Here’s an interesting article published right after the tragedy in Newtown, CT, from PBS about perceptions of risk: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/body/risk-perception.html
A lot of people (non-experts) tend to think of large-scale catastrophes when they think about risk. This is why we only really ever see a lot of debate on gun control in America right after one of these unfortunate incidents. People don’t really think about day-to-day, isolated incidents – like unintentional shootings at homes among children – as extremely risky events. Instead these incidents are thought of as accidents that are unpredictable, but as mentioned in class, they are statistically predictable and preventable.
Through that article from PBS I found the website for The Cultural Cognition Project at Yale University (http://www.culturalcognition.net/), which studies how cultural values plays a role in shaping our public risk perceptions and related policy beliefs. It’s a huge resource hub full of studies, academic papers and a blog. It might be useful to check out, especially since I know some people are very interested in the relationship that American culture has with guns.