America is great if you can avoid the guns, drugs and politics

Try telling Americans this is the nuttiest country in the history of the world and they’ll tell you how great it is.

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Flowers adorn a makeshift memorial near the scene of a mass shooting at a shopping complex Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in El Paso, Texas.

AP Photo/John Locher

This column is about one of the craziest nations in the history of the world.

The United States of America.

According to the people who live here, it is one the richest countries in the world. And it has the most political freedom — and it’s the greatest country ever.

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Yet, really angry individuals routinely walk into a church, school, movie theater, night club or Walmart and shoot people.

Another 70,000 people a year kill themselves using pain killers

In addition to the mass shootings, in Chicago alone last weekend, 46 people were shot. These were not hate crimes. Just folks shooting their friends, neighbors, relatives and strangers. 

About 1,600 people have been shot in Chicago this year, including 300 who were murdered. The police superintendent says the laws aren’t tough enough.

There are 2.3 million people in prisons in America. That’s more people in prisons than in Russia, China or any other country in the world. About one-fifth of those people are in prison on drug-related charges.

We are a great country that really loves narcotics. The United States is the largest consumer of illegal narcotics in the world, spending hundreds of billions of dollars on them each year. 

Yet, if you try telling Americans they are nuttier than any group of people in the history of the world they will tell you that is not true. They will tell you how great everything is in this country.

And there is a lot of really good stuff in the United States.

Yet, millions of our countrymen will tell you that their fellow Americans are racists and bigots. There are millions of our fellow Americans willing to believe their fellow Americans are socialists out to destroy the country.

White nationalists believe they have to wage war against all the people of color in this country to save it from disaster. Your neighbors may believe illegal immigrants are crossing the border to take their jobs and their lives. 

Many Americans believe President Donald Trump is trying to destroy the country. There are many Americans who believe Barack Obama tried to destroy the country when he was president.

But almost no one believes this country has lost its collective mind.

It’s guns, they will tell you. It’s the criminal element, they will say, as if that “criminal element” were from another planet and has nothing to do with the rest of us.

It’s the music, the movies, video games, computers.

The news is fake. But “The Bachelorette” is real.

Maybe it’s Trump. Naw. He’s just being Trump, the guy we elected president of the United States.

How did so many people come to believe that Trump was the best hope to restore America’s greatness? How is it that the entire Republican Party has come to agree with them?

That is desperation. That is a sign something is very wrong. That is a cry for help.

People from other countries are willing to risk their lives and their children’s lives to get here. This is a wonderful place to live. The greatest country in history.

Yet, mass murders occur with regularity. People in Chicago shoot each other every day. Millions of people are taking drugs to kill their pain. We are putting our fellow countrymen in prison in record numbers.

How could this happen? 

That’s what people always ask after a tragedy. They cry in anguish. Then they create a memorial with pretty flowers and stuffed animals and walk away. It is a form of madness.


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