If you want to know what the rest of the world thinks of the US then move away. Before you think that my allegiance has changed, it hasn't. I was raised in the US and you can take the girl out of the States but you can't take the States out of the girl. That being said, I have spent a lot of my life in Canada and it has influenced who I am too. Balance and perspective are both good things.
Today I had an experience that is not a unique one, it has happened many times since we moved here. At the risk of alienating a reader or two, I will go on. I was getting a pedicure (ahhhh) this afternoon and chatting with the girl there. She found out I was from the States and her comments were, "oh, life is so fast and busy there, we are so much more relaxed and calm here." "Were you ever afraid living there? Guns are everywhere, can't anyone have a gun?" I can't tell you how many times I have heard about the prevelance of guns in the States. I can honestly say that I have never seen a handgun in my life, and hope to never see one, except in a policeman's holster. But inevitably when people find out I'm from Texas specifically they always want to know if everyone has a gun in Texas.
The perspective part depends on what is "normal" to you. I was raised in a country where people were allowed to have guns. People up here are not used to guns, they still have that respect and a certain amount of fear when it comes to guns. We have been desensitised to them to a certain extent, we are used to hearing about shootings. This does not mean it is less criminal. It is big news up here if someone gets shot. That does not mean there is no crime, I have heard about more stabbings than ever up here. I guess if you don't have a gun, then use a knife.
Stereotypes abound. I guess the thing about stereotypes is that they are just that, not everyone in Texas has a gun and not all of life is calm and peaceful in Canada as I watch the news about a shooting in town. I'm sure they bought that gun in the States.....another thing I hear around here.