America, I think we all know, is a nation obsessed with firearms, from the Colt six-shooters of Western legends, to the rapid-fire semi-automatics of the Robocopped SWAT teams.
This aberration is worming its way into schools, as Teachers Training to Kill (Channel 4, Monday, 9pm) showed in a documentary which put me off ever going to the US.
Ohio Sheriff Richard K Jones, described as “the lovechild of Donald Trump and John Wayne” by one angry parent, was adamant the only way to save children’s lives in the event of a school shooting was to arm teachers.
However, Cooper, a 15-year-old student injured in a previous shooting in a nearby school, skewered his one-eyed world view, saying simply: “My classmates and I are now justifiably concerned that not only will we be shot by a classmate, but also by a teacher.”
That Cooper – a quiet, well-mannered, studious young man – was the most eloquent, persuasive and knowledgeable voice in the programme tells you much about the level of debate among the grown-ups.
The problem is that many in the US see themselves as the revolutionary underdogs fighting the oppressor.
Backed by warped reading of a constitution, their enemy is not now the colonial British, but anyone different, or foreign. One of the gun-toting teacher tutors claims terrorist-trained ‘Moo-slim’ kids are flooding the US, ready to take jihad into the classroom – an assertion so absurd it would be laughable if he didn’t have a pistol strapped to his hip.
This was a programme which made you think the US is populated and run by gun-mad, racist idiots – and looking at their president, you’d be hard-pressed to disagree.
Hypothetical (DAVE, Wednesdays, 9pm) is another new comedy panel show. While not reaching the silly heights of Taskmaster, it’s got some good lines, and James Acaster is always a good watch.
You know how people tell you to go to your happy place when you’re stressed out? Well, mine is on BBC4, Thursday and Friday nights at half-seven, when I can relive the 80s with Top of the Pops. Nirvana.