In a comment to the gun post, Martin observes:
In the US guns seem to be ubiquitous and that creates a different mind-set in the people. Guns are there because there is a perceived problem that can be solved with them. Also, I got the impression that many believe that THEY are out there to get you. And you always have to be prepared for the time when THEY come!
And we [Germans] usually do not believe that THEY are out there to get you.
And I would really appreciate if you keep THEM. We do not need THEM here.
This reminded me of point no. 7 from Post Masculine's 10 Things Most Americans Don't Know about America, 'We're Paranoid':
Not only are we emotionally insecure as a culture, but I’ve come to realize how paranoid we are about our physical security. You don’t have to watch Fox News or CNN for more than 10 minutes to hear about how our drinking water is going to kill us, our neighbor is going to rape our children, some terrorist in Yemen is going to kill us because we didn’t torture him, Mexicans are going to kill us, or some virus from a bird is going to kill us. There’s a reason we have more guns than people.
In the US, security trumps everything, even liberty. We’re paranoid.
I’ve probably been to 10 countries now that friends and family back home told me explicitly not to go because someone was going to kill me, kidnap me, stab me, rob me, rape me, sell me into sex trade, give me HIV, or whatever else. None of that has happened. I’ve never been robbed and I’ve walked through some of the shittiest parts of Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe.
In fact, the experience has been the opposite. In countries like Russia, Colombia or Guatemala, people were so friendly it actually scared me. Some stranger in a bar would invite me to his house for a bar-b-que with his family, a random person on the street would offer to show me around and give me directions to a store I was trying to find. My American instincts were always that, “Wait, this guy is going to try to rob me or kill me,” but they never did. They were just insanely friendly.
Let's not forget the paranoia about drugs. All over the United States, people who look like those in the photo break into the houses of ordinary people in the middle of the night and shoot their dogs and sometimes their children -- more often than not to protect society from the horrifying danger of harmless, delicious marijuana.