Tuesday, June 21, 2016

What Do Italians Think of Americans

Living in the Veneto,  the first question my Italian friends have been asking lately is ”What do you think  of Trump?”   Trump makes a big splash here in the news, as this is what they are seeing most.  They question his racist comments and the whole circus of the Trump campaign.  They also question why we have  expensive and long campaign periods.   

Killed by a gun
Now after Orlando, there will be questions thrown at me about the ownership of weapons.   Clearly the interpretation of this and other related events cause them to believe the pilot has announced a loss of cabin pressure!   

Monday the Senate, by a vote of 53 to 47, rejected a measure that would have denied a gun sale to a known or suspected terrorist , but only if prosecutors could convince a judge within three days that the would-be buyer was involved in terrorism.    Today, July 23 the Republicans voted to NOT vote and NOT debate a no-fly no buy for terrorist's bill.  I believe that this is the last gasp for the Republican Party,   They have created their own demise.  The American public is clearly seeing the truth, and they will react in November.  Many of those representatives will be replaced.   

We should be ashamed of ourselves to let the NRA buy off these senators!  Something is seriously wrong with our representatives!

He was killed by a gun
The number of firearm-related deaths in America since 1968,  is larger than all of the battlefield casualties in all of the wars in American history.   This fact was taken from the Washington Post, a  fact that I am afraid most Americans have not read.    Too many of them search Yahoo to find who wore the most revealing dress at last night's gala and think that Judge Judy is on the Supreme Court.   I don't mention this lack of knowledge to my Italian friends, but they already know that most Americans could not find Slovenia, Portugal or Denmark on a map, nor know that Europeans have no guns in the home, great health care, three weeks of paid vacation, and free University Tuition.

Here in Italy it is far more difficult to acquire a gun in the home.  Pistols are allowed but only after a mental exam, a course on safe usage, and a visit by the local police (annually).  We have hunters, but otherwise it is not a big deal to have a gun.   There is only one gun shop in Padova, for example.  When I walk by there, there are usually no customers inside.

These statistics speak loudly:  Every year 0.80 in every 100,000 people are murdered annually in Italy compared to 3.80 in The United States.

In 2012, the United States had a homicide rate of 4.8 per 100,000 people compared to only 0.3 per 100,000 in Iceland, 0.7 per 100,000 in Sweden, 0.8 per 100,000 in Denmark and Spain, 0.9 per 100,000 in Italy, Austria and the Netherlands, 1.0 per 100,000 in France, and 1.2 per 100,000 in Portugal and the Republic of Ireland.

Killed by a gun
Mass shootings: There were 372 mass shootings in the US in 2015, killing 475 people and wounding 1,870, according to the Mass Shooting Tracker, which catalogues such incidents

School shootings: There were 64 school shootings in 2015, according to a dedicated campaign group set up in the wake of the Sandy Hook elementary school massacre in Connecticut in 2012. 

Are you a bit afraid when you go to an indoor movie?   Maybe the NRA bigshots don’t go to the cinema?

Late at night it is safe to walk in the streets of Padova, a large city in northern Italy.  It is the same in other cities, such as Bologna, Verona, and Parma.  It is the same in other countries I have visited, Spain, Slovenia, Croatia, Austria, etc.    This statistic shows another angle:  87 in every 100,000 people are currently imprisoned in Italy compared to 698 in The United States.

I am not saying that people should not be allowed to own a weapon, but assault weapons are for the police and the military.   We need to stand back and take an intelligent look at ourselves.  We need to take corporate and group contributions out of politics.   We need to have possible gun owners checked by the FBI before acquiring a weapon.  We need to have some common sense about this.  This is what I tell my Italian friends.   

More people will enjoy prosecco

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