Pencils or Guns?

According to a survey done by the Geneva-based Graduate Institute of International Studies, the United States is the most heavily armed society in the world.

U.S. citizens own 270 million of the world’s 875 million known firearms. About 4.5 million of the 8 million new guns manufactured worldwide each year are purchased in the United States.

Meanwhile OECD’s comprehensive world education ranking report places us as number 14 when it comes to education, behind Estonia and Poland.

South Korea and Finland are ranked number one and two respectively on the world education ranking. When you look at their economies, they are also the ones are weathering the current worldwide financial crises fairly well.


Finland had been one of the best performing economies within the EU in recent years and its banks and financial markets avoided the worst of global financial crisis.

South Korea boasts a bustling economy.  Indeed, its growth potential is so substantial that one of the top economists of Morgan Stanley Jim O’Neill considers the country on par with the BRICs, the acronym he coined for Brazil, Russia, India and China.

In both countries gun ownership is allowed but highly regulated and restricted.

As I read these reports and statistics it is crystal clear to me where we went wrong on our priorities as a society. We exchanged pencils for guns.

Concurrently, regardless of their slight differences, virtually all GOP presidential candidates are in favor of getting rid of Department of Education–instead of improving it–and in favor of Gun Ownership.

My assertion is this; it is easier to herd uneducated people. Look at all the underdeveloped countries, without exception there are more places for worship and prisons than schools, there are more weapons than school supplies. There are more gun owners than college graduates; there is more violence than peace.

“The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all.” John F. Kennedy