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.

True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.