American Gun Culture is a Myth

It pains me to see how loud socio-political sectarianism is in America, considering our media platform has far greater reach than any other one. When a demographic in the US screams, the world hears it. I have seen evidence of the rest of the world believing in a “gun culture” in America – immigrant social media groups saying they fear being shot if they come to the US, etc. This concept of a gun culture is a myth. It also is a near-sectarian sub-demographic that is loud.

In my 37 years I have spent about 27 of them in the US – in over 40 states inclusive of the far flung such as Hawaii and Alaska. I have lived in at least 5 of the states. Yet, this massive gun culture spoken of eludes me. I have only seen guns a handful of times.

Aside from Law Enforcement, Security and Military, I have seen a few people with guns in their own homes. A good example of this was my father who owned a few – I think one pistol, one rifle and one shotgun. I think I have only seen them used once as a child in North West US (where guns are far more tolerated).

Though some estimates put the number of guns in America as over 300 million – or that of our population. From a subjective experience they are not being carried around in public or flaunted in any way shape or form. Numbers however reveal that ownership by home is only at roughly 30% of American homes. Numbers also reveal this is mostly in rural areas.

Considering most people I have met with guns, tend to own plural, I would estimate that there are not 300 million people owning guns, but a small segment in mostly rural areas who own many guns. By age alone, you can assess that 20% of the country likely does not own a gun, because they are too young or too old. There is no reason to believe that that that 20% is not represented equally across gun owning and non-gun owning households.

Thus 20% of the 30% of gun owning households, are too young/old to even own guns – leaving say 26% of people with ownership. Without running numbers of those not able to own guns – those under state control (mental facilities, prison, etc) we can further whittle this number down even more. I would speculate that would cover at least another 6% of the population. Ergo we are looking at no more than 25% of the population, clustered in rural areas and being multi-gun owners.

Additionally, in my experience most gun-savvy gun-loving owners in rural areas are extremely gun-wise. It seems these people are not likely to be conducting crimes with guns. So we are not looking at a massive gun culture menacing from sea to shining sea. We are looking at most guns being owned by a niche group of people, while most crimes committed by another niche group of people.

Criminal statistics aside, the niche-ness of ownership highlight how the purported gun culture is a myth. You can easily live your entire life in America never seeing a gun in person unless you see a law enforcement officer. Those in America projecting this notion of a gun culture not only skew the domestic debate with scare tactics but they are damage our image abroad as gun toting fanatics.



From Iraq, to America, with Love.

Recently, the US Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq posted a Facebook post announcing the cessation of Consular activities (Visas, Passports, etc) due to the damage and continued threat from the New Years Eve and New Years Day Iranian-backed Iraqi militia/protester attack on the embassy.

As a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom II, a former State Department contracted Cultural Advisor of the last class of Iraqi YES Program students, and having spent roughly 2.5 years in the Baghdad Regional Security Office, I thought it would be important to share with my fellow Americans, 30 snippets from Iraqis who appreciate our sacrifices.

These snippets are comments on the US Embassy Baghdad Facebook post. When you think Iraq is a place we need to remove ourselves from, may I remind you that there are Iraqis who need and cherish our support and continued presence. As a reminder, the militia protestors at the embassy are the not same protesters who have been protesting in Baghdad for the last 3 months while getting gunned down by Iranian-backed security forces.

I hope you find these as touching as I did:




Israelis Are On The Ground Assisting In The Search For Nigeria’s Missing Schoolgirls #Nigeria #Israel #bringbackourgirls #bokoharam

Seeing the Boko Haram situation in Nigeria bring international engagement is promising. Assistance is coming in, in a few difference ways. It was not surprising to see the US involved by sending experts to provide guidance. It also was not surprising to see the UK involved considering their colonial history (we are seeing much more of this colonial return to assist with France in Mali and CAR). Several countries are assisting now in Nigeria to include – and this one is surprising – Israel. Yes Israelis are now on the ground in Nigeria assisting.

Ctrl + Alt + Delete Resetting #America’s #Military #NatSec

Ctrl + Alt + Delete Resetting #America’s #Military #NatSec

This is actually a pretty good analysis with some great solutions. For years I have said that eventually we will shift to a fully joint force, at least I hope we do. Having served in the US Army I understand the pride that comes with the cultures, traditions and histories of each individual services. However, is far more effective to realign the forces based off of functionality and purpose. More so, having all the branches trying to do various different sections of our National Security Strategy is a bit ineffective. I would request that the idea of Thomas P.M. Barnett’s “SysAdmin” and “Leviathan” Forces be incorporated into this proposal a bit more.

#US to build #naval base in southern #Yemen

#US to build #naval base in southern #Yemen

Not sure how believable this is – particularly considering the reference to 1,500 US Marines being in Southern Yemen. I heard this rumor while in Yemen and did not believe it, nor do I now – 1,500 Marines in Yemen is a deployment of Marines to stay under the radar. However, the detail put into the reference to the US Naval base being developed seemed to make that sound a bit more realistic. However it seems off considering the security environment in Yemen – particularly Southern Yemen. Also, the US already has extensive maritime naval access to this area so why would the US need a base in Yemen? I also always question when I see a country referred to by its religion, as Yemen is referred to as a “Muslim country”. This makes me think the source is super biased with a religious slant meaning the entire article is probably false.

New US Military & #GCC Engagement in the Middle East

According to a New York Times article a classified US-led military base named the Combined Air and Space Operations Center (CASOC) located just outside Doha, Qatar has become public during a recent trip by the US Defense Secretary Hagel. During his visit with his counterpart he signed “a new Defense Cooperation Agreement that includes joint training and exercises and other unspecified cooperative military actions.”

Despite Middle Eastern CENTCOM Operations seemingly in withdrawal mode across the region, this announcement illustrates a continued commitment to US engagement in the region and foreshadows an increase in Command and Control (C2) operations with a focus on joint multinational operations. Between the lines, we can read that this means significant logistics & intelligence support to regional allies while running point on Joint Special Operations efforts while including extensive training & support to regional allies’ Special Operations Forces.

Simultaneously the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has agreed to establish a Joint Military Command and Police Force. The GCC consists of Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman. The GCC is most known for its efforts to assist in stabilizing the Republic of Yemen following the Arab Spring revolution.

The GCC owning its own Joint Military Command with the CASOC being based out of Qatar we are seeing a dramatic shift in Middle East Operations with the GCC on point and the US-led CASOC in the supporting role. Considering the GCC’s anti-Iran stance and concern for stability in the region it is conceivable to see a GCC led operational enterprise across the region focusing on stabilizing Syria, facilitating Yemen’s transition and countering Iranian expansive reach into Iraq, Syria and Yemen.

Cayman Islands agrees to report US citizens’ offshore assets under controversial law

Cayman Islands agrees to report US citizens’ offshore assets under controversial law

Still not sure what i think about these efforts. I cherish our efforts to counter money laundering and illicit networks for counterterrorism & counterintelligence operations though it is slightly concerning when anywhere in the world a US Citizen must pay for services they may not be benefiting from. As a default expat this is something i do not lose sleep over but do keep my eye on. The key solution to this however is the Foreign Income Tax Exclusion regulation. If that goes though, it would be a dire situation for US expats the world over.

Global Fund to Stem Extremism


In a recent write up titled “U.S. and Turkey to Create Fund to Stem Extremism” at the New York Times; it is detailed that a Global Fund to counter extremism is being established. From what it seems, this fund is meant to be global & empirical. In essence it is meant to be contributed to by a multinational coalition, in order to target, presumably, Islamic extremism around the globe at the local level via development of educational & engaging platforms. This is a greatly positive push. The fact that countries such as Saudi Arabia who, are often accused of funding extremism via their largess of madrassa pushes, is significant. It is not surprising that Turkey is in on this considering their nature of tolerant Islam. This type of endeavor is absolutely critical to global stability at the local level.