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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Spleen Cringe BS: Charleston - dare we talk about it (256* d) RE: BS: Charleston - dare we talk about it 22 Jun 15

The thing is, it's easy for us in the UK to sit in safety, pontificating about gun culture in the USA and coming up with simplistic solutions for a complex set of problems. We don't have to live in a place where public ownership of guns and the 'right' to bear arms is so deeply ingrained in the psyche and culture that any other way of living seems impossible - and to many, undesirable. I couldn't begin to imagine living somewhere where I believed I had to own a gun to protect my loved ones, where the stock response to gun crime is more guns and where the national debate is skewed by a powerful, wealthy and well organixed pro-gun lobby. From the outside it appears that gun rights pervade all areas of life and those Americans who want to change things are fighting an incredibly difficult battle (and let's be clear, it's their battle, not ours, and sniping from the sidelines from a position unimaginable to most Americans isn't going to help anyone).

My one trip to the States that took me somewhere other than New York was a wonderful experience where I met some great people and visited some beautiful places (it was a five week road trip/camping holiday in the deep South). A few things that stayed with me that shocked me, though, were guns openly for sale in supermarkets; a bumper sticker reading "My wife, yes. My dog, maybe. My gun, never!" and my partner getting threatened with a shotgun when taking photos of rural vistas in the Blue Ridge Mountains by some old boy who objected to her having a camera out.

The point of the anecdote is that though we met a lot of friendly, welcoming people, many of whom we had enough in common with to make spending time in their company a pleasure, this is the one area (aside from the lack of free public health care for all) where the cultural gulf was too wide to fully comprehend. I don't think it's my job to tell Americans what to do with their guns, but on the other hand, I have nothing but admiration for any American who is trying to do something about this situation. It shows immense bravery and tenacity in the face of a huge mountain to climb...

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