I am glad we don't need to have a discussion like this, here in Aussie land.
No need to carry weapons, for one's safety.
Although there are some drive by shootings here, they are omc related
Unfortunately, our culture has devolved into tribes, for lots of reasons. Loss of shared experiences, cynical politicians who divide us into interest groups to pander to us, and so on.
I can remember 35-40 years ago when we had pretty much the same cultural reference points across the board- pretty much all of us watched the same TV shows, giving us something to talk about Monday at work or school. There were basically 3 radio stations- country, rock, and Public Radio. We all pretty much listened to the same music, or at least were exposed to it. We shopped at the same stores, watched the same moves.
Now, on any given day, I can choose from 30 theaters to go see a film. I can choose between 200 channels on my TV. I can go my entire life never having to listen to a piece of music I don't care for for more than 10 seconds. Our culture has become a smorgasbord. All this choice is great for the consumer, but it erodes our commonality and shared experience. Cruise through the checkout lines at WalMart or Safeway and check out the "celebrity" mags and see how many people are on the cover that most of America has never heard of.
To compound the problem, America is intensely multi-cultural- intentionally so. This has had a lot of positive affect in adding spice to our collective experience. Great Mexican food is as common as dirt these days nearly everywhere. In urban areas Jamaican, African, Mediterranean, Indian and Asian cuisine and art are plentiful. But it has a downside, when we elevated all cultures o equal status in America and downplayed the need to assimilate. Rather than the first generation of immigrants making Americans out of the second, we have 3rd and even 4th generations clinging to their culture and separating themselves. We have become culturally Balkanized.
Politics further divides and separates us and pits us against one another-whites vs minorities, men vs women, young vs old, religious vs secular, rich vs poor, and so on. Each side paints the other as extremists who (naturally) said politician will protect you from, and the result has been a catastrophic (in my view) divisiveness that will be very, very difficult to undo.
All of these factors have made our culture increasingly distant and has destroyed empathy. The poor don't see the rich as someone to emulate and be like, they see them as greedy and uncaring. The rich don't see the poor as unfortunates who need to be helped out of poverty, they see them as mooches and takers. And so it goes with all our divisions.
This is a long winded explanation of why so any people feel the need to carry weapons for personal protection here. 35 years ago, kids brought guns to school to go hunting afterwards. Teachers did too. No one ever got shot. We all knew guns didn't kill people by themselves. We had self control based on a shared cultural value. Now, we feel as if we're enclaves of people living among foreigners. We all have our own little cultural demographic within which we operate and the others may as well be Timbuktu.