In Liverpool, England, today they buried an 11 year old schoolboy named Rhys Jones.
Rhys was shot in the neck Aug. 22 by a youth on a bicycle as he played soccer with friends in a well-heeled housing development that borders one of Liverpool's poorer neighborhoods. Police believe he was likely an innocent victim of a feud between street gangs.
With the homicide rate involving guns around 4 for every 100,000 people in the U.S., stories such as this barely register as a blip on the regional scale in America, let alone being featured in the national news. Yet today, Rhys' funeral made national news headlines in the U.K., placing his memorial ahead of news that Opera legend, Pavarotti, had died.
What's more, the impact on Rhys' community demonstrated to me that, while Britain definitely has some work to do, the UK has a long way to go before it becomes as desensitized to a daily-dose of drive-bys, as many of us are in the U.S. (even after taking into consideration the difference in population and size of the two countries.)
More than 2,500 Liverpudlians showed up to mourn this 11-year old boy, clapping to honor his life and the strength of his family as his coffin passed by - through city streets and all the way up to the altar in the city's cathederal.
The comment from Britain's unelected PM, Mr. Brown was: "Guns in America are accepted but we don't want that for Britain. We want to get guns out of every community."
So, while my parents bemoan the state of my home country and claim Britain is not a safe place to be, it's times like these that I get a little jolt of relative reality. Because while the U.S. constitution ensures that you'd have to pry guns from the average American's "cold dead hands" (to quote the late and not-so-great Mr. Heston), the shooting of one schoolboy is still making national news in England- and thank GOD for that.