A culture that is hard to comprehend

keithAccording to the daughter of Keith Lamont Scott, her father who was aged 43 was reading a book in his car while waiting for the School bus to drop his son off on Tuesday afternoon. Police Officers in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area of South Carolina apparently ordered Keith out of the car and asked him to drop his gun on the ground. His daughter claims he was unarmed. Tragically for all concerned and also for those injured in subsequent riots, Mr Lamont Scott was shot dead by the police officers. There are many elements of our culture that don’t translate well into American culture and vice versa. We can all manage the difference between pavements and side-walks and between lifts and elevators. However the idea that a British man sitting in his car is likely to have a gun in his hand rather than a book is thankfully so unlikely that police officers, including those who have volunteered to carry guns and taser would not assume that such a thing was a high probability. That is why shootings such as those by Derrick Bird in Cumbria are so notorious and continue to make news. When one sees the various NRA activists parading their ideas and demands on TV as happens at this time every 4 years as a result of the Presidential elections, it becomes clear how different our cultures are. For all the many good things that America offers to the rest of the world, particularly the English speaking world, their addiction to guns is one that makes the culture almost impossible to comprehend. So often when the argument about gun control is articulated, it speaks of the rights of owning a gun, rather than the idea that must go through the minds of many, that most Americans would carry such a weapon in their car. Unfortunately one does follow from the other. Its almost impossible to turn back clocks on behaviour such as access to guns or even a profusion of black deaths. However we need Americans everywhere to try to do so. I have never been to the USA but if I did go, I would not want anyone to assume that if I got something out of my bag, that I might be searching for my gun. I am sure I am not alone.


About ianchisnall

I have a passion to see public policy made accessible everyone who want to improve the wellbeing of their communities. I am interested in issues related to crime and policing as well as in policies on health services and strategic planning.
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