“If Americans want to live the American dream, they should come to Denmark”
( Richard Wilkinson, Co-author of “The Spirit Level“. )
One of the things I like the best about America is your FIRST Amendment, and I have pointed to it in several articles, – this, for instance: “Crimethink” – the legacy of totalitarianism..“.
On the other hand, I don’t care that much for your SECOND Amendment, but, nevertheless, I have been following some of the heated and rather hysterical debates recently. One debate I saw was on CNN, hosted by Englishman Piers Morgan, and I gotta tell you this: I totally understand all Americans who’d like to grab this extremely arrogant Brit by his… and kick him the hell out ! – I’m saying so exclusively on the basis of his patronising attitude.., – what the man actually says is another story, and I probably agree with most..
That, however, is in no way going to stop me from being somewhat patronising myself.., so now that we’ve set that straight, let us procede..
It is understandable that the debates have been circling, above all, around the correlation of gun-ownership, i.e. number and calibre of guns, and homicide rates by country, but even so it appears to me as a narrowminded and superficial approach..
Now, I am not copying this here as an argument in favour of unlimited gun-ownership (!), – I just think it would be beneficial to widen our horizons a bit, i.e. take a look at overall wellbeing, and – not least – its roots..
I could talk at length about homogeneity, race, history, culture, religion, etc., as I believe these factors all play a role, but that would lead too far, and I have chosen here to focus on social ilnesses as a function of inequality.. – I will leave it up to you to draw your own conclusions from these charts I am going to present. I will also tell you – in short – what I think is the right remedy for curing these ilnesses, – see below charts.
Best insurance against future troubles: Child well-being ! – Anyone who disagrees ??
Apparently, that goes for the U.S. as well..
No, – correlation does not prove causation, – (I thought I’d say so before you did), – but what do you make of this.. :
– and this ?:
One more chart before I tell you what should be done..
the ability of individuals or groups to move within a social hierarchy with changes in income, education, occupation, etc. dictionary.reference.com/browse/social%20mobility )
Ok folks, make your own conclusions, – call these charts Communist propaganda or anything you like, but.. assuming they get a point or two across, what should be done to cure these social illnesses, including homicides, school-massacres..
When I was interviewed by Hank Pellissier for the article: Happiness, Freedom, Equality, Rudeness: Welcome to Denmark , he asked me this question:
Hank: How would you change the United States, to make it more egalitarian like Denmark?
First and foremost: a change of mentality—coming to terms with outdated models of who works and who cares for families. Then I would mandate, for starters: public childcare, higher minimum wage, more equal pay, more flexible work schedules for families, and redesigned family and medical work leave.
Denmark should invite over here a greater number of Americans—preferably of a Republican bent—to show those enemies of the state, extensive welfare, high taxation, etc. that there are many advantages in our system, not only for the poorest 10%, but also for the wealthy, in terms of mutual trust, lower crime rates, and so on.
I hear that these days a lot of women actually make more money than men, and I’m not sure to which extent models of who works and who cares for families are still outdated, but that would only make a stronger case for public childcare, for starters..
If you pressed me, I could no doubt be more patronising, but I think I’ll leave it at that. How many guns – and of which calibre – you should keep in your house is entirely your own business and I will not stick my nose into that.. , but, – on the other hand, I find it interesting to look to a country like Israel..
(Note: I am Danish, and I might as well have compared to Denmark, but I think Israel is rather more interesting, for obvious reasons.. ).
I’ve spent a couple of years in Israel – in the 70’ies – and I remember how you’d see people carrying guns everywhere, – e.g. in Kibbutzes, at busstops, – soldiers on their way to / from home. Anywhere I looked really. Most of these guns however, – all, probably, were in the hands of either soldiers or civilians with a license, and here comes the interesting part: Israel has – ( surprisingly perhaps), – rather strict gun laws. Incidentally, the Homicide rate is very low: 0.83 per 100.000 population (2008 ).
Again, make your own conclusions, but consider also the following, quoted from article in Jerusalem Post: Israeli gun control regulations ‘opposite of US’ :
Yaakov Amit, head of the Public Security Ministry’s Firearms Licensing Department:
“There is an essential difference between the two. In America the right to bear arms is written in the law, here it’s the opposite… only those who have a license can bear arms and not everyone can get a license.”
“- gun licenses are only given out to those who have a reason because they work in security or law enforcement, or those who live in settlements, where the state has an interest in them being armed”
- Anyone who fits the requirements, is over age 21 and an Israeli resident for more than three years, must go through a mental and physical health exam, then pass shooting exams and courses at a licensed gun range, as well as background checks by the Public Security Ministry.
- Once they order their firearm from a gun store, they are allowed to take it home with a one-time supply of 50 bullets.
- The gun owner must retake his license exam and testing at the gun range every three years.
- As of January, (2013), a new law will go into effect requiring gun owners to prove that they have a safe at home to keep their weapon in.
- there are about 170,000 privately-owned firearms in Israel, or enough for around one out of every 50 Israelis.
- approximately 2,500 people in the country have gun licenses for hunting, and they must first get approval from the Israel Nature and Parks Authority.
Apart from Israel’s strict gun-laws, what other reasons might explain the low Homicide-rate ?
Yaakov Amit says:
“the lack of mass shootings can be attributed to the country’s closely knit family structure, small size and intimacy and informality between strangers or the universal health care which makes mental health services available for all”.
“There is no full-auto Friday or Ladies night at the “Lahav” gun store in Tel Aviv, a store that bears little resemblance to its US counterparts“…
So, all is rose-red then.. ?
Not quite, according to gun-store owner (…) Yiftach Ben-Yehuda, 30, whose grandfather Yisrael opened the store – Israel’s oldest – with two friends in 1949:
“The problem is that the law makes it very difficult for the good people to get guns. The number of legal guns in recent years has gone to around 170,000, but there are a half a million illegal guns floating around the Arab sector, no one knows how many. There’s no reason someone who was a fighter pilot shouldn’t be able to get a license to carry a gun.”
So do I personally support strict gun-laws ? – You bet ! – Yet I’d say this:
It amounts to no more than treating the symptoms, and does not cure the disease !
- Report: U.S. life expectancy lowest among wealthy nations due to disease, violence (cbsnews.com)
- Violence plays role in shorter US life expectancy (newsobserver.com)
- U.S. gun sales hit a record high since Obama’s re-election (mcclatchydc.com)
- Comprehensive public health approach urged to curb gun violence in U.S. (mwoods228.wordpress.com)
- Geoff Johnson: Guns have no place in our classrooms (timescolonist.com)