With the Boston bombings, the Sandy Hook shooting, and the recent revelation about basement sex dungeons in the news it seems to me that it would be really easy for people to think we're in some kind of dark age of humanity. Well, I'm here to tell you that, at the very least, the country is less violent now than it was in the good 'ol 1990s!
Pew Research just released a study yesterday showing that gun-related homicides have actually decreased by 49% since 1993. That's right, decreased. Furthermore, if you take into account all gun-related violence (including injuries, that is, and not just deaths), violence has decreased by 75%. Most of that decline occurred during the 1990s themselves, but there's even been a very slight decline during the last decade, from 3.8 deaths per 100,000 people in 2000 to 3.6 deaths in 2010. Somewhat less relevant but still interesting is that gun violence rose during the 1980s before going into a sharp decline during the 1990s.
The bad news is that the public widely believes that gun violence is up, not down (56% of the public, anyway), which probably isn't great for our mental health. But the fact remains that you should actually feel safer now than you did twenty years ago.