I suspect that millions of Americans have a deep distrust of government in general and their own government in particular. While they go about their daily business like the citizens of most advanced nations, they always harbour a fear that "the government" (in one form or another) is going to take their property, suppress their rights or maybe even imprison them.
It's a very bad time for racism in the United States. It would make sense to work toward lowering the level of racial tension in the country, rather than inflaming it. It's one thing to honour the fallen soldiers of the American civil war, but it's another thing altogether to insist on waving a flag that to so many, represents violence, hatred and oppression toward African Americans.
It's clear that despite all the convincing research demonstrating how guns make us less safe, not more safe, Americans are still very much enamoured with their guns. They rationalize, justify and explain away each tragedy, whether an accidental death by a handgun or a mass shooting of innocent people by rifles or automatic weapons. It's not a logical argument; it's an emotional one, and until we can address the complex psychology at the root of the desire to own guns, we aren't going to convince people to give them up.
Charleston, South Carolina, is unquestionably one of the most beautiful cities in North America. The restaurant scene is fantastic too. But the winner for me, by a country mile, was Aluette's Holistic Soulfood Café. It looks very much like any other soul food place you might wander into, but here the produce is guaranteed seasonal, fresh and local.