There’s a picture going around the internet claiming that the United States is 3rd in the world for homicides. Once again Snopes.com is our friend:
(Snopes.com) Statistics compiled by the World Bank for the most recent year available (2012) placed the United States well down the list, behind dozens of other countries, in the rate of intentional homicides. Likewise, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s (UNDOC) study on intentional homicides places the United States as 110th on a list of countries ranked (from highest to lowest) by intentional homicide rate. If we considered only the absolute number of murders (and not the murder rate), the United States would rank somewhat high among all the countries in the world, but the U.S. would still only be eighth (not third) on that list, and using an absolute number for this form of comparison is a very poor metric. (The United States is the world’s third-largest country in terms of population, so all other factors being equal, one would expect the U.S. to have the third-highest number of murders for that reason alone.)
Broadly, the ten countries with the highest murder rates in the world are Honduras, Venezuela, Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala, Jamaica, Swaziland, Saint Kitts and Nevis, South Africa, and Colombia, while the United States doesn’t crack the top hundred.
But, but, but……. it’s on the internet, it fits my world view, so it must be true! It’s just gots to be true.
From Political Animal:
Frankly, that reaction is getting more than a little tiresome no matter what one’s religious beliefs might be. When terrorists used airplanes as missiles against the United States in 2011, we didn’t just pray for the victims: we changed our entire airline security system, spent billions on a new homeland security bureaucracy, and invaded not one but two countries at gigantic cost to life and treasure. When the Ebola virus threatened to break out in the United States we didn’t pray for deliverance from the plague; we went into a collective public policy and media frenzy to stop it from spreading further. When earthquakes prove our building standards are inadequate to save lives, we don’t beg the gods to avert catastrophe and pray for the victims; we spend inordinate amounts of [money] to retrofit so it doesn’t happen again.
On every major piece of public policy in which lives are taken needlessly, we don’t limit ourselves to empty prayers for the victims. We actually do something to stop it from happening again.
But not when it comes to gun proliferation. On that issue we are told that nothing can be done, and that all we can do is mourn and pray for the murdered and wounded, even as we watch the news every day for our next opportunity to grieve and mourn and pray again–all while sitting back and watching helplessly.
I’ve heard and read any number of times that with God anything is possible. How than, is it not possible to do something about the killing of innocent people because of guns? And don’t give me that bullshit about people kill, not guns. Guns were designed to be efficient killing machines. If that logic escapes you, then go back to your booze while beating your fist on the bar, because I’ve got better things to do than argue with a brain dead chem-zombi. And if you don’t drink I’ll not argue with a religo-zombi. Both are dead to the world around them.
Praying for God to do something is laziness. He’s given us paths. Those who’ve made the effort to get into positions of power are just too chicken shit to actually walk them. They are too worried about not getting their money from the (wholly owned and operated by the gun manufacturing lobby) NRA to actually do their job and protect their constituents.
Cross-posted at The Agonist.