This Country Ain't Big Enough For You and Me: A Moment With Bill Reflection
By the Numbers
Imagine, if you will, that within the next four years every man, woman and child in Baltimore, Maryland, dies. Rich and poor, black and white, toddler and retiree, all dead.
Silly you say! 620,000 people do not just die, not in the United States of America. That stuff happens in far-off foreign countries, in third world nations, in places not governed by The Constitution.
Well it does happen and it did happen, between 1861-1865, in the United States Civil War….Americans killing Americans….brothers killing brothers….imagine if you will.
Imagine, if you will, that within the next 50 years every man, woman and child in Dallas, Texas, dies. Rich and poor, black and white, toddler and retiree, all dead.
Silly you say! 1,200,000 people do not just die, not in the United States of America. That stuff happens in far-off foreign countries, in third world nations, in places not governed by The Constitution.
Well it does happen and it did happen as Native American tribes were systematically eliminated by the United States government….Americans killing Americans….imagine if you will.
Imagine, if you will, that within the next fifty years ever man, woman and child in San Diego, California, dies. Rich and poor, black and white, toddler and retiree, all dead.
Silly you say! 1,000,000 people do not just die, not in the United States of America. That stuff happens in far-off foreign countries, in their world nation, in places not governed by The Constitution.
Well it does happen and it did happen, in the last fifty years, as over one million people have been murdered in the United States in random acts of violence….Americans killing Americans…imagine if you will.
It appears that this country just ain’t big enough for all of us to live in harmony.
Violent crimes by state
- State Rankings--Statistical Abstract of the United States--Violent Crime Rate
rankings of states for violent crime per 100,000 population
Something to think about
- Total crimes statistics - countries compared - NationMaster Crime
Full list of available countries. Total crimes statistics - countries compared - NationMaster.
It’s Odd, Isn’t It?
The current population of the United States is 316 million, give or take a few odd blokes. I say give or take because one person is born every seven seconds, one person dies every thirteen seconds, and one person migrates here every thirty-one seconds. In other words, our population increases by a net one person every eleven seconds.
But back to the point…..
Approximately 316 million people live in this country, and our population density is 33 people per square kilometer…that’s about six-tenths of a mile for those not familiar with klicks. So 33 people live in a little over a half-mile square…that doesn’t seem like too many now does it?
But wait! About 258 million live in cities with only 58 million living in rural areas, which certainly explains the wide open spaces west of the Mississippi.
To add to the scene I am painting, the population density of a major urban state….let’s say New Jersey…is 1,205 per square kilometer, while the population density of a major rural state, say Wyoming, is 5 per square kilometer.
Now, what really brings the odd into this picture is the murder rate in those states. In New Jersey, a very urban, crowded state, the murder rate is 4.3 murders per 100,000 people, while in Wyoming, a very rural state, the murder rate is 3.2 murders per 100,000 people. Not much difference; certainly not as much of a difference as one might think it would be.
So Where Am I Going with This?
A random thought crossed my mind the other day, and that thought is that it doesn’t seem to matter where one lives or with how many people we live with….we always seem to find a reason to kill one another in this country.
We do seem to be a very violent people, and I say we because this is a problem we all share. Whether we are victims, perpetrators, witnesses or idle bystanders, violence of this magnitude affects us all and thus, it is a problem we all share.
One thing that concerns me about these statistics is that most people pay them no mind; they are, after all, just statistics. If 4.3 people are murdered in New Jersey out of 100,000, that means that 99,995.7 people are alive, so those aren’t bad odds, right? Even if we do concentrate on the 4.3, it is just a number on the screen. That number does not show us the blood as it slowly pools under the victim. It does not show the gaping wounds caused by a .357, the effects of physics as the bullet’s force pushes bone, muscle and connecting tissues out of the body in a hellacious spray of death. It does not show the knife as it penetrates a human and randomly cuts arteries and disconnects life-giving organs.
Statistics do not show us the grief as families try to carry on the business of life after losing a loved one. Statistics do not show the living dead as they try to make some sense of it all. They do not show the children who grow up without a mommy or a daddy. They do not show the wife suddenly widowed or the husband suddenly cast loose from his life’s support system.
Statistics are merely numbers and do not show the countless nightmares as the violence replays over and over and over again, an endless stream of shattering images that defy sleep and make the horror seem all too real years after the last drop of blood was shed.
Statistics do not show the loss of productivity when another victim is added to the tally; they do not show the loss of hope and laughter and compassion as another human is erased from the board of life.
No, statistics show none of that, for an inanimate object like a number can never represent accurately the pain and misery associated when another promising miracle is no longer with us.
The only answer
Go West Young Man, Go West
It really makes no difference now does it? We could expand this country tenfold and we still cannot escape us. No matter how much room we have to roam and no matter how much area we have between our neighbors, we will find a way to kill each other…..because….that’s what humans do.
We are living, breathing anomalies, walking representatives of a Higher Power, capable of giving life, spreading happiness and lifting up the fallen, and yet at the same time capable of taking away the most precious of gifts when we are cut off in traffic or insulted in a restaurant.
And so we hire security guards and lock up the shutters and doors behind our gated communities. We pull the blinds at night and tuck the covers up under our chin, and say our prayers silently, please dear God, please keep us safe and protected, for thine is the kingdom and the glory and….
We shake our heads at the numbers and we wonder out loud how this can happen, how this insanity has been allowed to continue, what in the name of God is wrong with them all, and what the hell are the authorities doing to protect us from the madness and the pain and the unfathomable grief and suffering, and what we need is more prisons and what we need is more crime prevention and what we need is more quality parenting and good old-fashioned values and bring religion back into the classrooms and don’t spare the rod by God and the right to bear arms is the only way to prevent violence and yet the real question that needs to be asked...the only question that has any bearing on this topic is… who is going to protect us from…..
2013 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)
“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”