Home > Critical Thinking, Current Affairs, Dystopia, Musings, Philosophy sans Sophistry, Reason, Secular Religions, Skepticism > Mass Shootings Occur in USA Because It is a Third-World Country

Mass Shootings Occur in USA Because It is a Third-World Country

Regular readers of my blog would be aware that I have written numerous posts on the causes of mass shootings in USA (link 1, link 2, link 3) as well as the futility of gun control (link 4, link 5) in this country. While I encourage you to read the above linked posts, as well as others on related topics, we often keep coming back to the same question- Why are mass shootings and incidents of gun-related violence common in USA but almost unheard of in other first-world countries? Why is the USA so.. exceptional?

Well.. the headline of this post does provide a very brief answer to that question. Moreover, I am not the first to make the connection between socio-economic conditions in this country and mass shootings. Over a decade ago, Mark Ames wrote a reasonably well-known book on that topic. To make a long story short, he makes the case that social atomization and alienation combined with extreme capitalism, an inadequate social safety net and a system which takes pride in crapping on its arbitrarily chosen “losers” are the perfect conditions for creating spree killers with nothing to lose.

One of my older posts on this topic (link 6) put forth the idea that post-1980 USA is far closer to being a third-world banana republic that most supposedly “serious people” are willing to acknowledge. In the remainder of this post, I will develop that idea further and show you how USA is a third-world country, in all but name, for its median citizens. But before we go there, let us briefly talk about what I mean by terms like ‘first-world country’ and ‘third-world country’. While some believe that those labels correlate with skin pigmentation of people who reside in those countries, the reality is rather different.

First world countries are defined by the quality of life enjoyed by their median resident, as are third world countries. For example- Japan, South Korea, France, Germany etc are seen as first world countries because of the high quality of life for their median residents. Living in such countries is characterized by things such as excellent universal healthcare, fairly stable and well-paying jobs for the majority of its residents, reasonably good formal and informal social safety nets and an overall lack of extremely poor and desperate people. In other words, life for the median resident in these countries is very good and even the less fortunate are doing better than treading water.

Now contrast this to the overall quality of life in countries such as Mexico, Brazil, India and yes.. USA. While these countries have no shortage of billionaires and lesser rich people with fabulous lifestyles- things are pretty shitty for their median residents. Most people in these countries have precarious jobs and livelihoods which often do not pay enough for the ever-increasing costs of sub-standard housing, healthcare and education. The government in these countries work solely for the benefit of the rich minority and does not provide adequate social goods such as healthcare, education, housing, sanitation or a usable social safety net.

Then there is the issue of state-sponsored or abetted repression and murder of its residents. First world countries tend to have very low rates of incarceration, favor restorative justice over revenge-based version and are not full of militarized police who go about robbing, raping and shooting the people they are supposed to protect. In contrast to that, third-world countries often have high rates of incarceration (for non-rich people), a justice system that is basically useless to average people and cops who act as if they are the law. Channeling money and power from everyone else to a few rich people is the main function of legal systems in third-world countries.

But what does any of this have to with the unusually high frequency of mass shootings in USA? And how is it connected to the certain failure of attempts at gun control in USA.

Let us compare rates of homicide by guns in USA versus other countries. If you follow this link, and go to the column titled ‘Homicides’ you will see that most first-world countries have very low rates (below 1 per 100,000 persons/ year) of such incidents compared to USA (almost 4 per 100,000/ year). Some of you might see this as an argument for gun control. But wait.. have a look at the rates of homicide by guns for Mexico (6-7 per 100,000/ year) and Brazil (20 per 100,000/ year). I should remind you that both of these countries have far stricter regulations for gun ownership than USA, and yet.. both have very high of rates of gun-related homicides. But why?

Why do tough gun control laws in first-world countries seem to correlate with low rates of gun-related homicides but have basically no effect on that rate in third-world countries? Also where do people in those countries get their guns from? The answer to the first question is linked to understanding why anybody would kill someone else, in the first place. The vast majority of people with stable, comfortable and secure lives have too much invested in maintaining the status quo to go around killing other people. People living precarious lives with little to no hope for a better future, on the other hand, have nothing to lose by breaking the rules.

Now apply that concept to attempts at gun control in USA. Do you really think that passing inane laws restricting scary-looking guns is going to change the overall downward trajectory for the average person in USA? Is it going to provide them with freedom from worrying about medical bills, housing costs, student loans etc? Is it going to provide them with stable, well-paying jobs or livelihoods? Is it going to change how american social system treats its non-rich members? To summarize, creating socio-economic conditions similar to third-world countries will always results in replication of other less savory statistics from those countries.

And by the way, most privately owned guns found in those countries were either “lost” from government arsenals or procured from some place half-way around the world. Are you so sure that something along those lines would not occur in USA in the aftermath of attempts at gun control?

What do you think? Comments?

  1. P Ray
    February 22, 2018 at 6:49 pm

    he makes the case that social atomization and alienation combined with extreme capitalism, an inadequate social safety net and a system which takes pride in crapping on its arbitrarily chosen “losers” are the perfect conditions for creating spree killers with nothing to lose.
    The easiest way to do this is with women and girls calling regular guys “creeps” and “predatory”. It only takes an unoccupied mouth for them to do that.
    But of course, women are the oppressed ones, lol.

    • February 25, 2018 at 12:29 pm


      And, if that idea is implemented, wait for the media sensationalism and public outrage the first time or two a student manages to obtain a teacher’s gun, especially after a teacher, somewhere, sometime, inevitably neglects to properly store/secure it.

      Although I won’t own, don’t own, nor have ever owned firearms, I support US citizens’ 2nd Amendment right to own them, within my recognition of the ambiguity of interpreting the wording of the text (which ambiguity, I suspect, was deliberate — the constitutional framers disagreed about many issues among themselves and seemed to have employed ambiguity throughout the document in order to allow enough interpretational room for everyone to ratify it).

      That said, I see this “arm-the-teachers” tactic (assuming for a moment that it’s at least partially sincere and not wholly a political posture) as more squeezing-the-balloon. Squeezing a balloon at one place merely causes it to expand at another place. Sure, this tactic might prevent some firearm tragedies, but, inevitably, it’ll cause other tragedies.

      • P Ray
        February 25, 2018 at 9:06 pm

        The other fun permutation to this plan is if a teacher … kills another teacher’s child … then the other teacher kills them.
        Gonna take “Mean Girls” to a totally new level, maybe like the new “Heathers” series.

    • P Ray
      March 16, 2018 at 3:52 am

      Ah, the first dopey teacher has turned up. Didn’t take long, did it!
      California teacher accidentally fires gun in class, injures students
      Updated Mar 14; Posted Mar 14
      SEASIDE, California — A teacher leading a high school course in gun safety accidentally fired a shot from a handgun in a classroom, with three students suffering minor injuries.

      Proves my experience in New Zealand, really – the people wanting to become teachers at university were the dumbest and lacked impulse control – and that seems to be happening in this incident too. Looks like the world is flat!
      In my experience, those would-be-teachers … didn’t even understand what fractions were!

      • March 20, 2018 at 5:11 am

        The accident would be hilarious if it wasn’t near-tragic. But, yep, unsurprisingly inevitable and predictable.

        LOL…you wanna invest in my opportunistic retail scheme? I plan on marketing bulletproof schoolchildren’s clothing — “Kevlar For Kids — ‘cuz, bullets can be your child’s meanest bullies!”

  2. Shiningtime
    February 23, 2018 at 1:45 pm

    I partially agree. Desperation and hopelessness are definitely precursors to a mass shooter, but there are other issues as well. Mental illness is a big one. After all, the Vegas shooter was quite wealthy, along with the Columbine shooters. Adam Lanza lived in one of the nicest suburbs in Western CT.

    A large segment of America mentally ill and they aren’t getting the requisite help. Couple that with drugs/pharmaceuticals and easy access to killing tools and we have this scourge. The reality is guns need to be harder to own, especially military style weapons.

  3. Anon1
    February 24, 2018 at 7:54 pm

    I also have a theory that distressed economic conditions help drive SJW-like political radicalization. This seems to be happening at universities as the economic conditions for adjunct professors get more dire and the student loan burden of students keeps increasing.

    • P Ray
      February 25, 2018 at 9:10 pm

      Grants and stipends are only given to the most “ardent” believers of our new religions e.g. Feminism and Environmentalism.
      So naturally the fanatics will be the most visible.
      But as RooshV points out, such belief systems trickle down to everyone else and make relationships a misery – and it’s usually women that are the most visible believers, for 2 reasons:
      1. they’re more photogenic for the news and
      2. many men in higher education, if they’re not the teachers – and thus get pussy easily – become the pussy beggars.

  4. hoipolloi
    February 24, 2018 at 8:02 pm

    @AD: “…post-1980 USA is far closer to being a third-world banana republic that most supposedly “serious people” are willing to acknowledge.”

    To his credit candidate Trump said that much during campaign. One rarely hears about mass shootings and things of that sort in a third world country like India. But in Pakistan yes.

  5. Oscar C.
    February 26, 2018 at 5:27 am

    From my southern European perspective, I think America works well for those in the professions; for instance, doctors. A doctor here in our socialized healthcare makes a decent living, but just that. Decent for his education level. No way he will make 6 figures.

    The European welfare systems sort of punish those well educated (but makes higher ed very cheap as well). Aside from the UK, we don’t have the expensive Ivy-type elite establishments that guarantee high earnings later.

    I have never been to the US, and I would like to travel some day to check by myself how prices and wages are, because the idea I get from what I read on the Internet is that you should be way richer than us. Those McMansions, 401k funds, retiring at 50 stuff… almost nobody can afford that in Europe.

    In Spain, the most common salary is €1000 a month (includes healthcare). In the big towns, a movie ticket goes for nearly €10 now. Rent is at least €500 a month in medium cities, hitting €1000 in Madrid and Barcelona by now. Unemployment is at 16%. 60% of people around 30 live with their parents. Etc.

    To any Americans here. Say you are 23 and you have a law degree from a non-elite public university. Can you quickly find a job that allows you to be independent? I am very curious by these differences in socioeconomic reality.

  6. Leon
    April 11, 2018 at 9:32 am

    What do you mean by “third world?” In the Western Three Worlds model, the US & UK and their allies are the first world, the Soviet Union and China and their allies are the second world, and the non-aligned countries are the third world (including counties like Sweden and Finland). In the Maoist Three Worlds Theory, the first world is the USA and USSR (superpowers), the second world consists of developing countries, and the third world are the hyper exploited countries. In common parlance, it seems “third world” is something akin to poverty-stricken or backward, which is closer to the Maoist theory. Other developed nations are more heavily influenced by socialism than the USA. That’s why their people are more sane. In the USA, socialism is an evil, and a lot of effort is spent trying to convince people that all of their problems are 100% their own making. That’s a recipe for psychological breakdown for sure.

    • P Ray
      April 11, 2018 at 9:39 am

      The model of self-reliance and the individual as the source of their own problems (and rugged individualism as the answer) came around the 80’s with the rise of actors like Clint Eastwood, Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Mel Gibson.

      Even Nixon for all his faults was favourable towards a social safety net in the US.

  7. P Ray
    August 26, 2018 at 1:58 pm

    Investigators said that “no outstanding suspects” remains, and noted a suspect, only identified as a white male, was found dead at the scene. It was not immediately clear whether that suspect was among the four reported killed.
    That guy must have been a “gunman” amirite?

    Superb. So now they’re going to profile incels, gamers, MGTOW, MRA, PUA …

    there’s just two groups they’ve left out, indicating they do understand the problem is one of looks and acceptance: … the CHADs and women.

    Of course, when CHAD/women then proceed to have anger management problems because they were never told ‘No’ … we will be asked to “understand” them and “pray for their families” LOL.

  8. P Ray
    August 3, 2019 at 4:17 pm

    PICTURED: Walmart gunman Patrick Crusius, 21, who opened fire with an AK47 assault rifle in Texas ‘killing at least 19 and injuring at least 40’ before SWAT dramatically swooped and arrested him
    Terrifying footage shows a man desperately hiding under a table during the Walmart shooting in El Paso that left ‘multiple people’ dead
    ‘God be with you all’: President Trump offers his condolences on Twitter and posts about the ‘terrible shootings’ at the El Paso Walmart, saying ‘reports are very bad, many killed’
    At least 19 people were reportedly killed and at least 22 others, including a four-month-old baby, were wounded on Saturday after a gunman reportedly opened fire inside a Walmart in El Paso. One suspect is in custody. He has been identified in press reports as Patrick Crusius (center), a 21-year-old man from Dallas. Crusius is allegedly the man seen in surveillance footage walking in through the front entrance of the Walmart with an AK-47 assault rifle. The gunman is seen wearing what appears to be either headphones or ear defenders. Law enforcement sources told The Washington Examiner that Crusius ‘shot and killed locals that were fundraising outside the Walmart selling water. Children and adults.’ El Paso Mayor Dee Margo confirmed that there were multiple fatalities. The image on the top right shows panicked shoppers at the nearby Cielo Vista Mall in El Paso. Two survivors who were shopping at the mall are seen bottom right. A shopper with blood stains on her clothing is seen in the image on the left.

    Looks like those good people in Texas forgot to pack their own guns. A person is only able to get away with shooting many others at close range … when those other people don’t have guns.
    Of course, people of colour are usually arrested before they can get to this stage, which is why gun violence against a large number of people … will always be white.

    It’s starting to look like the people who design and administer societies … want each race to have a unique selling proposition, the White one seems to be gun violence.

  1. March 4, 2018 at 10:19 am
  2. March 25, 2018 at 9:11 am
  3. August 3, 2019 at 10:33 pm

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