A major news event like the assassination of Abe Shinzo, which we cover from Tokyo today, first rocks a nation and then the globe – and then it leads the thoughtful reader to seek out context. In this case, you might be wondering about the shooter’s weapon and what Japan’s gun culture looks like. Here at the Monitor, one of our driving missions is to help readers connect dots around the world. And in fact, yesterday and today we did that on two news events that are rocking the United States: gun violence and abortion rights.
We have a weekly meeting dedicated to cross-cultural thought, and in the days following the Supreme Court decision rolling back Roe v. Wade, we were discussing global condemnation of the ruling. But a U.S.-based staffer questioned the fury, when limits in many parts of the world can – depending on the state and rapidly shifting laws – offer less access than that held by some American women. There is no simple answer to his questions, with laws and rights evolving from each country’s context and often looking very different on paper than in practice. But it made us realize what a hunger there is for cross-cultural examination of reproductive rights – and how countries believe the decision in the U.S. could impact gender equality at home. That report is in our pages today.
On guns, in the sad days after the elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, commentators filled my Twitter feed with questions like, “How is it that Americans value guns more than kids?” It’s a reflex (and not an invalid one), but it misses the context behind gun culture both in the U.S. and abroad. We decided to explore trust and how that shapes citizen tolerance and intolerance of gun ownership and regulation.
These global pieces are not meant to be a definitive take. They are intended to add to a body of work that, at its heart, aims to help readers understand the values behind the biggest news events in the world, because those values are universal.