It's sobering to hear how others in the world feel about the problems afflicting the place where you live. Especially when the reaction is as telling as the one displayed on air last night--when the BBC began its report about the most recent wave of gun violence in the United States.
The segment, which covered the shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., where gunmen opened fire on a center for people with developmental disabilities, killing 14 and injuring another 17, opened on a rather ominous and somewhat frustrated note.
"Just another day in the United States in America—another day of gun fire, panic, and fear. This time in the city of San Bernardino, California, where a civic building was apparently under attack."
The opening clip can be watched in the embed below, a tweet shared last night by CNN's senior media correspondent Brian Shelter.
BBC report tonight: "Just another day in the United States of America..." pic.twitter.com/ikw41FLbgz
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) December 2, 2015
The BBC report, much like other reactions to American gun violence before it, is a chilling reminder that from the outside the problem in America is perhaps a little clearer. While this country experiences a near daily dose of gun-related mass shootings, other countries seem to be growing tired of pretending like they don't have an answer—or at least an inkling—about what is happening with the United States.
To see these reports is to see a message that the U.S. is entirely exceptional in its gun ownership—it has less than 5 percent of the world's population, but is home to between a third and a half of the world's civilian-owned guns. It's also exceptional in its rate of gun deaths, which is extremely high by international standards. The United Kingdom, meanwhile, which has some of the most stringent gun laws in the world, is home to very few gun deaths. This is how the BBC underscored that difference earlier this year:
The number of per capita gun murders in the US in 2012 — the most recent year for comparable statistics — is nearly 30 times that in the UK, at 2.9 per 100,000 compared with just 0.1. Of all the murders in the US in 2012, 60% were by firearm compared with just 10% in the UK.