Look at cause, not symptoms

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To the Editor:

There are numerous opinions being presented on the media with respect to who or what is to blame for the attempted assassination of U.S.A. Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the deaths of six bystanders and wounding of several others in the hail of bullets. The experts are all discussing the symptoms, not the root cause.

Anyone who really wants to understand needs to read a book entitled The Spirit Level, written by Richard Wilkenson and Kate Beckett. Both are English university professors with the appropriate qualifications. The subtitle is “Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger”, and they have compiled information from a multitude of studies by a multitude of social scientists, all of which show that the greater the inequalities of income and social position between persons within wealthy developed countries, the great amount of poor health, violence, lack of community life, teen pregnancy, mental illness, murder, et cetera. The statistics show an unquestionable relationship between the extent of the inequality and the extent of the health and social problems in the countries.

The Scandinavian countries, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland, with the democratic socialist government, have the least inequality and the least health and social problems, except for Japan, which has similar low health, social problems and inequality, but for a different reason.

On the other hand, the U.K., Portugal and the U.S.A., with their high inequality of income and social position, consistently have the greatest amount of health and social problems, with the U.S.A. usually at the top because it has the greatest spread over its entire income and social levels. They don’t practice what they preach. It is the U.S.A.’s gold-medal performance regarding the inequality of its citizens that is the root cause of its lead in violence, mental illness, murders and more, and has led to the Arizona assassination attempt and massacre. Finland has the highest proportion of households with guns.

Read the book. And don’t let Steven Harper succeed in having Canada emulate the U.S.A.

Peter Ross