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World
20 Jan 2018

Suicides, mass shootings, gun violence: America after the dream

America: The dream, the reality and the people

Thirteen siblings aged 2-29 years were found emaciated, chained and padlocked in their California home by the police on January 14. They had been held captive, starved and tortured by their biological parents for months.

It's the latest in the ever-growing list of bizarre, violent incidents plaguing the US. Has America, in its mad quest for wealth, reached the point of no return?

In context

America: The dream, the reality and the people
What was the American Dream?

The ideal

What was the American Dream?

When the phrase was first used by writer James Truslow Adams in his 1931 book 'The American Epic', the American Dream represented the idea of an egalitarian nation where everyone had an equal shot at a "better, richer and fuller" life "according to ability or achievement."

However, over the years, Americans dropped better and fuller, and soon it became only about richer.

Unilateral growth

Americans are wealthy. But are they happy?

According to Credit Suisse, as of 2017 one in every 20 Americans is a millionaire. But, does that imply happiness? Certainly, not.

As of 2015, the divorce rate was 16.9 per 1,000 among women older than 15.

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US, with about 123 Americans killing themselves each day, claims the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

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Guns kill more than they save. America knows, painfully so

Violence

Guns kill more than they save. America knows, painfully so

In addition, the US, notably, has 4.4% of the world's population, but about half of the civilian-owned firearms.

Over 15,575 Americans were killed and 31,163 injured in 61,411 gun-violence related incidents in 2017 alone.

One such was Las Vegas mass-shooting on October 1, 2017. 59 were killed, at least 527 injured by an American with "no religious, political affiliation," someone who "just hung out."

Danger signs everywhere

American crisis isn't personal anymore. It's a national emergency

Several complex, overarching reasons are responsible for the emergence of the anchorless, neo-liberal 21st century America - broken family structures, unfulfilling friendships/relationships, all-pervasive individualism, and insidious, mind-numbing loneliness.

Americans are increasingly taking to violence to express deep-seated frustrations from chasing a dream they gravely misunderstood.

Questions loom large, but is violence the answer? America needs saving first. It can be made great another time.

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