A Dutch comedy segment shows what the world thinks about the U.S. and guns.

When it comes to gun violence, the rest of the world looks at the United States and asks itself, "WTF?"

Despite that Americans make up less than 5% of the world's population, we account for nearly a third of all mass shootings and own 42% of all guns worldwide. According to the Gun Violence Archive, 15,586 people died as the result of gun violence (including suicides) in 2017, giving us a per capita rate of gun deaths eight times higher than Canada, 32 times higher than Germany, and 55 times higher than the United Kingdom.

Our unwillingness to address this problem has made us a laughingstock to the rest of the world. While people will point to things like mental health or video games as possible causes of gun violence, it's clear that those aren't the issue because every other country has the same video games and comparable rates of mental illness.


The problem is, and always has been, our national obsession with guns. A Dutch late night TV program gave us the comedic reckoning we needed.

In October 2017, Dutch TV show "Sunday with Lubach" aired a fake public service announcement to help bring attention to the "devastating humanitarian crisis is threatening a small country on the coast of North America: the United States of America." The name of that crisis? Nonsensical Rifle Addiction, or NRA for short.

GIFs from Sunday With Lubach/YouTube.

"Scientists still can't explain why, but while it's spreading like wildfire throughout the U.S., NRA seems unable to cross the ocean or the Canadian border," says a somber voiceover announcer.

The video jokingly boasts of plans to help those afflicted with NRA, like Nonsensical Rifle Addiction Anonymous (NRAA) or humanitarian missions to drop "water, blankets, facts, insights, statistics, and truth bombs" on America.

The rest of the world sees the issue, so why can't we? Actually, many of us do. It's the politicians who don't.

In fairness, many Americans do see the issue, but feel powerless to make a change. The Onion, a popular satirical website, has spent years taking jabs at politicians and their insistence that there's nothing worth trying, running the headline "'No Way To Prevent This,' Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens" whenever there's a mass shooting.

The truth is that the majority of Americans do think we need to change our laws. According to The New York Times, 89% of Americans are in favor of universal background checks for gun buyers, 85% support banning people who've been convicted of a violent crime from owning guns, 79% believe gun owners should have to obtain a license, 78% favor a three-day waiting period before purchasing a gun, and 67% approve of a ban on so-called assault weapons.

If you believe that change is needed, you're not alone. That's why it's that much more important that you contact your elected officials and demand they take action on this issue. It's time we stopped being a punchline for the rest of the world.

Watch the "Sunday With Lubach" segment about Nonsensical Rifle Addiction below.

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

Ready for the weekend? Of course, you are. Here's our weekly dose of good vibes to help you shed the stresses of the workweek and put yourself in a great frame of mind.

These 10 stories made us happy this week because they feature amazing creativity, generosity, and one super-cute fish.

1. Diver befriends a fish with the cutest smile

Hawaiian underwater photographer Yuki Nakano befriended a friendly porcupine fish and now they hang out regularly.

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