Keeping Safety in Perspective

by curtissmith003 / Feb 19, 2013 / 0 comments

Let's look at some facts...

One of the concerns that many people ask us about as we travel is safety,
especially regarding children. Without launching into a pointless political
debate, allow me to throw out some startling statistics.

The bad:

According to a 2013 Washington Post study, “The United States has the
highest gun ownership rate in the world and the highest per capita rate of
firearm-related murders of all developed countries.” This unacceptable figure
is supported by numerous other studies and research. The bottom line, you have
the best chance of being killed by a gun right here in the United States. Even
the Middle East and Africa are statistically safer according to the United
Nations World Health Organization in 2012.

A report by the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development
(OECD) published in Forbes Magazine in 2010 rated the United States in the top
10 most dangerous countries to drive in. According to the World Health Ranking
in 2011, the United States had a medium rating compared to a low rating for Europe,
Canada, and Australia in road safety. The report showed that the United States
was actually twice as dangerous as Europe.

Well documented studies across multiple areas illustrate the obesity
epidemic that the United States is facing. The American Medical Associates
cites that in 2009 17.4% of children 2-19 were deemed obese and 30.6%
overweight.  We lead the world in obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.
Furthermore, we come in 7th for cancer rates.

The United Nations World Health Organization in 2010 ranked the United
States 38th in health care. Despite the best medical technology and
most highly trained doctors, Americans have poor access to health care and shun
preventive medicine.

The good:

The United States has one of the cleanest airs in the world. Years of
environmental activism and regulations are paying off. Better, more sustainable
practices are actually working.

The Columbia University’s Earth Institute ranked the United States the 14th
happiest country on the planet in 2012. That is up from previous years.
However, most of the northern European countries beat us.

So, you need to make an informed decision about where you go. Realize,
however, that perceptions are very powerful. For example, Columbia is usually
given a very bad report by the media for drug violence. However, most of the
problem is confined to the southern mountain area bordering Ecuador. Cartagena
on the Atlantic coast is far removed from the violence. It is over 600 miles
distant. That is like saying here in Seattle, I am worried about crime in
Sacramento. Also, the media over plays violence in other countries. Remember,
more people are murdered in Los Angeles in any given weekend than in a year in
most other countries.

A friend once told me, “The United States is the most violent country on
Earth.” As an American, I found that extremely hard to swallow. After living in
other countries and looking at the facts, I now tend to agree. We need to work
on some things back home.