It’s been less than three weeks since the Dark Knight Rises movie theater massacre in Aurora, Colorado committed by alleged gunman James Holmes. The shooting has been called the largest mass shooting in U.S. history, killing 12 and injuring 59.
Then only 16 days later, another gunman named Wade Michael Page opened fire at an Oak Creek, Wisconsin Sikh Temple, killing 6 and injuring a police officer.
In the midst of these two major shootings happening in such a short span of time, there is no foreseeable end to the heinous violence in America. Jared Loughner, the man who gunned down 6 people – including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords – and injured 13 in Tuscan, Arizona is once again newsworthy over developments in his court case that come at a terribly coincidental time.
To take things from bad to worse, which is an understatement, two men have been arrested since the movie theater massacre for alleged attempts to recreate the hell-on-earth scene from July 20.
So what the hell is going on; is America just more violent today? In fact, it isn’t. Statistics show that America is the safest it has been in 40 years, homicide-wise. However, the daily occurances in America do not reflect remote safety and peace.
That is why the US is still atop the list of industrialized nations in homicide rate. For a country that constantly tries to remind the rest of the world that we are the best, this should not be the case.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime displayed a report showing the annual intentional homicides count per 100,000 people along with the total annual homicide total amount, by each country. Although the United States numbers have been on the decline since their homicide rate high in the early ’90s, of 9.8 per 100,000, our rate is still much too high for an industrialized nation.
Here is a list of developed nations displaying the country names, homicide rate per 100,000, and total homicides, beginning with the USA.
United States (2010): 4.2 (homicides per 100,000 people) / 12,996 (homicides in total)
Canada (2010): 1.6 / 554
China (2010): 1.0 / 13,410
Japan (2010): 0.4 / 506
Australia (2010): 1.0 / 229
France (2009): 1.1 / 682
Germany (2010): 0.8 / 690
Italy (2010): 0.9 / 529
Greece (2010): 1.5 / 176
Spain (2010): 0.8 / 390
Portugal (2010): 1.2 / 124
Sweden (2010): 1.0 / 91
Norway (2010): 0.6 / 29
Austria (2010): 0.6 / 53
Switzerland (2010): 0.7 / 52
Ireland (2010): 1.2 / 54 total
India (2012): 3.4 / 40,752
The statistics show that the United States has a much higher rate than every major developed nation mentioned on this list. The only country here that comes close to the Unites States’ 4.2 based on murder rate is India at 3.4; and they do not have the same rich technological and economic advantage that the US and Western Europe have had throughout history.
The only countries on this list that had a higher total of homicides are China and India. However each of those countries have over one billion people, compared to the United States’ approximate population of around 300 million. China and India are the world’s two most populated countries, which explains why they had more homicides.
Today, several sources say that Chicago has a higher homicide rate than Kabul, which is a city located in Afghanistan where US troops are currently stationed.
To prove that point, emphasizing the violence in Chicago and the US as a whole; the homicide rate of Afghanistan and Iraq from 2008 was 2.4 and 2.0 respectively, according to the same UNODC report. In 2008, the US had a rate of 4.6; meaning that people were more than twice as likely to have been murdered in the US than either Afghanistan or Iraq. Also the total homicide counts from 2008 were not very close; as there were 14,180 in the US and roughly 1,300 combined between Afghanistan and Iraq.
Americans paint a picture in their head that shows those foreign countries as being backward, radical, violent, anti-American terrorists. But the numbers say that American should pick up their mental brush and start looking in their own backyard. Once again ‘numbers don’t lie,’ and they’re saying that too many people are being murdered in the self-proclaimed “greatest country in the world.”