To Perfect Imperfect America

I am a citizen of the greatest country in the world, the United States of America. It has achieved things no other nation has approached, and it has been particularly generous to me.

But it suffers from glaring flaws that I and other Americans must work to correct.

Until recently, I, like most white people, believed that racism was largely a thing of the past in the U.S. Then came a series of deaths of Black people at the hands of police. In the outrage that followed, I was shocked to learn that bias against Blacks is thriving. Blacks make up about 12.3 precent of the U.S. population, but police kill many more Blacks than Whites, covid-19 deaths are much higher among Blacks than Whites, and Blacks are twice as likely to be unemployed and earn 25 percent less than Whites. On average, Black men receive jail sentences 19.1 percent longer than white men convicted of the same crime. In short, racism is widespread in the U.S.

The second U.S. flaw that stands out is our devotion to guns. Gun ownership is part of our culture, going back to the days after the founding of our nation when we were expanding our frontiers. But those days have long since passed, and it’s time for us as a country to recognize and curb our destructive devotion to guns.

We have more guns than people in the U.S. We own 120.5 guns per 100 people. And we suffer 4.43 gun deaths per 100,000 people annually. According to Wikipedia, “In 2018, the most recent year for which data are available as of 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s  (CDC’s) National Center for Health Statistics reports 38,390 deaths by firearm, of which 24,432 were by suicide and 13,958 were homicides.”

Compare us with Canada. Where we own over 120 guns per 100 people, in Canada the figure is 34 guns per 100 people. We suffer 4.43 gun deaths per 100,000 people; Canada has 1.94.

The same ratio appears everywhere throughout the world—the more guns in the hands of citizens, the more gun deaths.

More tomorrow.

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