One of the great cultural divides between the US and UK is the issue of gun ownership.  Locals I talk with can’t comprehend the number of guns in the US and are (rightfully) worried about the gun culture being imported to the UK through TV and movies.  (I’ve since learned that guns themselves make their way from former soviet countries.)  I never really never know where to stand–I was raised in the south with a BB gun when I was about 6, but then who needs any kind of assault riffle.  Murders here in the UK–though they tend to be more from knife fights–tend to gain national attention, whereas the seemingly daily gun murders in Dallas were so common that we generally ignored them.  I think this passive acceptance is quite negative. 

A friend of mine pointed me to this BBC article noting this tension in perception between the UK and US: America’s ‘Safety Catch’.  In simple terms it’s alcohol vs guns, though the US definitely has it’s own alcohol problem.  After reading the article, it seemed to me that a significant difference is that the UK is much more of a pedestrian culture and the US is a driving culture (though I hear the UK is moving towards more driving).  At any rate, you are not as likely to happen upon shady people in your car, whereas here periodically you walk past people that you might not want to. 

As a side note, I have a 2nd or 3rd cousin (in Oklahoma) that shot off the tip of his finger while ‘drilling’ a hole for his cable wire with his .22, in a similar manner as mentioned in the article.