics show that Americans aren’t more violent by nature despite the multitude of mass shootings.

Most Democrats think the answer to homicide rates in the United States is stricter gun control. More conservative representatives think that it is not the guns that are the problem, but the people owning them. Certain statistics link violent video games with gun violence, and still other people think that the media can be blamed for violence statistics.  It isn’t that America is more violent than ever, but that the media focuses on violent stories.

There may  not be a perfect answer to gun violence in America, but with five speeches from President Obama after mass shootings in the nation, it is clearly beomcing an unavoidable problem.

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One thought on “America: Land of the Free, Home of the Violent?

  1. Do you think instead of more gun control there maybe should just be more security? It kind of scares me that America is getting more and more violent. When you said statistics say violent video games and gun violence I wonder if there is a link with other entertainment such as horror and action movies?

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