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.

[rebelmouse-image 19476928 dam="1" original_size="500x221" caption="GIFs from Sunday With Lubach/YouTube." expand=1]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.

Moricz was banned from speaking up about LGBTQ topics. He found a brilliant workaround.

Senior class president Zander Moricz was given a fair warning: If he used his graduation speech to criticize the “Don’t Say Gay” law, then his microphone would be shut off immediately.

Moricz had been receiving a lot of attention for his LGBTQ activism prior to the ceremony. Moricz, an openly gay student at Pine View School for the Gifted in Florida, also organized student walkouts in protest and is the youngest public plaintiff in the state suing over the law formally known as the Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-3.

Though well beyond third grade, Moricz nevertheless was also banned from speaking up about the law, gender or sexuality. The 18-year-old tweeted, “I am the first openly-gay Class President in my school’s history–this censorship seems to show that they want me to be the last.”

However, during his speech, Moricz still delivered a powerful message about identity. Even if he did have to use a clever metaphor to do it.

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Matthew McConaughey in 2019.

Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey made a heartfelt plea for Americans to “do better” on Tuesday after a gunman murdered 19 children and 2 adults at Robb Elementary School in his hometown of Uvalde, Texas.

Uvalde is a small town of about 16,000 residents approximately 85 miles west of San Antonio. The actor grew up in Uvalde until he was 11 years old when his family moved to Longview, 430 miles away.

The suspected murderer, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, was killed by law enforcement at the scene of the crime. Before the rampage, Ramos allegedly shot his grandmother after a disagreement.

“As you all are aware there was another mass shooting today, this time in my home town of Uvalde, Texas,” McConaughey wrote in a statement shared on Twitter. “Once again, we have tragically proven that we are failing to be responsible for the rights our freedoms grant us.”

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Joy

50-years ago they trade a grilled cheese for a painting. Now it's worth a small fortune.

Irene and Tony Demas regularly traded food at their restaurant in exchange for crafts. It paid off big time.

Photo by Gio Bartlett on Unsplash

Painting traded for grilled cheese worth thousands.

The grilled cheese at Irene and Tony Demas’ restaurant was truly something special. The combination of freshly baked artisan bread and 5-year-old cheddar was enough to make anyone’s mouth water, but no one was nearly as devoted to the item as the restaurant’s regular, John Kinnear.

Kinnear loved the London, Ontario restaurant's grilled cheese so much that he ordered it every single day, though he wouldn’t always pay for it in cash. The Demases were well known for bartering their food in exchange for odds and ends from local craftspeople and merchants.

“Everyone supported everyone back then,” Irene told the Guardian, saying that the couple would often trade free soup and a sandwich for fresh flowers. Two different kinds of nourishment, you might say.

And so, in the 1970s the Demases made a deal with Kinnear that he could pay them for his grilled cheese sandwiches with artwork. Being a painter himself and part of an art community, Kinnear would never run out of that currency.

Little did Kinnear—or anyone—know, eventually he would give the Demases a painting worth an entire lifetime's supply of grilled cheeses. And then some.

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