With nine guns for every 10 people, the United States is by far the most heavily armed nation, so it's hardly surprising there are as many "civil" shooting deaths there as in the rest of the world combined.

Note the next-highest ratio, just over one per two, is in the civil war-torn third-world country of Yemen.

Thanks largely to bizarrely proud adherence to an outdated constitutional right to bear arms in public, in 2017 the number of mass shootings (defined as four or more killed) in the US is keeping pace with the number of days of the year.

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It also helps explain why, in a majority of cases where an intruder is disturbed at work, a gun is fired; or why 54 per cent of gun-death homicides arise after some form of domestic-violence incident.

Guns kill people, especially when they're ready at hand.

In all, as many people are killed in an "average" year in the US by guns as there were American casualties in the Korean War.

The truly frightening thing is that nowhere near enough people seem inclined to do anything practical to change this. Which suggests an all-pervasive culture of violence has taken control of the planet's most powerful nation.

Arguably that violence culture has always had control. But it's getting more entrenched.

Fuelled by a rush of xenophobia, Americans have elected a government - and a manic President - which has adopted an increasingly aggressive nationalism as its preferred foreign policy.


The rogue state of North Korea provides a ready excuse to vent hate and threaten war, and conveniently allows the US to appear to curb the influence of its now-great rival, China.

But perhaps the North Koreans - or any number of other foes, such as those found throughout the Middle East - are hitting back in unconventional ways.

Children's stories. How better to reinforce all-pervasive violence than to corrupt young minds in infancy by brainwashing them with images and ideas that replace humanity with nightmare?

Take a look at any of the hundreds of internet channels providing thousands of "baby-minding" programmes and you will quickly discover a perverse and deeply-twisted spectrum of material that no one in their right mind would knowingly let their child watch.

Produced by anonymous studios - possibly entirely by algorithm, with no detailed human direction - the resulting half to hour-long segments aim to attract and hold a child's attention by appropriating innocent popular jingles, characters, and settings, and mashing them together within storylines that vary from mildly disturbing to downright sick.

Leave your infant alone to explore channels and, because multiple keyword tags get them listed next to the genuine annoying but "harmless" product, soon baby will be perusing graphic violence disguised as a teaching aid.

Ostensibly such works are made to garner click-bait advertising revenue, but then why make them so weird and dark?

Certainly the warning for parents is: just because the nonsense song you hear is the same, don't assume the visual content is okay. Check.

Regardless of whether it's a covert foreign troll, the existence and proliferation of this dangerous garbage shows how deeply embedded our submission to violence is - that we should visit it on innocent children.

In the same way, on another level, the #metoo social media campaign by women (primarily) responding to rape culture abuse claims around film producer Harvey Weinstein et al also - by the stunningly inclusive nature of the response - again demonstrates that violence lurks at the heart of all our dealings.

Can we not stop? Selling guns, abusing sexually, terrifying children?

Or have we all reached a terminal low that accepts that everything is expensive except human life?

• Bruce Bisset is a freelance writer and poet.
• Views expressed here are the writer's opinion and not the newspaper's.