It is at the heart of how the United States has run its country for decades, it is systemic, and is so engrained in US culture, that it is second nature.
Why do you own a gun? To protect yourself. From what? From other people with guns.
While I suppose it shouldn't surprise me, I always find myself flabbergasted by proponents of guns who say, 'but if the victims had been armed at the time, these mass shootings wouldn't have happened' (as has been the case in the latest San Bernardino, CA, shooting).
But it goes much deeper than arming the masses. Really, what you are doing is blaming the victim. When a woman is raped, people will say, yes, it's terrible but she was dressed provocatively and attracted that kind of attention. When an African American child is shot by a police officer while playing with a toy gun in the park, people say, yes it's terrible but he shouldn't have been waving the toy gun around in public, where are his parents? When a Muslim teen brings a clock that he built to school and the teacher calls the police, people say, yes it's terrible but he should have known better given the state of the world. That is a very telling BUT, and reveals the character of the person you are talking to. When you blame the victim, you alleviate the burden of responsibility from society.
Systemic fear is dangerous. To steal a line from Hollywood, "[a] person is smart. People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals and you know it. Fifteen hundred years ago everybody knew the Earth was the center of the universe. Five hundred years ago, everybody knew the Earth was flat.... Imagine what you'll know tomorrow." The reality is that you only "know" what you are taught: Muslims are terrorists, the black man on the corner is selling dope, you have the right to bear arms. What you know is fear, and what you're taught is discrimination.
Fear thy enemy, fear thy neighbour
US citizens are taught to fear. Fear is the easiest way to control a population. If it's not terrorists it's Ebola, it it's not nukes from North Korea it's Anthrax in your mail. The only way to combat fear? Knowledge. But not knowledge in the form of information. No matter how many facts and how much science is presented to you, if your beliefs are deeply engrained within you, your mind cannot truly be converted. This knowledge needs to be a deeper understanding of who you are and what your place is in the world. That starts at home, and that starts with you.
Stop fear. Open you mind, open your eyes, and open your heart. Realize that in North America you do not live in a "kill or be killed" society. And for God's sake realize that change is needed in the United States. You have more guns than people. The second amendment enshrines the distrust, fear and ignorance that is at the heart of racism, and in the hearts of a gun-toting, corn eating, flag waving population in the most powerful country in the world.