Is my fear of US gun culture justified?

MorphingDragon

macrumors 603
Original poster
Mar 27, 2009
5,160
5
The World Inbetween
I'll be honest, I'm straight up terrified by the USA's gun culture pretty much to the point of a phobia. The last time I was in the USA I was legitimately scared that some poster child of self-control and rationality would think that pointing a gun at my face to solve a problem is an AMAZING idea. The increased vitriol over the last few years among gun owners in the US really hasn't helped this either.

If I end up moving to Washington, regardless of my relatively high opinion of that state it will still be in the back of my mind, unnerving my social interactions. Hell, the only thing that would stop me from getting a concealed carry license is the fact I won't hold a permanent green card, just so I wont be left upstream without a paddle if you catch my drift.

I recently had a friend point out that this view is heavily influenced by the media that surrounds us. A lot of the news about some American doing something stupid with a gun comes to us via mainstream media. A media culture that's almost hell bent on painting America as some country continually in the throws of Psychosis when it comes to guns (among other things).

Well my response is kind of... so? The spin on the stories doesn't change the fact those events happened and that America in general seems to have a high rate of people treating guns closer to toys or magical fairy dust that you can liberally apply to "problems". On top of all of this, with your political Zeitgeist falling apart at the seams it only seems to encourage more of the gun crazies to do crazy gun things because 'muuuurica.

I dunno, am I creating my own boogieman? Or should I learn to temporarily cripple people with my hands faster than people can pull a trigger.
 

Curun

macrumors 6502
Sep 10, 2013
314
1
FBI.gov statistics. In 2011.

300 killed by rifles
6,000 killed here by Handguns.

Census.gov statistics, for 2009.(my quick google-fu didn't turn up matching years)

35,900 killed by vehicles.

Be far more scared of the drivers, than the people who might have guns.
 

ugahairydawgs

macrumors 68030
Jun 10, 2010
2,666
1,279
You fixate on something long enough and anything can scare you. The media plays a role in a lot of things like this. All we ever hear about are the worst of the worst cases of anything, be it guns, drugs, financial crimes, etc. The 24 hour news channels have a lot of air to fill, so they analyze events that happen from every angle possible and then seemingly invent a few of their own.

Some people find it entertaining. I think it's a sickness.

But back to your main question.....no. You shouldn't be afraid of Americans because of guns anymore than you should avoid flying because you fear the plane is going to crash. Bad things do happen, but those instances are generally the exception rather than the rule.
 

Curun

macrumors 6502
Sep 10, 2013
314
1
I'll be honest, I'm straight up terrified by the USA's gun culture pretty much to the point of a phobia. The last time I was in the USA I was legitimately scared that some poster child of self-control and rationality would think that pointing a gun at my face to solve a problem is an AMAZING idea. The increased vitriol over the last few years among gun owners in the US really hasn't helped this either.

If I end up moving to Washington, regardless of my relatively high opinion of that state it will still be in the back of my mind, unnerving my social interactions. Hell, the only thing that would stop me from getting a concealed carry license is the fact I won't hold a permanent green card, just so I wont be left upstream without a paddle if you catch my drift.

I recently had a friend point out that this view is heavily influenced by the media that surrounds us. A lot of the news about some American doing something stupid with a gun comes to us via mainstream media. A media culture that's almost hell bent on painting America as some country continually in the throws of Psychosis when it comes to guns (among other things).

Well my response is kind of... so? The spin on the stories doesn't change the fact those events happened and that America in general seems to have a high rate of people treating guns closer to toys or magical fairy dust that you can liberally apply to "problems". On top of all of this, with your political Zeitgeist falling apart at the seams it only seems to encourage more of the gun crazies to do crazy gun things because 'muuuurica.

I dunno, am I creating my own boogieman? Or should I learn to temporarily cripple people with my hands faster than people can pull a trigger.
FBI.gov statistics. In 2011.

300 killed by rifles
6,000 killed here by Handguns.

Census.gov statistics, for 2009.(my quick google-fu didn't turn up matching years)

35,900 killed by vehicles.

Be far more scared of the drivers, than the people who might have guns.
Make sure not to fly here. News blurb says 349 died in planes in 2011. So flying in a plane is definitely more dangerous than US population having access to rifles as well.
 

tktaylor1

macrumors 6502a
Feb 16, 2010
788
0
Nashville, TN
No you shouldn't feel that way, unless you were to move into a high crime area. I'd say a high percentage of those 6000 killed by handguns stat is gang related.
 

P-Worm

macrumors 68020
Jul 16, 2002
2,045
0
Salt Lake City, UT
No you shouldn't feel that way, unless you were to move into a high crime area. I'd say a high percentage of those 6000 killed by handguns stat is gang related.
I would agree that I would guess all of that activity is gang related. I'm trying to think if I have ever seen a gun out in public (I definitely haven't seen a crime committed with one first hand), and I can't think of an instance.

P-Worm
 

SLC Flyfishing

Suspended
Nov 19, 2007
1,486
1,639
Portland, OR
I would agree that I would guess all of that activity is gang related. I'm trying to think if I have ever seen a gun out in public (I definitely haven't seen a crime committed with one first hand), and I can't think of an instance.

P-Worm
Same with me, and I'm from Utah; a state with some of the most liberal sets of gun laws, and highest per-capita gun ownership rates in the country.
 

iJohnHenry

macrumors P6
Mar 22, 2008
16,505
15
On tenterhooks
Politics, Religion, Social Issues and Guns

As VB doesn't allow us to flag posts as ignore, it would be helpful, for those of us sick to death of the subject of guns, if MR had a Guns forum in PRSI to Ignore.

But I will continue with my autonomic breathing.
 

BenTrovato

macrumors 68030
Jun 29, 2012
2,846
1,866
Canada
I was legitimately scared that some poster child of self-control and rationality would think that pointing a gun at my face to solve a problem is an AMAZING idea. The increased vitriol over the last few years among gun owners in the US really hasn't helped this either.
Well you hit the nail on the head. Guns aren't the problem, the people behind the guns are the problem. We live in a disturbing time with so much disparity in wealth combined with so many people on medications. It's hard for people to be themselves and enjoy life on a large scale. When I'm in the US, I'll be more selective of what I say and am more aware of my surroundings. I definitely don't feel "free" and "secure" when I visit.
 

Happybunny

macrumors 68000
Sep 9, 2010
1,752
1,351
I'll be honest, I'm straight up terrified by the USA's gun culture pretty much to the point of a phobia. The last time I was in the USA I was legitimately scared that some poster child of self-control and rationality would think that pointing a gun at my face to solve a problem is an AMAZING idea. The increased vitriol over the last few years among gun owners in the US really hasn't helped this either.

If I end up moving to Washington, regardless of my relatively high opinion of that state it will still be in the back of my mind, unnerving my social interactions. Hell, the only thing that would stop me from getting a concealed carry license is the fact I won't hold a permanent green card, just so I wont be left upstream without a paddle if you catch my drift.

I recently had a friend point out that this view is heavily influenced by the media that surrounds us. A lot of the news about some American doing something stupid with a gun comes to us via mainstream media. A media culture that's almost hell bent on painting America as some country continually in the throws of Psychosis when it comes to guns (among other things).

Well my response is kind of... so? The spin on the stories doesn't change the fact those events happened and that America in general seems to have a high rate of people treating guns closer to toys or magical fairy dust that you can liberally apply to "problems". On top of all of this, with your political Zeitgeist falling apart at the seams it only seems to encourage more of the gun crazies to do crazy gun things because 'muuuurica.

I dunno, am I creating my own boogieman? Or should I learn to temporarily cripple people with my hands faster than people can pull a trigger.
To be blunt your fears are unfounded, they are nothing more than media stories blown out of all proportion. You must keep in mind USA is a very large country with more than 300,000,000 people, there is bound to be bad apples.

Only bad things make the news.


I lived in the US (White Plains NY) from 1981-1983.

Since then I have been on vacation to the USA on 6 separate occasions for vacations, staying on average for 5 weeks per trip. I can say without a doubt, I have never seen a violent crime with any sort of weapon, and further more I have never felt unsafe at any time during any on my time in the USA. I have travelled in all the States except for Alaska and Hawaii.

I will further more say, on the whole most Americans whether from a urban or rural background, are friendly and polite. I have never had any trouble of any kind, I have found the average American to be a gracious host, and will go out their way to make you feel right at home.
 

edk99

macrumors 6502a
May 27, 2009
701
709
FL
No you shouldn't feel that way, unless you were to move into a high crime area. I'd say a high percentage of those 6000 killed by handguns stat is gang related.
Sure gang related would be a good part of it but also a lot of them would be acquaintances where the killer would know the victim. I'm not sure what the percentage would be but I'm thinking it is has to be way less then half where the killer shoots someone they don't know.
 

SoAnyway

macrumors 6502
May 10, 2011
476
179
I'll be honest, I'm straight up terrified by the USA's gun culture pretty much to the point of a phobia. The last time I was in the USA I was legitimately scared that some poster child of self-control and rationality would think that pointing a gun at my face to solve a problem is an AMAZING idea. The increased vitriol over the last few years among gun owners in the US really hasn't helped this either.

If I end up moving to Washington, regardless of my relatively high opinion of that state it will still be in the back of my mind, unnerving my social interactions. Hell, the only thing that would stop me from getting a concealed carry license is the fact I won't hold a permanent green card, just so I wont be left upstream without a paddle if you catch my drift.

I recently had a friend point out that this view is heavily influenced by the media that surrounds us. A lot of the news about some American doing something stupid with a gun comes to us via mainstream media. A media culture that's almost hell bent on painting America as some country continually in the throws of Psychosis when it comes to guns (among other things).

Well my response is kind of... so? The spin on the stories doesn't change the fact those events happened and that America in general seems to have a high rate of people treating guns closer to toys or magical fairy dust that you can liberally apply to "problems". On top of all of this, with your political Zeitgeist falling apart at the seams it only seems to encourage more of the gun crazies to do crazy gun things because 'muuuurica.

I dunno, am I creating my own boogieman? Or should I learn to temporarily cripple people with my hands faster than people can pull a trigger.

I do think that it is reasonable for you to feel a certain level of fear with the gun culture that you hear about. Although our country has a gun crisis, I'll tell you what I often tell travelers from more civilized areas of the world, you don't have the much to fear if you're in more densely populated areas of the country. Try avoiding the areas that you often associate with gun culture.

As far as the media goes.... Over here we have a conservative media that continuously stokes the fear and paranoia that cause otherwise reasonably-minded people to go further off the cliff. You can thank Faux, Rush Limbaugh, Alex Jones, Glen Beck, and all the rest for the mass hysteria.
 

citizenzen

macrumors 65816
Mar 22, 2010
1,433
11,628
But back to your main question.....no. You shouldn't be afraid of Americans because of guns anymore than you should avoid flying because you fear the plane is going to crash. Bad things do happen, but those instances are generally the exception rather than the rule.
You are so far off that it's frightening ...

Airline Industry at Its Safest Since the Dawn of the Jet Age
Published: February 11, 2013

It will be four years on Tuesday since the last fatal crash in the United States, a record unmatched since propeller planes gave way to the jet age more than half a century ago. Globally, last year was the safest since 1945, with 23 deadly accidents and 475 fatalities, according to the Aviation Safety Network, an accident researcher. That was less than half the 1,147 deaths, in 42 crashes, in 2000.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/12/business/2012-was-the-safest-year-for-airlines-globally-since-1945.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
So let's see ... between 2009 and 2013 there were ...

ZERO Airline fatalities in the U.S.

vs.

over 44,000 firearm homicides.

I think I'll take my chances in the air.
 

CalWizrd

Suspended
Jun 21, 2011
373
1,554
NYC/Raleigh, NC
As VB doesn't allow us to flag posts as ignore, it would be helpful, for those of us sick to death of the subject of guns, if MR had a Guns forum in PRSI to Ignore.

But I will continue with my autonomic breathing.
Since you are sick to death of the subject of guns, and the title of this thread is "Is my fear of US gun culture justified?", I'm having a really tough time understanding why you opened up the thread to read, much less felt compelled to post a message informing others about being sick to death of the subject.

Or am I missing something here?
 

colourfastt

macrumors 6502a
Apr 7, 2009
884
523
I would agree that I would guess all of that activity is gang related. I'm trying to think if I have ever seen a gun out in public (I definitely haven't seen a crime committed with one first hand), and I can't think of an instance.

P-Worm
Oddly, I was in the grocery store last night and some middle-aged guy was open carrying a 9mm in the store.
 

Zombie Acorn

macrumors 65816
Feb 2, 2009
1,301
9,062
Toronto, Ontario
Liberals have blown the problem out of proportion by including suicide related deaths with regular gun related homicides. If you stay away from urban gang territory your likelihood of being shot by someone else in the US is almost nil. The reported homicides are estimated to be 65-80% gang related.

Cities to avoid: Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Cleveland, and New Orleans.
 

Renzatic

Suspended
Oddly, I was in the grocery store last night and some middle-aged guy was open carrying a 9mm in the store.
As long he wasn't pointing it at people...

Really, I don't have too many problems with guns in and of themselves. I've seen a few people open carry in my day, and the only thing that ever bothers me is why some people feel the need to be armed to go to the damn grocery store.

It's a bit of a truism that guns don't kill people, it's the people with guns who do. And that's the problem. From my experiences, people who open carry everywhere they go tend to be twitchy and a little overly paranoid. In some rare circumstances, I get the impression that someone is out looking for a reason to use their gun. They'll be more up in your face about things, like they're daring someone to come at them so they'll have an excuse to pull on them

So no, it's not the guns I'm afraid of. Like I've said before in one of the tends of thousand gun threads that pop up around here, I've got a few myself. It's the attitude some people have about them that scares the hell out of me. For certain types of mindsets, guns act as both a portable self esteem generators, and enablers.

Though to keep from scaring the poop out of MorphingDragon any more than he already has himself, these people are few and far between. The chances of him running into one where he's going are about nil.
 

ugahairydawgs

macrumors 68030
Jun 10, 2010
2,666
1,279
You are so far off that it's frightening ...



So let's see ... between 2009 and 2013 there were ...

ZERO Airline fatalities in the U.S.

vs.

over 44,000 firearm homicides.

I think I'll take my chances in the air.
Where do you get zero from? That plane that crashed on landing in SF last year killed a couple of people and I can remember another crash here in GA that killed a few as well.