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American Exceptionalism?

It is all too easy to get tangled up in heated rhetoric, accusation, and tweets, and especially so when tragedy strikes. This has been the case with virtually every recent mass shooting in the United States...much heat, little light, virtually no public policy response to these tragedies.

One way to try to make sense of this world is to engage in comparison: how different are we from the rest of the world? The response to that question implies that once we understand the answer, we can do something about issues that are harming our well being.

The chart below is a classic example of such comparison. It highlights American "exceptionalism" in a context where we don't want to be all that unique. It also suggests that we must move on the public policy front or risk the danger of becoming complacent to this blight on society.

The chart comes from the New York Times, and was retrieved from the front page on November 7th, 2017.

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