15 Dec


A North Korean doctor, starving, decides to gamble on leaving her country. She doesn’t believe it’s any better outside. Has been told over and over again that it isn’t. But has to do something. Which leads to this stunning moment of cognitive dissonance:

Dr Kim looked down a dirt road that led to farmhouses. Most of them had walls around them with metal gates. She tried one; it turned out to be unlocked. She pushed it open and peered inside. On the ground she saw a small metal bowl with food. She looked closer – it was rice, white rice, mixed with scraps of meat. Dr Kim couldn’t remember the last time she’d seen a bowl of pure white rice. What was a bowl of rice doing there, just sitting out on the ground? She figured it out just before she heard the dog’s bark.

Up until that moment, a part of her had hoped that China would be just as poor as North Korea. She still wanted to believe that her country was the best place in the world. The beliefs she had cherished for a lifetime would be vindicated. But now she couldn’t deny what was staring her plainly in the face: dogs in China ate better than doctors in North Korea.

From, Nothing to Envy: Real Lives in North Korea.

Until the moment where she saw it, she couldn’t believe this was true.

That’s what a lifetime of exceptionalism does.

I find that sometimes, when talking to someone who believes something against all facts on the ground, I can’t stop thinking about that quote, that little story above.

This is rice.

People claim Israel and Switzerland are ‘gun toting utopias,’ but this is rice:

Israel and Switzerland are often mentioned as countries that prove that high rates of gun ownership don’t necessarily lead to high rates of gun crime. In fact, I wrote that on Friday. But you say your research shows that’s not true.
Janet Rosenbaum: First of all, because they don’t have high levels of gun ownership. The gun ownership in Israel and Switzerland has decreased.

For instance, in Israel, they’re very limited in who is able to own a gun. There are only a few tens of thousands of legal guns in Israel, and the only people allowed to own them legally live in the settlements, do business in the settlements, or are in professions at risk of violence.

In China, 22 people were attacked. But recovered. Because a knife isn’t a gun. That’s false equivalency. And that is rice.

In the US, tens of thousands die from gun-related violence, and in Japan, 2-20. That is rice.

1997 rice:


Rice by state:




But what will it take to bring that moment of crashing reality that the doctor in that above book has to those invested in a complete denial that the murder-by-gun rate in other, modern, westernized countries is literally a fraction of what it is in the US?

All the arguments against gun control don’t answer that why question. Why is it so much lower elsewhere? The people arguing back online don’t bother to actually engage the truth that it’s lower elsewhere. It’s simply lower elsewhere. It’s lower elsewhere. Can we please have that? Why would you argue against having fewer deaths?

Whether it’s via control, or something else, it’s lower elsewhere. What is that mechanism that makes it lower elsewhere? Please answer me? Because it’s not more guns. Those elsewhere’s have experts, and people, and they all agree arming up further was not how they got to having that lower rate. And everywhere it’s lower elsewhere, there has to be a reason. What’s that reason? They haven’t banned guns (they’ve done something else, limited, regulated, added hoops, much the same as driving a car). You can read about it. Yourself. What they did. Inquire.

So far, the opposing arguments are completely, utterly, ignoring answering this.

Why is it lower elsewhere?

Are 10,000 lives a year worth it your arguments for it? When in some places it’s 2.


2 vs 10,000.

Think about that difference.