USA - A Laughingstock in the World
(Top Posts - Social/Legal - 021800)

This post, originally made February 18, 2000, covers issues
still burdening the conscience of America, in 2005.

All but two of the links in this article are no longer accessible
via the 'free' internet, unfortunately, though -if- one has the
time to search, this information may be accessible via other
websites ...

From an old article (August 26, 1999, link no longer avail-
able) at
-http://www.abcnews.go.com/sections/politics/DailyNews/creationism990826.html-

Excerpt: "Scientists Dismayed by Trend - Francisco Ayala,
a geneticist at the University of California, Irvine, said the
United States was making itself a laughingstock in the
world. 'If we don't teach our kids good science, they will
be handicapped later in a world that depends on science
and technology,' he said. 'I am disturbed at this political
trend. It is potentially terribly damaging to our children.' "

A few comments regarding the USA's standing in the
world:

One of the highest murder rates, one of the highest exe-
cution rates, one of the highest gun-toting rates, one of the
highest imprisonment rates, one of the highest crime rates,
one of the highest divorce rates, one of the highest anti-
evolution rates, one of the highest church attendance rates,
and one of highest christianity rates.


- - - - - - - - - - - - - United States - Imprisonment - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The Sentencing Project [link no longer available]
-http://www.sentencingproject.org/pubs/tsppubs/9030data.html-

Rates of Incarceration per 100,000 (1995):
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Russia ........ 690
United States . 600
Belarus ....... 505
Ukraine ....... 390
Latvia ........ 375
Lithuania ..... 360
Singapore ..... 287
Moldova ....... 275
Estonia ....... 270
South Africa .. 265


Percent Change in Incarceration Rates (1985-1995):
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
United States . +92 %
Netherlands ... +86 %
Spain ......... +75 %
Greece ........ +57 %
Portugal ...... +39 %
Sweden ........ +30 %
France ........ +27 %
Norway ........ +22 %
Belgium ....... +15 %
England/Wales . +11 %
Scotland ...... +10 %



- - - - - - - United States - Handgun Deaths/Death Penalty - - - - - - -

Gun Violence: An International Comparison [link no longer
available]
-http://www.gunfree.org/content/resources/resc_facts_intlcomparison.html-

...

o Thirty-five percent of households in the United States
possess at east one firearm, over three times the average
of other countries surveyed.

...

o The total firearm death rate in the United States in 1995
was 13.7 per 100,000 people, three times the average rate
among other responding countries, and the third highest,
after Brazil and Jamaica.

o In 1995, 1,225 people in the U.S. died from firearm
accidents. This figure is over three times higher than the
average rate of other responding countries.

o The U.S. had the highest firearm suicide rate of all the
countries surveyed, 7 per 100,000 people in 1995, nearly
seven times greater than the average among other responding
countries.

o Children in the U.S. are 12 times more likely to die from
firearm injury than are children in other industrialized nations.

o The United States has the highest firearm death and suicide
rates of all other industrialized countries.

...

International Firearm Death Rates
(rates are per 100,000) [link no longer available]
-http://www.gunfree.org/content/resources/resc_facts_intlcomparison_chart.html-

...


- - - - - - - - - - United States - Child Executions - - - - - - - - - - -

THE JUVENILE DEATH PENALTY TODAY: DEATH
SENTENCES AND EXECUTIONS FOR JUVENILE
CRIMES, JANUARY 1973 - DECEMBER 2000
http://www.law.onu.edu/faculty/streib/juvdeath.htm
(1) Three juvenile offenders were executed in January 2000
and another one in June 2000, making a total of seventeen
in the modern death penalty era (1973 - present).

(2) Over half of the recent executions of juvenile offenders
have occurred in Texas, with very few other states actively
involved in this practice.

(3) Every other death penalty nation in the world has joined
international agreements not to execute juvenile offenders,
with only the United States refusing to abandon the juvenile
death penalty.

(4) The number of juvenile offenders sentenced to death
each year remains around ten, despite wide fluctuations in
the number of juvenile offenders arrested for murder each
year.

(5) A total of 196 juvenile death sentences have been imposed
since 1973, less than 3% of the approximately 6,881 death
sentences for offenders of all ages.


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - United States - Guns - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Armed With Data
What the Numbers Tell Us About Gun Violence in America
[link no longer available]
-http://more.abcnews.go.com/sections/us/DailyNews/guns_damage.html-

o Most gun deaths in America are not the result of murder,
but of suicide.

o Among those murdered with guns, the majority die as
a result of disputes between people who know each other.

o Youths aged 15 to 24 are more likely to be gun victims
than any other age group.

o More teens die from gunshot wounds than from all natural
causes combined.

o Only motor vehicle accidents kill more youths.

o When guns don't kill, they often injure, cripple or paralyze.
Nearly three times as many people are injured by gunfire each
year as are killed.

o Gun violence is not just a crime problem either. Contrary to
popular perception, most people who die looking down the
barrel of a gun are killed not by criminals, but by themselves.


- - - - - - - - - - - - - United States - Divorces - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

From a table in the 1999 Time Almanac
Divorce Rate per 1,000 Married Women - 1990 (selected countries)
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
United States .. 21
United Kingdom . 13
Denmark ........ 13
Sweden ......... 12
Canada ......... 11
France .......... 8
Germany ......... 8
Netherlands ..... 8
Japan ........... 5
Italy ........... 2



- - - - - - - - - - United States - Church Attendance - - - - - - - - - - -

How many people go regularly to weekly religious services?
http://www.religioustolerance.org/rel_rate.htm

o The United States has a higher level of church attendance
than any other country which is "at a comparable level of
development."

o 53% of Americans consider religion to be very important
in their lives. This compares with 16% in Britain, 14% in
France and 13% in Germany.

o The importance of religion has been declining in developed
countries.

...

o About one in four of American adults is devoutly religious;

o one in four is secular, and

o the remaining half is mildly interested about religion.



- - - - - - - - - - United States - Christianity - - - - - - - - - - -

As far as the percent of Americans who are "counted" as
christian, the number varies but is consistently among the
highest in the world, along with some old world nations as
listed above (Ireland, Northern Ireland, Poland). The 1999
Time Almanac indicates the non-christian population in the
U.S. as 9.9 % in 1970, 14.6 % in 1990, and (estimated)
14.8 % in 2000.


- - - - - - - - - - - United States - Evolution - - - - - - - - - - - -

Evolutionary Beliefs
Views in U.S. Much Different Than Elsewhere
[link no longer available]
-http://abcnews.go.com/sections/science/DailyNews/evolutionviews990816.html-
Nearly half of American adults believe in a biblical interpretation
of creation. ...

Creation is not the only area where many Americans take the
Bible at its word. In a Gallup poll last June, one-third of American
adults surveyed agreed that "The Bible is the actual word of God
and is to be taken literally, word for word." That was the 10th time
since 1976 Gallup had asked this question, and the percentage
interpreting the Bible literally has fluctuated only slightly, between
32 and 40 percent.

A 1991 survey asking the exact same question in 17 countries
found adults elsewhere were much less likely to take the literal
view. In Great Britain, for instance, the percentage was 7 percent.

"You would think they [the United States and England] would not
be very different as nations," Bishop says. "And here, Americans
are almost five times as likely to take the Bible literally than
people in England." Germany, Norway, Russia and the Nether-
lands were also among the nations where a smaller percentage
of adults believed in taking the Bible literally. "This situation in
Kansas, it just wouldn't arise in Western Europe," Bishop says.

---

Hmmmmmmmmmm, makes one wonder . . .

Maybe, just maybe, MORE science and LESS religion would
be a better solution to America's problems, do you think?

- - -