The fact that you own a gun and shoot to defend your life is a very American way of thinking.
I remember my childhood as a horrible time. My mother says that nothing so horrible ever happened to me as the things that I remember.
Give, give, give - what is the point of having experience, knowledge or talent if I don't give it away? Of having stories if I don't tell them to others? Of having wealth if I don't share it? I don't intend to be cremated with any of it! It is in giving that I connect with others, with the world and with the divine.
One of the characteristics of North American culture is that you can always start again. You can always move forward, cross a border of a state or a city or a county, and move West, most of the time West. You leave behind guilt, past traditions, memories.