Sunday, December 08, 2013

why is violent crime so rare in Iceland? Evangelii Gaudium may have an answer


uscatholic | Earlier this week I read at the BBC about an incident in Iceland and mentally filed it in the category “Stories you’ll never see in the United States.”  From the report: "Icelandic police have shot dead a man who was firing a shotgun in his apartment in the early hours of Monday. It is the first time someone has been killed in an armed police operation in Iceland, officials say."

I had to stop and read it again. The first time someone has been killed in an armed police operation…ever? That couldn’t be right. The article does go on to say that indeed, the incident is “without precedent” in Iceland.

Intrigued, I clicked on a related link that sought to explain “Why violent crime is so rare in Iceland.” I had no idea just how rare. A 2009 United Nations report on homicides lists the following numbers of homicides per country: Brazil - 43,909; United States - 15,24; Iceland – 1. One homicide in an entire year!

Certainly, there are many differences between the United States and Iceland. But as the report pointed out, the reason for the lack of violent crime is not due to a lack of guns--there are actually an estimated 90,000 guns in a country of 300,000 people. The biggest contributing factor? “There is virtually no difference among upper, middle, and lower classes in Iceland," explains the article. "And with that, tension between economic classes is non-existent, a rare occurrence for any country….A study…found only 1.1% of participants identified themselves as upper class, while 1.5% saw themselves as lower class.”

The situation in Iceland came to my mind as I’ve been reading more of Pope Francis’ Evangelii Gaudium. One of the quotes from the recent exhortation says: "When a society--whether local, national, or global--is willing to leave a part of itself on the fringes, no political programs or resources spent on law enforcement or surveillance systems can indefinitely guarantee tranquility" (59). The pontiff clarifies: It’s not because people who are excluded from systems are provoked to violence; the main issue here is that the system itself is unjust.

It certainly seems that in Iceland, where there are fewer people on the fringes, there seems to be a great deal more tranquility than in the United States, with our huge divide between the wealthiest the poorest, and increasing economic segregation. “How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?” Pope Francis asks. Will we ever see a day when the system shifts? It’s hard to tell, but if it does, it could help pave the way toward a more peaceful tomorrow.

9 comments:

umbrarchist said...

There are usually at least three sides. It seems very often there are facts that people on both of the two sides do not want everyone to know. If the sides are big enough there is even information hiding within them.


So we have long and great debates based on mostly misinformation.

CNu said...

Even in a country where Dunbar's number must really mean something, it's possible for the abject corruption of the bankster parasites to gain not merely a foothold, but to actually build a dominating stronghold nearly sufficient to enslave the entire Icelandic people. These are highly educated, self-sufficient, tightly knit people with the oldest and most interesting democracy in the world, and they came within a hair's breadth of enslavement. The playbook is indeed here, but I suspect that even for those in the U.S. and the rest of Europe who are capable of reading this playbook, they're not collectively capable of implementing it.

As a specific f'zample, why in the world do you suppose the pilonidal confederacy and its teatardic leadership has failed to seize upon the example of the successful Icelandic escape?

Vic78 said...

If the aware were working together on a long term plan progress is possible. I doubt it'd be on the level of what happened in Iceland. Such a group would be marginalized quickly. I'll say that a mastermind group of around 200 dispersed throughout the country can make something happen. In about ten years the group would be unstoppable.

Rewriting the Constitution makes sense to me. It was ratified in 1788. Since it's 2013 updating it wouldn't be a bad idea. Jefferson thought we should have a new one every 20 years. I doubt they could've foreseen today's challenges. I would get behind it, but we have too many troglodytes among us. I have no interest in compromising with bigots. Another problem is that too many Americans treat the founding fathers like deity.

ken said...

I wish there was a way to make a real comparison. Iceland has 3 people for every 7.5 square miles and there total population is 330,000. I think if you take certain areas of the US with populations about as equally sparse, you find the stats comparable, Looking at this link, if you take away traffic violations it still seems 5300 people per 100,000 people running up against the law in a low population area like this doesn't seem so stellar. And this was 2006, I betting if I found more recent stats this would be worse. http://www.logreglan.is/default.asp?cat_id=1214

John Kurman said...

Sure, Wyoming is pretty close, and the stats are also close...except for suicide, and drug abuse, and domestic violence, and rapes, and... death by spatula.

Wyoming: highest firearms suicide rate in the nation. In 2009, 23.2 per 100,000. Iceland: 1.25 per 100,000. USA wins again!

ken said...

Maybe people are happy in Wyoming, and according to this study they also must be happy in Iceland.


"The research confirmed a little known and seemingly puzzling fact: many happy countries have unusually high rates of suicide. This observation has been made from time to time about individual nations, especially in the case of Denmark. This new research found that a range of nations -- including: Canada, the United States, Iceland, Ireland and Switzerland, display relatively high happiness levels and yet also have high suicide rates."


http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110421082641.htm



If your stats are right, Iceland must be using other methods to kill themselves. Maybe guns are too messy for them. By the way they run about 18 per 100,000, while the US is at 19 per 100,000.

John Kurman said...

Rationalize it how you want. Maybe do some followup research on why some happy countries like the US of A beat their children to death with spatulas, while other countries, like Iceland, do not?

Vic78 said...

Iceland's a tad higher evolved than the US. All the proof is in the video. If you watch the video and still can't tell the difference, there isn't a whole lot of hope for you.

Vic78 said...

Here's what being on the dumb shit costs: http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/tpp-talks-stalled-121013.

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