“People thinking of going to the USA for business or tourists trips should think carefully about it given the statistical fact you are 15 times more likely to be shot dead in the USA than in Australia per capita per million people.”

Those are the words of former Australian deputy Prime Minister Tim Fische in response to the brutal and senseless killing of 23-year-old baseball player and recent USA transplant Christopher Lane. Of course, it goes without saying that all murder is brutal and senseless, but the story behind this particular story is extremely disturbing (if nothing else because a group of young teenagers decided to kill someone “just because”).

And he’s right.

The United States is becoming notorious for its shockingly high crime rate. The same way Americans look at Mexico say “be careful down there,” so does the rest of the world to USA travelers.

Consider these facts:

  • The USA has the highest gun-murder rate of any developed nation in the world.
  • Many of our cities have worse homicide rates than some of the poorest, undeveloped countries in the world.
  • One in three people in the U.S. know someone who has been shot (Goss, Kristin, “Disarmed: The Missing Movement for Gun Control,” Princeton University Press, 2006. p. 2).
  • On average, 32 Americans are murdered with guns every day and 140 are treated for a gun assault in an emergency room.
  • Every day on average, 51 people kill themselves with a firearm, and 45 people are shot or killed in an accident with a gun.
  • The U.S. firearm homicide rate is 20 times higher than the combined rates of 22 countries that are our peers in wealth and population.
  • A gun in the home is 22 times more likely to be used to kill or injure in a domestic homicide, suicide, or unintentional shooting than to be used in self-defense. Women are 17 times more likely to die in a domestic dispute if a gun is in the home.

This all comes off the heals of a near-massacre at an elementary school in Georgia, stopped, no less, by a secretary who talked a gunman armed with 500 rounds down during the middle of a standoff. This is less than a year after Sandy Hook, and just over a year since the Aurora theater massacre, in which a classmate of mine was shot in the face.  Not to diminish the other 11,000+ fatalities by homicide and 25,000+ fatalities by suicide with guns each year.

A gun culture in desperate need of salvation.