I think it’s time we embraced ourselves as one of the nuttiest and most violent countries on earth. I’m not lambasting America. I love this country, its people, its natural wonders, its diversity. But we are one of the most peculiarly violent countries in the world.
Whenever some crazy, power-drunk human being takes the life of another, the act occupies the darkest region on the spectrum of human behavior. So whether it’s Southeast Asian genocide, Sub-Saharan African tribal strife, Balkan neighbor-on-neighbor warfare, or a slow, persistent dirge of public shootings, each of these violent characteristic belong in that same dark region.
It’s befuddling. Because it raises the question: what about all of the normal folks who are stuck between or alongside the unfit murderous lot and their victims? Do they lack the collective will and power to stop the violence? Did they have such will and power to prevent it in the first place?
When many American’s think of the Sudan, or Cambodia at the time of Pol Pot, or 1990s Yugoslavia, we shudder at the thought of what life must be like living in such a violent, turbulent and unpredictable place. We thank god we live in a place that is free from such senseless killi—
Oh wait. We can’t say that anymore.
The fact that our trend toward massacre and public violence affects such a relatively small portion of the American population allows it to live for most of us only as a shocking headline, or a gut-wrenching cable news story. It’s only partly real. Which is exactly how these other spates of world violence have lived for us and galvanized our perception of these places and points in history.
But make no mistake. We’re there now. It’s our way of life. And we deserve the perception that a great many others in other parts of the world have of us. Scale and scope aside, we have a rightful place among the most peculiarly violent places in the world.