Thursday, March 07, 2013

Facing the Fire: One Yorkshire Lass’ Take on the US Gun Culture


Guest Post by Carlene Vick

Since moving to the US, one aspect of the culture (especially here in the South!) that I’m still having to work to adjust to, is the use of, and apparent comfort most people have with, guns. Even my own husband wouldn’t dare to spend a night in a room that didn’t have a personal-use handgun close by “just in case”.

Coming from a country that doesn’t permit or rely on personal weaponry outside of farming and organized hunting (even in Yorkshire, where the pheasants should, quite frankly, be running for their lives), learning to accept, and even to rely on, this new symbol of security and defense has been challenging to say the least.


While I’m still at the stage where I don’t really want to know which drawer our household weapon is in (for fear that I will accidentally sleepwalk and faff with it to my husband's detriment - yes, seriously), I’ve found that the ultimate fighting force against this discomfort is knowledge. The more I’ve committed to undergoing structured, sensible teaching sessions from the hubby and from gun range professionals, the less I’m seeing them as a familial danger. Slowly, my point of view is shifting towards the way guns were intended to be used here (despite how that may differ in reality); as a method of protection, for use only in the most dire of circumstances. Whether it be home invasion or personal defense against a sudden attacker, I can comprehend why people look to guns for comfort.


Yet, the other side of that coin is the constant presence of guns in everyday life, and the subtle threat that that can pose. From the grocery store to the bank, and even at the dog park, I’ve noticed holsters are quietly present. You don’t need me to leap into the details of recent gun-centered events in the US, and I would hope that we’re all capable of gathering the facts and making up our own minds about where we stand on these issues. But from the perspective of someone who is essentially alien to guns and their everyday presence, the sight of them hanging out on the hips of the general public whilst they go about their ordinary lives, is both frightening and, admittedly, on occasion reassuring. I suppose in my firearm novice mind, it all depends on who can be trusted. And since this factor isn’t something that I’ve (we’ve) really worked out how to discern yet, discomfort mostly rules my perception.

There’s an element of personal security and responsibility that I strongly appreciate and in many ways can relate to here in the US, despite my being new to its mindsets. Coming from an island where even pepper spray was illegal to carry, the sense of easier access to individual defense here does ease my mind some.

Perhaps it all boils down to my lack of understanding on the subject of gun ownership, and how this plays into the American way of life as a whole. I certainly won’t be turning my back on this aspect of the culture - after all, with something so prevalent I can’t see the point in rejecting the opportunity to at least understand what all the fuss is about!

Carlene moved from the UK to the US in 2011 to be with her American born husband. She currently lives in East TN, with the love of her life and their 3 rescue dogs (who rule the roost I might add).

Carlene loves to blog about each and every experience she comes across during this exciting period of her life, in the hope of supporting and inspiring others who may be undergoing the thrilling journey of immigration to the mighty US of A!

Check out her own blog at http://leapacrossthepond.blogspot.com/ - we hope to see you there soon!



Complete Compendium of Word Differences

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Guns are sort'of one of the biggest separators of the U.S. and Britain. Our country wouldn't exist without them. How much does the author trust her government, just out of curiosity?

Anonymous said...

Is Southern US culture really that different from UK culture? Okay, gun culture is different. Yes. But don't the British love redneck fat belly mud diving too? Just think of Onslow from Keeping Up Appearances. Chavs would have a good time at this sport. Oh, the possibilities.....
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FEB6p2QMT7Q

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