Thursday, February 22, 2018

Edith Wharton, "America at War" (1918): Note for a discussion, "E Pluribus Unum? What Keeps the United States United."


the-tls.co.uk

Image from entry with caption: Edith Wharton, 1018: Theodore Roosevelt's sons Quentin and Archibald, right

On February 8, 1918, in a series called “France and Its Allies at War: The Witnesses Speak”, Edith Wharton gave a lecture in French to an audience of about 400. Why had the United States entered the war with such enthusiasm? How could Americans, who were only interested in money-making, be ready to fight? The lecture, which appears here for the first time in English and in edited form, was an attempt to answer these questions. It reveals Wharton’s interest in the early American settlers’ lasting contribution to democracy, and displays her wide – and generally unsuspected – knowledge of American history.

Virginia Ricard

There is a profound difference, a funda­mental difference, between the French and the Americans: a difference of language, far greater than that which exists between races of Latin origin, whose languages draw on a common linguistic fund. When an Italian or a Spaniard needs to translate his ideas into your language, he finds an equivalent, or even a synonym, far more easily than we do. For the person of purely Anglo-Saxon origin, there is, apart from the difficulty of pronunciation, that of finding exact equivalents in French for her American thoughts. If I call your attention to this obstacle, it is not merely to beg your indulgence. Rather, it is because I was invited to speak to you of my country and one of the most delicate questions concerning the relations between our two peoples is precisely the problem caused by the difference between our languages. If the United State and France were near neighbours, this obstacle would be less troublesome, but we are obliged to converse through the intermediary of the press and government statements. Each time I see the translation of a speech or an official American Government statement in a French newspaper I fear a misunderstanding.

May I give you an example? When he arrived in Paris, Mr House made a speech before the Press, a simple, modest and dignified speech – provided it was read in English. Mr House began by saying, “America is already mobilizing her millions in the factories, the fields and the trenches”. Now, the genius of English is essentially elliptic. We leave a great deal out, we imply words, whole phrases even, which could never be omitted in the French. So Mr House did not say her millions of men, since the word men was implied by the meaning of the sentence. Anyone who knew English well could not possibly have misunderstood. But many French newspapers reported that Mr House had said, “L’Amérique a déjà mobilisé ses millions dans les usines”, etc., which of course can only mean one thing in French: her millions of dollars. Thus poor Mr House was recast as an oncle d’Amérique clinking the dollars in his pocket as he arrived at your doorstep. A small but very typical example, which I call to your attention to show you how difficult it is to translate us since in this particular case the translator rigorously followed the original.

You might object that, where there is a community of feeling, misunderstandings like these are always cleared up in the long run. I mention the problem nevertheless, because lexical discord is so often a sign of moral discord. Although they may have a common origin, words undergo mysterious changes as soon as they are absorbed by another language and these changes affect the soul, so that the emotions too are altered.

Our language is elliptic and sometimes our manners are too. We take shortcuts and byways, whereas you tread the paths traced by a long and glorious tradition. For more than a thousand years, you have had the use of wide roads, traced by the Roman Empire all over France, whereas our forefathers had to cut down trees and pull up shrubs in order to clear a path through the virgin forests. That analogy is a fairly exact symbol of the moral condition of our great-grandparents. Most of them, at least those who influenced the American character most deeply, were weary of well-trodden paths, of old institutions, and most of all, of old abuses. They left Europe to give their ideas a free rein – ideas that were not very interesting in themselves, since they remained within the narrow scope of theological quarrels. These people were, to put it bluntly, fanatics, the kind of boring, nasty, insufferable people that nature seems to produce from time to time in order to set in motion a widespread popular movement or to clear the land of a whole continent – because, of course, likeable, reasonable people never change anything in the order of the universe.

And this brings me precisely to the subject I wish to discuss: the origins of my country and its deeps roots in the past. I was asked to talk today about “America at war”, about the reasons why we entered the war. These reasons cannot be found in our need to defend a vulnerable border, nor even in the need for military or economic defence. They are to be found in the past. And since our entry into the war, I have come to realize that many French people have a very imperfect knowledge of that past.

I will not do you the injustice of supposing that you think all my compatriots are what you call oncles d’Amérique – fat planters who throw around gold by the fistful and, in the last act, solve disputes and misunderstandings with the help of their dollars – although, to be sure, at this particular moment, I can think of no better part for my country to play . . . . But are you really so far from believing that our grandparents went to America mainly to acquire dollars so that their grandsons could spend them merrily in the luxurious hotels of old Europe? Only a few of you have noticed that we also spend those dollars in antique shops and art galleries, and that we pack Fragonard panels, Boucher tapestries, and Rodin bronzes in our trunks. “The booty of barbarians”, you might say. But little by little you have formed our taste and we now know where to purchase objects suitable for the decoration of a millionaire’s house. Our impatience to enjoy European refinement is immense – and very childish, but that impatience, which you have observed a thousand times and recorded with exquisite irony, is also the result of our past, of our austere, arduous, and joyless past.

North America was colonized by people of different races, and at different times [JB emphasis]. Colonization, as you know, continues to this day, and over the past hundred and fifty years, we have become a testing ground for democracy. However, the deepest impression on the soul of our country was made by the English. Both the English Bible and English Common Law have nurtured the American soul. The Bible, in particular, has moulded us, and my first task here is to help you understand the feelings that animated the Mayflower Pilgrims – the Pilgrims who left old England in 1620 to found New England. These were, as I have already said, fanatics – hard, cruel, and jealous people, eager to escape the persecution of the English national Church, and perhaps in turn to persecute others. Those who have been persecuted are, alas, all too often the persecutors of tomorrow.

That said, we must not forget that the Puritans of the New World were sustained by perfectly disinterested motives. The colonization of the Atlantic states was not an economic undertaking. The Puritans did not go there seeking money or honours, nor even to conceal a depraved past. They were narrow-minded but honourable, respectable men, most of whom were fairly well-off, and who sacrificed everything – fortune, honour, friends, and well-being – to go and found a colony, beneath inclement skies, on inhospitable lands, peopled by artful and fierce natives, where each would be free to worship God according to the dogma of his sect, as well as to denounce neighbours suspected of worshipping differently. To achieve their purpose, they abandoned the pleasures of an organized society and all the dear beloved old ways that in England revolve around castle and church.

And while this theocracy was being founded on the rough stones of Massachusetts, Dutch merchants – all of them prosperous burghers and shrewd businessmen – established a warehouse for furs at the mouth of the Hudson and began to trade with the Red-Skins of the Great Lakes and the North. These intrepid Dutchmen were not at all interested in founding a theocracy. They had come to America in search of a new outlet for Dutch trade – in order to earn money in other words. After a few years of dreadful struggle and terrible discouragement these tenacious merchants managed to establish a stable administration and to increase their fortunes. Their colony was governed by distinguished men, and when England took it over in 1664 the heirs of the old governors remained in New Amsterdam, later renamed New York and destined to become the main marketplace of the New World.

So right from the beginning of the seventeenth century, you had, side by side, dark and fanatic Massachusetts, founded in 1620 to establish “the reign of the spirit”, and the State of New York founded seven years earlier to establish the dominion of the dollar. On the one hand, democratic equality, scorn for material wealth, and aversion for any reminders of the titles and privileges of old Europe; on the other hand, a society both mercantile and patrician, descended from an oligarchy founded by the Dutch West India Company. Thus, side by side, were two groups representing the two principal motives of human action: the will to sacrifice everything to intellectual and moral conviction, and the desire for wealth and the enjoyment of life. I, who am a descendant of the Dutch merchants and of their English successors, confess that I am glad not to have been brought up in the shadow of the gloomy theocracy of Massachusetts. Nevertheless, I must admit that those who sacrificed everything for their ideas are the ones who shaped the soul of my country most profoundly, more profoundly than those who faced similar dangers for material gain.

New York and the trends associated with New York – a fondness for profit, respect for rank and fortune, a taste for lavish meals and the comforts of rest beneath an eiderdown – provided a useful corrective to the sombre ideology of the Puritans by contributing the healthy enjoyment of earthly goods to our national outlook. But it is written that the ideas that survive are always those that are born in disinterested sacrifice and it was the handful of fanatics thrown onto Plymouth Rock by the Mayflower that has served to remind us of our national feeling at each crisis in our national history. Picture them, struggling alone, yet able not only to defend themselves and to resist, but also, even before they had even landed, to establish a plan for municipal administration, which was the first known written constitution in the history of the English speaking peoples.

And what sort of society did they create? The settlers, whose ideas about government mostly harked back to earlier times, were innovators where municipal organization was concerned and many a democratic idea that had been smothered by the laws of the mother country prospered rapidly in the soil of the New World. In the wilderness, where each band of settlers formed an isolated centre, cut off from their neighbours by forests inhabited by enemies, the only conceivable political unit was the “township” – a group of hamlets roughly corresponding to the French commune. According to their charter, every man admitted as a member of the colony had the right to take part in government. This plan resulted in the famous town-meetings – community assemblies that were the origin of municipal liberties in Massachusetts. In fact, all the ideas that found local government in the United States were contained in this charter – all except the idea of religious freedom, which New England achieved only after a terrible struggle against the power of an uncompromising church.

And what sort of life did people lead in those bleak hamlets, the so-called townships of the New World? Stranded in the midst of immense forests, built on the edge of a stormy sea, and surrounded by ever-menacing natives, their humble wooden dwellings were buried in snow for six months a year. The inhabitants never left home except to go through the snow to listen to the Minister who ruled over the parish. No one was allowed to miss the sermon, and in the flimsy wooden churches, where there was not even a stove to keep out the cold, everyone was chilled to the bone while the Minister talked for hours on end. He taught that, according to the dogma of the Westminster Confession, children who died unbaptized burnt forever in the depths of hell, that magistrates and ministers were bound to examine the doctrinal integrity of every Christian who attended the service, that any man who gathered firewood on a Sunday would be hung, and that anyone who dared attribute the slightest sin to the Lord’s elect would meet the same fate.

The Ministers would preach for two or three hours running. The abuse grew so serious that the magistrates attempted to find a remedy, and argued that the frequency of the religious services, which took place every day, constantly compelled the settlers to interrupt their work and the women to neglect their domestic duties. The length of the sermons and prayers was such that the poor parishioners more often than not had to go home through a perilous forest in the middle of the night. The Ministers responded that there were not enough hours in a day and night to name all the perils of heresy or to publicly condemn the sins of their flock. The magistrates were obliged to yield and the services went on as before.

As for the members of the flock, they seem to have responded to the uninterrupted flow of Christian eloquence in different ways. We read in Mr X’s diary that he attended a six-hour-long service in an unheated church in bone-numbing weather but did not feel the cold thanks to the force of the sermon – for which he praised God. On the other hand, a poor woman named Ursula Cole confessed to having told a neighbour that she would as soon hear a cat meow as hear Reverend Shepard preach, a blasphemy for which she was condemned either to pay a fine of 750 francs or be whipped. She was probably whipped. The Ministers could and did avail themselves of the rod, shackles, stocks, gallows and stake. You all know what tortures were inflicted on the so-called “witches”, some of whom were merely hysterics, others simply bone-setters such as can still be found in the French countryside. Others still were members of the Society of Friends who were disgusted with the tyranny of the clergy and certain they received their light directly from heaven. In such a climate, informers thrived and private grudges were settled mercilessly. If a regime of this sort had managed to ensure its continued existence, the United States would not have become the great country it is today.

I have paid so much attention to the bleakness of this picture because these men of iron, and the women who were their equals in stoic resilience, formed the kernel from which our civilization grew. Among them, right from the beginning, were a few individuals with wills equally strong, but with minds less narrow, who overthrew the all-powerful presbyteries and who founded schools and universities, and thus emancipated thought. A hundred years later, Americans were playing games, going to the theatre, thinking about dress, dancing the passepied or the saraband – and the ministers had begun to make shorter sermons. But long New England winters, fear of the Red-skins, and continual dread of violent death and eternal punishment, had left a shadow over the American soul. Americans danced, but on a volcano – the volcano of Presbyterian hell.

While New England was developing with difficulty, other settlers, who had arrived a few years earlier, took possession of the vast area that now extends from New Mexico to Pennsylvania. From 1620 onwards, this colony of Virginia, named after Queen Elizabeth, was directly attached to the English crown. It was divided up into large estates and conferred on certain aristocrats and gentlemen who wished to try their fortunes in the New World. The climate was mild, the land fertile, and the new colonies rapidly flourished economically. Under the benevolent dominion of the An­glican Church, a civilized society developed there, in comparison with which the New England settlers were like savages in the Stone Age. Alas, one day a Dutch merchant ship landed on the coast and unloaded amid its merchandise a few Negroes, who were sold with the rest.

That day, slavery came into being in the United States. That day too marks the beginning of the commercial and political ruin of the southern States. Those poor dazed Africans, like the furies, came bearing the germs of disintegration and death. As you know, we did not die, and we did not even disintegrate, but our immense federation endured many moments of danger, for slavery introduced one of the elements which contributed, long afterwards, to creating what I will call “Statism” – that is, an attachment to the particular rights of a State rather than to the nation. The conflict came to a head only a hundred and fifty years later with our Civil War, a war that had two causes, one remote and ideal, the other immediate and practical. The remote cause was the desire to end slavery. The immediate cause was the determination to thwart the separatist tendencies of certain States that had usurped the right to withdraw from the Union if their particular interests conflicted with those of the nation.

Right from the beginning, the American Colonies, founded for different reasons by people of diverse races and with different ideas, were naturally suspicious of each other. The Revolution, which united them for an instant against a common enemy, did not put an end to their inevitable rivalry. And so it happened that at each national crisis there were two parties: one defending local interests, the freedom of choice of each State; the other constantly defending the idea that a federation of states cannot last and develop unless it places the interests of the country as a whole above local interests.  It was only natural that at first local interests should be represented by the southern States, immersed as they were in the well-being of a quasi-patriarchal existence and unwilling to be disturbed. The settlers of the northern States – Pennsylvania, New York and New England – who had bought their freedom and their very lives at such a high price, more readily understood the need for national cohesion.

Yes, but why were the patrician planters of the South called Democrats during the Civil War, and why did the North – more plebeian in its ideas if not in its origin – choose a name that rings as though it was meant to disqualify its opponents? For visionary eighteenth-century minds, the federal union harked back to the monarchy, to feudal privileges, and to the power of a national Church. The southern States declared with some justification, “You of the North say you represent the Republic. Yet we are the real democrats since we defend the rights of states, and even the rights of individuals, against the threat of centralized power!” To which the federalists naturally responded with a greater sense of the facts of the matter: “On the contrary, we represent the republic, since we defend the public interest against the selfishness of separatists whose only goal is to make sure their private interests are not harmed”. In spite of all the distortions that they have undergone with time, the terms “Democrat” and “Republican” still designate two conceptions, or rather two opposing influences: a centrifugal influence, inclined to break up the federation beneath the weight of conflicting state interests, and a centripetal influence, which continually subjects these interests to the powerful attraction of the federal idea, the idea of national unity.

The political ideas of the two parties are opposed on many other questions, but fortunately, in times of trouble, something else always prevails – the spirit of American patriotism. You can see evidence of this today. As the representative of the Democrats, President Wilson was wary of European alliances and military intervention abroad, and he was naturally influenced by his centrifugal environment. He hesitated to enter the war, and once he had made up his mind to do so, he expected as a matter of course to be thwarted in his efforts by a party that was hoping to see our vast country pursue its peaceful development without the risks involved in foreign intervention. You all know what happened in actual fact. General conscription, voted in a matter of two days and accepted without a murmur. Militarization of the railroads, rationing of food and raw materials, an agreement with the Labour unions which pledged not to strike during the war.

For a loose confederation made up of different races with sometimes conflicting interests, it is without question a surprising result. Less surprising for us than for our allies, however. For the critical moments in our history have taught us how intense the patriotic spirit is in our country. Two major events have left their mark on our short history. Having shaken off the yoke of a clumsy (but not tyrannical as was once taught) government, we were able to develop, and so became a nation. In order to defend the integrity of that nation we shed the best of our blood and fought against our own brothers. Memories like these cannot be erased. They come to mind each time it is necessary to defend our own independence or the independence of other countries when it is threatened. We know it is our duty to fight for the liberty of our Allies because we bought our own at so high a price.

It may seem unbelievable to you that a country as remote from the scene of the war as ours should have accepted to take part in it for so-called ideal reasons. I admit that the word “ideal” unsettles me somewhat, but when it comes to explaining the motives of human behaviour, I do not believe there is really such a difference between the ideal and the practical, or between interested and disinterested motives. We are certainly interested – immeasurably so; but not because we want to take over your industry, nor because, as the Germans say, we want, in payment of our aid, to take hold of a port on the Mediterranean. No, believe me, the real reason was given to me by an American officer, who was touched like so many others by the way you welcomed the American troops. “Tell the French,” he said, “be sure to tell them, that we do not want to be thanked for having entered the war. Explain that we all know that by fighting for France, we will be fighting for ourselves.” There you have, I think, the truth – clearly grasped by the more intelligent, and obscurely sensed by everyone.

Ladies and gentlemen, you can see why I wanted to describe our origins. I wanted above all to help you understand why our point of view, our ways, and our habits do not always resemble yours. How could it be otherwise? Think that while you were building Versailles, we were cutting down virgin forests, that while Descartes was writing his Discourse on Method, our scholars were drafting books on demonology, that while the King’s players were putting on Tartuffe and The School for Husbands, the parishioners of Reverend Shepard were beaten for having criticized his sermons, and husbands in Connecticut had to pay a large fine if they kissed their wives on a Sunday. Think that while your great-grandfathers were polishing their manners in Madame de Rambouillet’s bedroom and in Madame de Sévigné’s beautiful painted salons, ours, in trappers’ huts, surrounded by wild beasts, were doing their best to become labourers and merchants, blacksmiths and lawyers, fur traders or professors of rhetoric. Between these two pasts, one entirely improvised, the other founded on a long tradition of culture, there is no common measure. And yet, out of two such different histories patriotism and the love of liberty brought our two countries together once and has brought them together once again.

The continual stream of immigration has never, since our ghastly Civil War made a nation of us, diluted these feelings. You must not forget Lincoln’s wisdom at the beginning of our Civil War. “It is doubtful that a democracy can conduct a great war to a happy conclusion”, he said. But it can conduct a great war if the authors of its Constitution have the courage to declare that as soon as the nation is in peril, all power will be placed in the hands of the Head of State, and if the political education of the public is sufficiently advanced for it to accept temporary autocracy without being haunted by the spectre of permanent dictatorship. Such is our situation and it explains why we are by your side today.

“America at War”, translated by Virginia Ricard, will be included in Volume 15 (War Writings: Nonfiction) of the Complete Works of Edith Wharton,to be published by Oxford University Press.

Florida Responds To Shooting By Forcing Schools To Post ‘In God We Trust’ Signs


JB note: In the discussion, "E Pluribus Unum?: What Keeps the United States United," I note that "E Pluribus Unum" is the unofficial motto of the United States, while "In God we trust" is the USA's official motto.


patheos.com

In response to the recent school shooting every Florida school will now be forced to post “In God We Trust” signs.
Every Florida school and school administrative building will have to prominently display “In God we trust” under a bill passed by the Florida House.
The House on Wednesday approved the bill on a 97-10 vote.
According to the report, the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Kimberly Daniels, cited the recent shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, during her closing speech on the bill:
Daniels said that God is the “light” and “our schools need light in them like never before.”
She added that gun issues need to be addressed, but the “real thing that needs to be addressed are issues of the heart.”
Seventeen people were killed last week at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. No imaginary God stopped the shooter, and any trust placed in that imaginary God is trust misplaced.
Forcing schools to post signs proclaiming “In God We Trust” is a futile gesture that ultimately demeans and disparages the U.S. Constitution, the separation of church and state, and the secular values upon which this nation was built.
Indeed, “In God We Trust” should be replaced with the original motto of the U.S. – “E Pluribus Unum” – Out of many, one.
E Pluribus Unum is a latin phrase meaning “One from many,” also translated as “Out of many, one” or “One out of many.”  It was considered to be the de facto motto of the United States until 1956 when the United States Congress passed an act (H. J. Resolution 396), adopting “In God We Trust” as the official motto.
In fact, “E Pluribus Unum” was the original motto proposed and established by founding fathers John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson in 1776 [JB - see link citing another date - 1782].
The change to “In God We Trust” was motivated by fear of the Soviet Union and “godless communism” during the height of the Cold War and the “red scare” of the 1950’s. The change was a mistake that violated the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and betrayed the secular values upon which the U.S. was founded as well as the explicit intentions of the founding fathers.
As for the Florida legislation, the Associated press reports It’s not clear if the bill will ultimately become law because the Senate has yet to hear the bill.
One brave Florida lawmaker, Rep. Carlos G Smith, strongly condemned the new legislation via Twitter, and for all the rights reasons:
(Let’s keep a clear separation between church + state. Forcing our public schools to post “In God We Trust” in a conspicuous place is inappropriate. I don’t care if it was a Democrat who sponsor the bill. I vote based on core values, not party lines. I vote NO on HB 839. #sayfie)
Bottom line: Forcing every Florida school to prominently display “In God We Trust” is a bizarre, pointless, and asinine response to the recent Florida school shooting.


The U.S. States People Are Fleeing (And The Ones They Are Moving To) - Note for a discussion, "E Pluribus Unum? What Keeps the United States United."


Forbes

Each year families pack up their belongings and move to a new home, sometimes out of state. Tracking where they go—and where they’re leaving from—paints an interesting picture of U.S. migration.
This past year, United Van Lines, a moving company that operates throughout the country, moved about 110,000 families and provided each with a simple questionnaire to discover the reasons they were moving. The results tell us which states are attracting families and why.
For a look at the top ten states people are leaving, check out our slideshow. To find out which states people are moving to, read on.
Page 21

[JB: No. 1 "Moving in" state: Alabama]


Sean Pavone / Shutterstock

Norman Rockwell for our times ...



John Brown shared Pat Bagley - The Salt Lake Tribune's [Fb] post. (via RB - Many thanks!)


Image may contain: 1 person, smiling
Pat Bagley - The Salt Lake Tribune
Alt-Norman Rockwell

On Rockwell, see (1) (2)

The Trolling of the American Mind - Note for a discussion, "E Pluribus Unum? What Keeps the United States United."


Ross Douthat, New York Times, Feb. 21, 2018

Image from article, with caption: Trump supporters standing for the national anthem at a rally in Ohio in 2026

Excerpt:
[T]he people obsessing about how Russian influence is supposedly driving polarization [JB emphasis] and mistrust risk becoming like J. Edgar Hoover-era G-men convinced that Communist subversives were the root cause of civil rights era protest and unrest. There were Soviet agents bent on encouraging racial conflict, just as there are Russian trolls today. But then as now obsessing over Russian influence can become a way to deny or minimize American realities that are far more important than some provocateur’s Hillary-for-prison meme.

And that is the danger for a liberalism (or an anti-Trump centrism or conservatism) that’s forever wringing its hands over how surely, surely Russian interference might have been enough to shift those crucial 78,000 votes and make Donald Trump the president. Because even if you believe that the interaction between the F.B.I. investigation of Hillary Clinton, the hacking and the WikiLeaks drip-drip did swing those votes (I’m quite sure the memes and fake accounts did not), the proper question should still be: How was it that close to begin with?

A new Cold War is not an answer to that question. (Especially since, for all the talk of Trump-the-traitor, he has moved our military posture somewhat closer to the policies the Russia hawks demand.) Neither is a theory that obsesses over tens of thousands of voters when the Americans who switched from Obama to Trump, in the Midwest and  elsewhere, probably number in the millions.

The bottom line is that liberal mandarins in the West — not just in America — face a hard choice when it comes to the populism that gave us Trump, Brexit and right-wing parties and governments in Central and Eastern Europe. Should this re-emergent nationalism be conciliated and co-opted, its economic grievances answered and some compromises made to address its cultural and moral claims? Or is it sufficiently noxious and racist and destructive that it can be only crushed, through gradual demographic weight or ruthless polarized mobilization?

The Russia fixation, at its worst, is a way to make the second choice without admitting that you’re making it — to pretend that in trying to crush your fellow countrymen you’re really fighting traitors and subversives and foreign adversaries, to further otherize the domestic out-group by associating them with far-off Muscovy.

Trump’s election was, indeed, a sudden shock in a long-running conflict. But it does us no good to pretend the real blow came from outside our borders, when it was clearly a uniquely hot moment in our own cold civil war.

American Blindness, Abroad and at Home - Note for a discussion, "E Pluribus Unum? What Keeps the United States United."


Jennifer Szala, New York Times, Feb. 21

image from article























Amy Chua has Donald J. Trump’s number. Not literally (I’m guessing), but unlike
some of her elite peers at Yale University, where she teaches law, Chua isn’t endlessly
flummoxed by the president’s ability to brag about how rich and “very greedy” he is
while also resonating with his working-class supporters.

As she explains in “Political Tribes: Group Instinct and the Fate of Nations,”
what Trump has figured out, whether through cynical deliberation or primordial
reflex, is how tribalism works. [JB emphasis] As much as progressives try to define 
elitism in terms of money, the establishment that Trump and his supporters rail against
is culturally — not economically — defined.

“The tribal instinct is all about identification,” Chua writes. The president’s base
“identifies with him at a gut level.” And it’s not as if elites get severed from their own
gut feelings by their Ivy League degrees. “What these elites don’t see is how tribal
their cosmopolitanism is,” she writes. “For well-educated, well-traveled Americans,
cosmopolitanism is its own highly exclusionary clan, with clear out-group members
and boogeymen — in this case, the flag-waving bumpkins.”

With “Political Tribes,” Chua — who is perhaps best known for “Battle Hymn of
the Tiger Mother” (2011), a not entirely ironic memoir about her severe “Chinese-style”
(her words) parenting methods — is on familiar terrain. All of her books
revolve around culture and identity. In “World on Fire” (2003), she described how
introducing free markets and democracy to a country can inflame existing ethnic
divisions. “Day of Empire” (2007) posited that global powers gained strength
through cultural tolerance rather than exclusion. In “The Triple Package” (2014), she
and her husband, Jed Rubenfeld, argued that specific cultural traits made for group
success (a problematic provocation, to say the least).

“Political Tribes” reads like a return to Chua’s pre-Tiger Mother work: accessible
history structured around a simple thesis. Just as American elites don’t understand
sectarianism at home, she argues, they don’t understand sectarianism abroad.
Members of our foreign policy establishment are so enamored of market reforms
and democratization that they’re “spectacularly blind to the power of tribal politics.”

Hubris has been such a constant feature in American foreign policy over the last
half century that many readers won’t find much here that’s new. Still, there’s
something to be said for the organizing principle of a greatest hits album, and
“Political Tribes” gathers some of the country’s most stunning failures into one
slender volume.

Chua shows how a combination of racism and obsessive anti-communism made
for terrible strategy in Vietnam, where Americans underestimated Vietnamese
nationalism, including resentment of an economically dominant Chinese minority.
Our policies in Afghanistan and Iraq were similarly obtuse. The push for de-Baathification
of the Iraqi Army created a pool of “unemployed, frustrated Sunni
men who owned weapons and had no marketable skills other than their military
training” — and happened to be ripe for recruitment by the insurgency and
eventually the Islamic State.

Chua sprints through her international material in a little over 100 pages before
returning to the United States — which is where she gets stuck in a quagmire of her
own making. What started out in her introduction as a shrewd assessment of our
fractured political situation turns into a muddled argument about what Americans,
mainly liberals, need to do next.

The first thing she advises is to be wary of the movement for economic justice,
which she depicts as a fanciful cause driven by the “well educated and relatively
privileged” kids of Occupy Wall Street. “Populism in America is not anticapitalist,”
she writes. Her argument might have been more persuasive had she actually argued
it; instead, in a bid to show elites how little they know, she provides page upon page
about fringe phenomena like the sovereign citizens movement and Santa Muerte, but
makes only a solitary and passing mention of the near-presidential nominee Bernie
Sanders.

Her skepticism toward economic justice is joined by an antipathy toward
identity politics. “Once identity politics gains momentum,” Chua writes, “it
inevitably subdivides, giving rise to ever-proliferating group identities demanding
recognition.” In support of her point she trots out the conservative complaint that
“white identity politics has also gotten a tremendous recent boost” from the left’s
“relentless berating, shaming and bullying.” Chua may be refreshingly attuned to the
distemper of our times, but the annals of American history show that white identity
politics has a robust record of doing just fine without any help from the left.
Redlining, school segregation and minority disenfranchisement long preceded
debates over whether serving bad banh mi sandwiches in a college cafeteria amounts
to cultural appropriation.

Americans, Chua says, used to think of the United States as a “super-group,”
with an identity “that transcends and unites the identities of all the country’s many
subgroups,” because civil rights leaders like the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“captured the imagination and hearts of the public and led to real change.” This kind
of gauzy sentimentality runs counter to the pointed analysis in the rest of her book.
Leaving aside the sanitized reading of King, who was a more radical and divisive
figure in his time than Chua lets on, she doesn’t square how the flourishing of this
“super-group” ideal happened to coincide, at least in her telling, with the onset of the
American foreign-policy “blindness” she so diligently chronicles.

“I have also seen with my own eyes over and over the very best of America,
practically miracles,” Chua writes about unlikely friendships that have bridged
divides … in her seminars at Yale Law School. She praises the musical “Hamilton” —
where a choice seat costs as much as a mortgage payment, and where Vice President
Mike Pence was booed — as the kind of unifying cultural touchstone Americans so
desperately need right now. Considering how much she’s thought about tone-deaf
cosmopolitan elites seeming hopelessly out of touch, she would have done well to
heed the moral of her own book: When changing lanes, check your blind spot first.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

States with the most (and least) gun violence. See where your state stacks up - Note for a discussion, "E Pluribus Unum? What Keeps the United States United."


Thomas C. Frohlich and John Harrington, 24/7 Wall Street, USA Today

image from article


The latest mass shooting at a Parkland, Fla., high school reignited the debate over gun ownership rights and further highlighted the role that mental illness plays in these tragic episodes of gun violence in the United States.
While grabbing the most headlines, gun violence is not limited to mass shootings. Gun fatalities include homicides, accidents, and suicides. There were 38,658 firearm deaths in the United States in 2016. Of those fatalities, 22,938 were suicides and 14,415 were homicides.
No part of the country has been spared mass shootings. The 10 deadliest incidents have occurred in Texas, California, Florida, Virginia, Connecticut, Oklahoma and Nevada.
When adjusted for the population size, five of the deadliest 10 states are in the South, and six are among the 10 poorest U.S. states. In all but five states, more than half of all firearm fatalities were suicides.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed data on gun violence by state based on the latest information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which tracks the number of gun-related deaths in each state.

50. Massachusetts

  • Firearm deaths per 100,000 people: 3.4 per 100,000
  • Total firearm deaths 2016: 242 (suicides: 140, homicides: 89)
  • Violent crime rate: 376.9 per 100,000 (23rd highest)
  • Permit required to carry handgun: Yes
  • Poverty rate: 10.4% (9th lowest)

49. Rhode Island

  • Firearm deaths per 100,000 people: 4.0 per 100,000
  • Total firearm deaths 2016: 49 (suicides: 35, homicides: N/A)
  • Violent crime rate: 238.9 per 100,000 (8th lowest)
  • Permit required to carry handgun: Yes
  • Poverty rate: 12.8% (22nd lowest)

48. New York

  • Firearm deaths per 100,000 people: 4.4 per 100,000
  • Total firearm deaths 2016: 900 (suicides: 490, homicides: 390)
  • Violent crime rate: 376.2 per 100,000 (24th highest)
  • Permit required to carry handgun: Yes
  • Poverty rate: 14.7% (16th highest)

47. Hawaii

  • Firearm deaths per 100,000 people: 4.5 per 100,000
  • Total firearm deaths 2016: 66 (suicides: 37, homicides: 22)
  • Violent crime rate: 309.2 per 100,000 (21st lowest)
  • Permit required to carry handgun: Yes
  • Poverty rate: 9.3% (2nd lowest)

46. Connecticut

  • Firearm deaths per 100,000 people: 4.6 per 100,000
  • Total firearm deaths 2016: 172 (suicides: 110, homicides: 55)
  • Violent crime rate: 227.1 per 100,000 (5th lowest)
  • Permit required to carry handgun: Yes
  • Poverty rate: 9.8% (4th lowest)

45. New Jersey

  • Firearm deaths per 100,000 people: 5.5 per 100,000
  • Total firearm deaths 2016: 485 (suicides: 176, homicides: 297)
  • Violent crime rate: 245.0 per 100,000 (12th lowest)
  • Permit required to carry handgun: Yes
  • Poverty rate: 10.4% (9th lowest)

44. Minnesota

  • Firearm deaths per 100,000 people: 7.6 per 100,000
  • Total firearm deaths 2016: 432 (suicides: 332, homicides: 83)
  • Violent crime rate: 242.6 per 100,000 (9th lowest)
  • Permit required to carry handgun: Yes (concealed and open carry)
  • Poverty rate: 9.9% (6th lowest)

43. California

  • Firearm deaths per 100,000 people: 7.9 per 100,000
  • Total firearm deaths 2016: 3184 (suicides: 1595, homicides: 1467)
  • Violent crime rate: 445.3 per 100,000 (15th highest)
  • Permit required to carry handgun: Yes (in incorporated areas and concealed anywhere)
  • Poverty rate: 14.3% (20th highest)  

42. Maine

  • Firearm deaths per 100,000 people: 8.2 per 100,000
  • Total firearm deaths 2016: 123 (suicides: 112, homicides: N/A)
  • Violent crime rate: 123.8 per 100,000 (the lowest)
  • Permit required to carry handgun: No (No permit is necessary to carry openly or to carry a concealed handgun if person is at least 21.)
  • Poverty rate: 12.5% (21st lowest)

41. Washington

  • Firearm deaths per 100,000 people: 9.0 per 100,000
  • Total firearm deaths 2016: 686 (suicides: 515, homicides: 146)
  • Violent crime rate: 302.2 per 100,000 (19th lowest)
  • Permit required to carry handgun: Yes
  • Poverty rate: 11.3% (14th lowest)

40. Nebraska

  • Firearm deaths per 100,000 people: 9.1 per 100,000
  • Total firearm deaths 2016: 171 (suicides: 116, homicides: 45)
  • Violent crime rate: 291.0 per 100,000 (17th lowest)
  • Permit required to carry handgun: Yes
  • Poverty rate: 11.4% (15th lowest)

39. Iowa

  • Firearm deaths per 100,000 people: 9.2 per 100,000
  • Total firearm deaths 2016: 288 (suicides: 228, homicides: 49)
  • Violent crime rate: 290.6 per 100,000 (16th lowest)
  • Permit required to carry handgun: Yes
  • Poverty rate: 11.8% (18th lowest)

38. New Hampshire

  • Firearm deaths per 100,000 people: 9.3 per 100,000
  • Total firearm deaths 2016: 132 (suicides: 123, homicides: N/A)
  • Violent crime rate: 197.6 per 100,000 (3rd lowest)
  • Permit required to carry handgun: No (A concealed handgun in the state does not require a permit. However, New Hampshire gun laws consider it illegal to carry a loaded handgun concealed on oneself or in a vehicle.)
  • Poverty rate: 7.3% (the lowest)

37. Delaware

  • Firearm deaths per 100,000 people: 10.9 per 100,000
  • Total firearm deaths 2016: 111 (suicides: 65, homicides: 44)
  • Violent crime rate: 508.8 per 100,000 (9th highest)
  • Permit required to carry handgun: Yes
  • Poverty rate: 11.7% (16th lowest)

36. Vermont

  • Firearm deaths per 100,000 people: 11.0 per 100,000
  • Total firearm deaths 2016: 78 (suicides: 69, homicides: N/A)
  • Violent crime rate: 158.3 per 100,000 (2nd lowest)
  • Permit required to carry handgun: No (Vermont does not issue permits nor require one for law-abiding citizens to carry concealed.)
  • Poverty rate: 11.9% (19th lowest)

35. Wisconsin

  • Firearm deaths per 100,000 people: 11.4 per 100,000
  • Total firearm deaths 2016: 664 (suicides: 455, homicides: 188)
  • Violent crime rate: 305.9 per 100,000 (20th lowest)
  • Permit required to carry handgun: Yes
  • Poverty rate: 11.8% (18th lowest)



34. Illinois
  • Firearm deaths per 100,000 people: 11.6 per 100,000
  • Total firearm deaths 2016: 1490 (suicides: 506, homicides: 944)
  • Violent crime rate: 436.3 per 100,000 (16th highest)
  • Permit required to carry handgun: FOID Required
  • Poverty rate: 13.0% (24th lowest)

33. Oregon

  • Firearm deaths per 100,000 people: 11.8 per 100,000
  • Total firearm deaths 2016: 513 (suicides: 414, homicides: 78)
  • Violent crime rate: 264.6 per 100,000 (14th lowest)
  • Permit required to carry handgun: Yes
  • Poverty rate: 13.3% (24th highest)

32. Maryland

  • Firearm deaths per 100,000 people: 11.8 per 100,000
  • Total firearm deaths 2016: 707 (suicides: 251, homicides: 436)
  • Violent crime rate: 472.0 per 100,000 (11th highest)
  • Permit required to carry handgun: Yes
  • Poverty rate: 9.7% (3rd lowest)

31. Pennsylvania

  • Firearm deaths per 100,000 people: 11.9 per 100,000
  • Total firearm deaths 2016: 1555 (suicides: 976, homicides: 538)
  • Violent crime rate: 316.4 per 100,000 (22nd lowest)
  • Permit required to carry handgun: Yes
  • Poverty rate: 12.9% (23rd lowest)

30. North Dakota

  • Firearm deaths per 100,000 people: 11.9 per 100,000
  • Total firearm deaths 2016: 90 (suicides: 75, homicides: N/A)
  • Violent crime rate: 251.1 per 100,000 (13th lowest)
  • Permit required to carry handgun: No
  • Poverty rate: 10.7% (10th lowest)

29. Virginia

  • Firearm deaths per 100,000 people: 12.0 per 100,000
  • Total firearm deaths 2016: 1049 (suicides: 671, homicides: 353)
  • Violent crime rate: 217.6 per 100,000 (4th lowest)
  • Permit required to carry handgun: Yes
  • Poverty rate: 11.0% (12th lowest)

28. Texas

  • Firearm deaths per 100,000 people: 12.1 per 100,000
  • Total firearm deaths 2016: 3353 (suicides: 2016, homicides: 1222)
  • Violent crime rate: 434.4 per 100,000 (17th highest)
  • Permit required to carry handgun: Yes
  • Poverty rate: 15.6% (12th highest)

27. Michigan

  • Firearm deaths per 100,000 people: 12.2 per 100,000
  • Total firearm deaths 2016: 1230 (suicides: 717, homicides: 482)
  • Violent crime rate: 459.0 per 100,000 (13th highest)
  • Permit required to carry handgun: Yes
  • Poverty rate: 15.0% (15th highest)

26. Florida

  • Firearm deaths per 100,000 people: 12.6 per 100,000
  • Total firearm deaths 2016: 2704 (suicides: 1672, homicides: 992)
  • Violent crime rate: 430.3 per 100,000 (18th highest)
  • Permit required to carry handgun: Yes
  • Poverty rate: 14.7% (16th highest)

25. Ohio

  • Firearm deaths per 100,000 people: 12.9 per 100,000
  • Total firearm deaths 2016: 1524 (suicides: 926, homicides: 557)
  • Violent crime rate: 300.3 per 100,000 (18th lowest)
  • Permit required to carry handgun: Yes
  • Poverty rate: 14.6% (18th highest)



24. Utah
  • Firearm deaths per 100,000 people: 12.9 per 100,000
  • Total firearm deaths 2016: 370 (suicides: 309, homicides: 48)
  • Violent crime rate: 242.8 per 100,000 (10th lowest)
  • Permit required to carry handgun: Yes (A criminal background check is conducted for all applicants)
  • Poverty rate: 10.2% (7th lowest)

23. Kansas

  • Firearm deaths per 100,000 people: 13.3 per 100,000
  • Total firearm deaths 2016: 383 (suicides: 257, homicides: 113)
  • Violent crime rate: 380.4 per 100,000 (22nd highest)
  • Permit required to carry handgun: No
  • Poverty rate: 12.1% (20th lowest)

22. South Dakota

  • Firearm deaths per 100,000 people: 13.5 per 100,000
  • Total firearm deaths 2016: 108 (suicides: 84, homicides: N/A)
  • Violent crime rate: 418.4 per 100,000 (19th highest)
  • Permit required to carry handgun: Yes
  • Poverty rate: 13.3% (24th highest)

21. North Carolina

  • Firearm deaths per 100,000 people: 13.6 per 100,000
  • Total firearm deaths 2016: 1409 (suicides: 788, homicides: 558)
  • Violent crime rate: 372.2 per 100,000 (25th highest)
  • Permit required to carry handgun: Yes
  • Poverty rate: 15.4% (13th highest)

20. Colorado

  • Firearm deaths per 100,000 people: 14.3 per 100,000
  • Total firearm deaths 2016: 812 (suicides: 613, homicides: 161)
  • Violent crime rate: 342.6 per 100,000 (23rd lowest)
  • Permit required to carry handgun: Yes (Weapon carried at home, business, hotel room, etc., must be in plain view)
  • Poverty rate: 11.0% (12th lowest)

19. Idaho

  • Firearm deaths per 100,000 people: 14.6 per 100,000
  • Total firearm deaths 2016: 242 (suicides: 215, homicides: N/A)
  • Violent crime rate: 230.3 per 100,000 (6th lowest)
  • Permit required to carry handgun: No (A permit to carry is available but not required to carry a handgun either openly or concealed.)
  • Poverty rate: 14.4% (19th highest)

18. Indiana

  • Firearm deaths per 100,000 people: 14.9 per 100,000
  • Total firearm deaths 2016: 997 (suicides: 591, homicides: 368)
  • Violent crime rate: 404.7 per 100,000 (20th highest)
  • Permit required to carry handgun: Yes
  • Poverty rate: 14.1% (21st highest)

17. Georgia

  • Firearm deaths per 100,000 people: 14.9 per 100,000
  • Total firearm deaths 2016: 1571 (suicides: 871, homicides: 653)
  • Violent crime rate: 397.6 per 100,000 (21st highest)
  • Permit required to carry handgun: Yes
  • Poverty rate: 16.0% (10th highest)

16. Arizona

  • Firearm deaths per 100,000 people: 15.2 per 100,000
  • Total firearm deaths 2016: 1094 (suicides: 755, homicides: 303)
  • Violent crime rate: 470.1 per 100,000 (12th highest)
  • Permit required to carry handgun: No (Citizens allowed to carry a concealed handgun with or without a permit.)
  • Poverty rate: 16.4% (8th highest)

15. Nevada

  • Firearm deaths per 100,000 people: 16.7 per 100,000
  • Total firearm deaths 2016: 498 (suicides: 334, homicides: 149)
  • Violent crime rate: 678.1 per 100,000 (3rd highest)
  • Permit required to carry handgun: Yes
  • Poverty rate: 13.8% (23rd highest)

 




14. Tennessee
  • Firearm deaths per 100,000 people: 17.0 per 100,000
  • Total firearm deaths 2016: 1148 (suicides: 675, homicides: 434)
  • Violent crime rate: 632.9 per 100,000 (4th highest)
  • Permit required to carry handgun: Yes
  • Poverty rate: 15.8% (11th highest)

13. Kentucky

  • Firearm deaths per 100,000 people: 17.5 per 100,000
  • Total firearm deaths 2016: 772 (suicides: 495, homicides: 234)
  • Violent crime rate: 232.3 per 100,000 (7th lowest)
  • Permit required to carry handgun: Yes
  • Poverty rate: 18.5% (4th highest)

12. West Virginia

  • Firearm deaths per 100,000 people: 17.5 per 100,000
  • Total firearm deaths 2016: 332 (suicides: 238, homicides: 78)
  • Violent crime rate: 358.1 per 100,000 (24th lowest)
  • Permit required to carry handgun: No (Permit to carry available, but not required to carry a handgun either openly or concealed for those 21 and over.)
  • Poverty rate: 17.9% (5th highest)

11. Wyoming

  • Firearm deaths per 100,000 people: 17.5 per 100,000
  • Total firearm deaths 2016: 101 (suicides: 87, homicides: N/A)
  • Violent crime rate: 244.2 per 100,000 (11th lowest)
  • Permit required to carry handgun: No (Wyoming residents do not have to obtain any type of permit/license from the state to exercise their Second Amendment rights.)
  • Poverty rate: 11.3% (14th lowest)

10. South Carolina

  • Firearm deaths per 100,000 people: 17.7 per 100,000
  • Total firearm deaths 2016: 891 (suicides: 525, homicides: 335)
  • Violent crime rate: 501.8 per 100,000 (10th highest)
  • Permit required to carry handgun: Yes
  • Poverty rate: 15.3% (14th highest)

9. Arkansas

  • Firearm deaths per 100,000 people: 17.7 per 100,000
  • Total firearm deaths 2016: 541 (suicides: 331, homicides: 182)
  • Violent crime rate: 550.9 per 100,000 (6th highest)
  • Permit required to carry handgun: Yes
  • Poverty rate: 17.2% (6th highest)

8. New Mexico

  • Firearm deaths per 100,000 people: 18.2 per 100,000
  • Total firearm deaths 2016: 383 (suicides: 243, homicides: 113)
  • Violent crime rate: 702.5 per 100,000 (2nd highest)
  • Permit required to carry handgun: Yes
  • Poverty rate: 19.8% (3rd highest)

7. Missouri

  • Firearm deaths per 100,000 people: 18.8 per 100,000
  • Total firearm deaths 2016: 1144 (suicides: 650, homicides: 464)
  • Violent crime rate: 519.4 per 100,000 (8th highest)
  • Permit required to carry handgun: No
  • Poverty rate: 14.0% (22nd highest)

6. Montana

  • Firearm deaths per 100,000 people: 19.0 per 100,000
  • Total firearm deaths 2016: 194 (suicides: 162, homicides: N/A)
  • Violent crime rate: 368.3 per 100,000 (25th lowest)
  • Permit required to carry handgun: Yes (A permit to carry concealed is not needed outside limits of cities or towns.)
  • Poverty rate: 13.3% (24th highest)

5. Oklahoma

  • Firearm deaths per 100,000 people: 19.6 per 100,000
  • Total firearm deaths 2016: 766 (suicides: 517, homicides: 238)
  • Violent crime rate: 449.8 per 100,000 (14th highest)
  • Permit required to carry handgun: Yes
  • Poverty rate: 16.3% (9th highest)

4. Mississippi

  • Firearm deaths per 100,000 people: 19.8 per 100,000
  • Total firearm deaths 2016: 587 (suicides: 268, homicides: 282)
  • Violent crime rate: 280.5 per 100,000 (15th lowest)
  • Permit required to carry handgun: No (A permit to carry can be obtained, but it is not required to carry a handgun either openly or concealed.)
  • Poverty rate: 20.8% (the highest)

3. Louisiana

  • Firearm deaths per 100,000 people: 21.2 per 100,000
  • Total firearm deaths 2016: 987 (suicides: 440, homicides: 526)
  • Violent crime rate: 566.1 per 100,000 (5th highest)
  • Permit required to carry handgun: Yes
  • Poverty rate: 20.2% (2nd highest)

2. Alabama

  • Firearm deaths per 100,000 people: 21.4 per 100,000
  • Total firearm deaths 2016: 1046 (suicides: 550, homicides: 454)
  • Violent crime rate: 532.3 per 100,000 (7th highest)
  • Permit required to carry handgun: Yes
  • Poverty rate: 17.1% (7th highest)

1. Alaska

  • Firearm deaths per 100,000 people: 23.0 per 100,000
  • Total firearm deaths 2016: 177 (suicides: 113, homicides: 45)
  • Violent crime rate: 804.2 per 100,000 (the highest)
  • Permit required to carry handgun: No
  • Poverty rate: 9.9% (6th lowest)

Detailed findings and methodology

Democrats have criticized the restrictions enacted in 1996 following intense lobbying by groups such as the National Rifle Association. Republicans have been able to thwart Democrats’ attempts to restore federal dollars to fund gun violence research. CDC researchers stopped working on gun-related projects, and federal funding evaporated.
While the Trump administration has indicated in the wake of the Florida shooting that it may be shifting position on funding CDC research of gun violence, studying gun violence in the United States remains relatively difficult.






Some associations can be made with data that are available. For example, even though rapidly firing weapons such as the AR-15 have been the weapon of choice in recent mass shootings, the majority of gun-related fatalities involve handguns.
The similarities of states with the highest firearm-related death rates can also be telling. For example, the states with the highest gun death rates are often the states with relatively loose gun restrictions.
Thirty-eight states and the District of Columbia require a permit to carry a handgun. Of the 12 states that allow individuals to carry concealed weapons (CCW) in public without a permit — Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming — eight report above-average firearm death rates.
Over the past three decades, many states have loosened laws limiting concealed carry weapons permits and now have more permissive CCW permitting systems.
With the notable exception of Alaska, such states also tend to be among the nation’s poorest. Of the 33 states with firearm death rates that exceed the national incidence of 11.73 deaths per 100,000 people, 19 have poverty rates that exceed the national rate of 14.0%.
Financial losses are listed by the CDC and other groups as among the key risk factors for suicide. Concentrated poverty may therefore help explain high suicide death rates, and in turn the high firearm death rates, in many of the states on this list.
To determine the states with the most gun violence, 24/7 Wall St. examined 2016 firearm-related deaths data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We also considered violent crime rates from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s 2016 Uniform Crime Report. From the U.S. Census Bureau we reviewed poverty rates by state for 2016. Information on firearm policies for each state are from the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action.
24/7 Wall Street is a USA TODAY content partner offering financial news and commentary. Its content is produced independently of USA TODAY.