Letter: US gun culture

Attempts by the US media to explain events in Tucson ignore the elephant in the room - over-the-counter guns - to blame a rare moment of divisive political debate.

Yet their gun culture is a central feature of the American identity and has its roots in the myths of the Wild West, when settlers slaughtered buffalo and native people.

Before the Revolutionary Wars, standing armies were seen as a threat, so that providing one's own weapons for service in the local militia was mandatory for all adult males.

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This ended with independence, but obtuse misinterpretation of the Second Amendment over many years has put 300 million firearms in private hands.

Gun crime in Scotland accounts for less than half of 1 per cent of all crime, and sharing a common language does not help the Scots understand this American obsession.

Clearly, allowing deranged people to buy powerful automatic weapons in supermarkets to kill schoolchildren and even presidents is seen by America as a price worth paying.

(Dr) John Cameron

Howard Place

St Andrews

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