If anyone thinks America is one of the most violent countries on Earth, they're dead wrong. That is a favorite argument of the firearm ignorati, aka the gun control advocates. America is violent, because of guns, so they say. Hogwash. America is possibly one of the least violent countries that I've ever lived in. But I digress.

During my days living in China, I figure I averaged witnessing one street brawl every week. They often start in the most banal of manners. Examples:

"You stepped on my foot!"
"Your bicycle bumped into mine!"
"I was in line first!"
"You glared at me, I don't like that."

Get the drift? These fights usually begin with shouting matches that last anything from 30 seconds to an hour, then the beatings begin. They are vicious, and I mean vicious. Many involve more than two people. I've been stuck in the middle of a street brawl after a bike accident, and it was not fun. Amazingly, the women join in with enthusiasm, they are often even more nasty than the men, who hesitate hitting a woman.

When the cops arrive, they sometimes join in. These brawls, if anything, lets out the steam of the daily monotony of living in China. Once, I witnessed a fight involving over 20 participants. They were punching and kicking with everything they've got. What a sight! When it finally ended, the bloodied and ragged folk left the scene, screaming obscenities at each other.

Don't worry. If you visit China and you're a foreigner, they'll leave you alone most of the time. I did once see a monetary exchange go wrong downtown between a gang of young thugs and a pack of American backpackers. The Americans, being bigger, kicked their asses. That was pretty funny. The Yanks left muttering about the attitude of the Chinese.

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