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There's been lots of talk in the media about banning guns and so forth since the Colorado shooting. That's nonsense, even assuming we could collect every gun (and they likely outnumber American citizens) in this country, because the bad guys are certain to not turn in their weapons. But really, this is only a symptom.

Something is fundamentally wrong in the USA: Switzerland is 2nd in the world (next to us) in gun ownership, yet they have one of the lowest murder rates in the world, about 1/6 of ours. It's clearly not the guns that are the problem, but rather something about how our nation treats mental illness, deals with violence, engages in debate, and so much more.

We have - by a wide margin - the highest citizen-incarceration rate in the world. In the 1980s, we purge our mentally ill onto the streets. Ours is a fractured and sick nation.

Our culture is painfully divided between 1) fanatical religious types who feel it is God's will to do things like bomb healthcare providers, and 2) progressives who cannot even understand why the "followers of Jesus" - a man who preached love and understanding - can spout such hatred that even politicians running for high office feel they must say things they don't believe in order to get the vote of the radical right-wing. This only proves to the religous right that "teh leebrals" are wrong-headed. The two sides are incapable of talking to one another.

Meanwhile, we're imprisoning people left and right for such minor offenses as smoking pot three times. People with mental illness are not identified and treated. Poor folks live in desperate hopelessness where selling drugs is the only bright spot. And everyone else is so terrified of losing an income and health care that they remain wage-slaves to jobs they despise.

Solving those problems is HARD. The US doesn't seem to be a nation that has patience for long-term fixes; politically, our will is shorter than two years.

What can be done for our country? How can we cure our ills? We're doing it wrong, people.



Jul. 21st, 2012 08:15 pm (UTC)
I don't know,
and it's a chronic problem in the volunteer services.

In America, last time I checked, there were 2,200,000 firemen alone in the country. Of those 2.2 million, 200,000 were career firemen. I'm ignoring ambulance for this, because I don't have figures for it.

In NY state, there is a problem with recruiting folks to help with the fire departments, because "I don't have time." That's the most common answer I get. "I've got volley ball on Wednesdays." Wednesdays is our drill night. There is no good night for these folks to show up.

Then they tell us what a great job we do when we make a save, or scream when their insurance rates go up, because the area we live in isn't hydranted. But they don't show up, even for an open house, when we're trying to recruit folks to come around.

It's not the training requirements, its the "get off the couch" requirements that are stopping people from joining.

And we have no idea how to fix that.

Jul. 21st, 2012 08:26 pm (UTC)
Re: I don't know,
Amen, Hawk. Been there, done that (volunteer recruiting). I put in roughly those same kind of annual hours, if at different things. Those who give a damn and want to give back will find you, if you keep the word out. They may be few but they're worth it.

And of course, the ones who bitch the most are the ones least likely to get off their butts. It would cut into their whine time.